Bunny attacked by cats

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Yesterday, my girlfriend brought me a bunny that her cats were playing with. At first it didn't look as if anything was wrong, but I was wrong. They scratched/bite him around the rib area. I put hydrogen peroxide (diluted) and all seems well. He's drinking water and formula from a bottle and appears the be urinating, so that's good. He sleeps most of the time but my problem is he is favoring his front right leg. Could he just be sore and in shock. He's warm and more alert and active today and I do know he is scared. What do you think about his front leg, anything I need to be doing?? Thank you.

-- G.A. Phillips (Graciegirl923@aol.com), May 14, 2001


If it isn't swollen, it probably isn't broken... There could be a tear, but there isn't anything you can do about that. Just pray he heals... As long as he's alert and drinking/eliminating - congratulations!!!

Wild rabbits tend to be rather small... If he weighs more than about 4 ounces, try putting some dry feed with him - wilted clover is good, or comfrey, dandelion, etc. Make sure it is slightly wilted - less water, but not dry. No lettuce - it can literally drown a baby!!

-- Sue Diederich (willow666@rocketmail.com), May 14, 2001.

I hate to be negative, but cats have more nasty bacteria in their saliva than just about any animal except humans. Also, cats can easily give nasty puncture wounds with either teeth or claws. Two people I used to work with were put into the hospital on i.v. antibiotics due to cat bites. If the cats bit that bunny, its chances are not too good. Antibiotics are definately in order. If he gets through the week, he'll probably be okay. Good luck.

-- Sheryl in ME (radams@sacoriver.net), May 14, 2001.

Hello, new here. I just signed up for the forum and plan to subscribe to the magazine tomorrow. It's really wonderful. I wanted to answer the rabbit post but first a little background: My husband and I are striving towards self-sufficiency. We live in rural SE North Carolina with our four children and have a garden, chickens, goats, a mule and a donkey. I keep and breed Pembroke Welsh Corgis and my husband has kept and bred reptiles for over 30 years. I also work as a newspaper reporter. My husband works part time in my dad's family business and is home with our youngest the other two days a week. He's in the process of planning a greenhouse for banana plants and other tropical plants. We're hoping it will turn into a business if the hurricanes don't blow us away this year. For ten years I worked as a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator/educator. I'd like to tell you that your rabbit will be OK, but injured wild rabbits generally don't fare very well. You said the rabbit is a bunny, but just because it's small doesn't mean it wasn't out of the nest and on its own when it was attacked by the cat. Little rabbits leave the nest when they are the size of your closed fist, and if its eyes are open and its ears are up then it probably was on its own. I wish I had a dollar for every "orphaned" bunny the neighborhood kids chased down and "saved". I wouldn't give it milk because that will really upset its tummy. If I were you I'd stick with water and grass and a little clover. You can give it some commercial rabbit pellets; we've supplemented plenty of wild orphans with those. Now if it's a tiny bunny with its little ears still pressed flat against its head and if its eyes are still closed you can give it little milk in an eyedropper. I've always used goat's milk. Topical antibiotic like neosporin will stay on the wound and keep dirt out better than Bactine. If the skin is ripped badly it won't likely heal very well if at all. The biggest problem with wild rabbits is that they are very shocky and can literally die of fright. If you have kids, don't let them handle or peek in on it frequently. That will stress it. I do hope you have good luck with your bunny, but if it doesn't make it don't blame yourself. Just know you did all you could and that's more than a lot of folks would do. And ask your neighbor to keep kitty indoors during "baby season" or at least to put a bell on her.

-- Victoria Rouch (rouch@duplin.net), May 15, 2001.

I had a 7-week old bunny that got attacked by another mom (put in wrong cage by accident.) It had 2 gashes about 3 inches long, one on the hip and one on the shoulder. Soon we could see muscle and the poor thing looked as if it were being skinned. We thought about putting it down but it didn't seem to be in any pain. It just hopped around and didn't even flinch when touched. We decided to wait and see, so we put a lot of Neosporin on the wounds and wrapped them in gauze. The gauze slipped the next day and the wounds were even wider, like the skin was opening. But the baby still seemed fine otherwise! Part of the flesh (muscle?) was drying and some was turning white with pus, so we doused it with Hydrogen Peroxide. The rabbit was eating, drinking, and hopping around. Didn't even flinch. He seemed bothered by the bandages so we took them off. The flesh dried out over a few days and within a week he looked so awful with these big patches of dry wrinkly muscle/skin. In another week the fur and skin was growing back and closing the areas. In a few more days it looked like it had gotten some scratches that were scabbed over, but no big patches of bald, dry areas. In another week (about 4 weeks now) The only sign of injury is a slight gap in the furline that I am sure will heal. It went home with a nice family yesterday that commented on how friendly it was (due to all the pampaering and bedtime stories!) I am truly amazed...and glad I didn't spend $200 for stitches and anesthesia!

-- Margaret (tmbroberg@hotmail.com), May 27, 2001.

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