How to Give a Pet Rabbit a Pill

Learn how to give a pet rabbit a pill in this Howcast video featuring bunny lover Amy Sedaris and rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter.

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Rabbits make wonderful pets. If you're thinking of getting one, check out these videos: Actress Amy Sedaris, who is a loving mom to her own pet bunny, helps rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter, Ed.D., LVT answer all your questions about how to take care of a pet rabbit. It's not always easy, but it's worth the work.

 
 

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Right now I'm going to show you how you can give your rabbit a pill. This is one way. You know, with a dog, you kind of open their mouths, you drop the pill down, you massage their throat while they swallow. Well, things with rabbits are a little bit different. You can't do that with a rabbit. So, what you do is, you go to your drug store and you buy something called a pill crusher. This is a very well used one. It looks like a little jar that has a bottom to it, and when you screw the top down, because the top has that red plastic piece in it, it meets the bottom, and any pill you put in there gets nicely ground up. I usually put the pill in, which I'm not doing now because this rabbit is not sick, but I put the pill in, and then I go back and forth, grind the pill into a fine powder, at which point, we're going to pretend here, I pour the powder out onto a little plate. This is pretend powder coming out, and I take a little piece of banana, and I mean little. I take a little piece of banana, and I mash it. A fork is a little easier than this is, but I'm going to make it work. There. I mash it, mixing it with the powder of the pill. Imagine powder mixing in here, and I pour a tiny bit of water into it to make it just a little easier to get into the rabbit's mouth, just a little bit. Nothing is measured here, it's just, kind of a feel. You get that up into a nice liquid mush. You then are going to load that into the back of an oral syringe. This is called an oral syringe. You can buy these through your veterinarian. It's a syringe with no needle on it. And you take your crushed pill, your crushed pill mixture, you put it into the back of they syringe, like this. It's pretty easy to do. With a smaller plate it's even easier, but this will just give you an idea. You've got your pill mixture in your syringe now. You put the back onto the syringe, like this. You advance it forward. Now you're ready. Now you're ready with your rabbit. You get a towel, so you preserve your clothing, and you put the rabbit near your dominant hand. Hello, you beautiful boy. Yes. Now, this rabbit has never had anything put in his mouth. So, the key here is to remember that the rabbit's mouth is a little like the horses. You have the front two incisors, and then you have a big space. That's where the bit goes in a horse. It's a nice big space, and you can actually get the syringe in that space, and aim it toward the far diagonal corner of the mouth. Never aim it straight back, because you don't want the rabbit gasping because you have medication going down his throat. You want it toward the far corner. So, I am going to get a little bit of this into the tip, so the rabbit can taste it, and most rabbits enjoy banana. And, I'm going to push it a little bit at a time into his mouth, banana mixture. A little more. And why I like banana is that every once in a while you'll push too hard, or too much of a glob will come out and you'll find a little chunk of banana on the towel in front of you. When that happens, you can just pick it up, put it back in the syringe, maybe add a little water, and get it into the rabbit's mouth. So, you can get the whole dose into the rabbit that way. Whereas, if you just mix it will liquid, and some dropped out, there's no way to recover that. When you have a little more viscous texture, like you do with banana, then you can get the entire dose into the rabbit by reloading the back of the syringe. So, that's the easy way to give a bunny a pill. Yes. [kiss] You're such a good boy. You're such a good boy.

Expert

  • Mary E. Cotter

    Mary E. Cotter, M.A., Ed.D., LVT is the founder of the NY-based Rabbit Rescue & Rehab. She serves as chapter manager of the NYC House Rabbit Society and is vice president of the International House Rabbit Society. Involved with rabbit rescue since 1982, she speaks and writes frequently on rabbit-related topics, addressing owners, veterinary professionals and shelter workers. Mary is an adjunct assistant professor in the veterinary technology department of LaGuardia Community College (City University of New York) and co-manages a 7,000-member Internet mailing list focused on rabbit health, care and behavior.