How to Know if my Rabbit has a Fever
Fever is a defensive mechanism that many animals have, including rabbits, which serves to fight infections. The goal is to increase body temperature to hinder the growth of microorganisms and to stop, as far as possible, the progression of the disease. As is apparent from the above, there are many processes that can cause fever and this is usually the first warning that the rabbit is suffering from an ailment, so it is very important to detect it early. At OneHowTo.com we'll explain how to tell if a rabbit has a fever.
Although there are some physical and behavioral pieces of information that will be discussed later that can guide us, the only way to know with confidence whether a rabbit has a fever is by measuring their body temperature. The measure used is the rectal temperature, which is obtained by inserting a thermometer into the animal's anus. The normal rectal temperature of a rabbit is between 38.5 and 40ºC (101.3 and 104ºF), so temperatures above 40°C are indicative of a fever.
Although the most effective and objective way to know if a rabbit has a fever is to measure their temperature, there are some changes that appear more or less constantly in cases of fever.
These changes include changes in behaviour, such as apathy and lack of appetite, and sometimes their nose might be hot and dry. It may be quite difficult for you to detect a change in their habits, as rabbits tend to hide their symptoms when they have a disease. This is an ancestral defense mechanism to survive.
If you have any doubts about whether they have a fever or not, I repeat that you should measure their body temperature.
What to do if my rabbit has a fever?
Now you know how to tell if your rabbit has a fever for sure or not, it's best you take it to the vet so he or she can treat it correctly because, as we've mentioned, the fever could be a symptom of a more serious disease.
If you can't get to a vet, use a wet towel to gently dampen its ears. Make sure your rabbit drinks plenty of water and it has access to enough fluids. This should be only be carried out in the case when a vet is not accessible and only for 24h. After this time has passed, if your rabbit still has a temperature, it is vitally important you seek medical help.
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