Rabbit fever - Symptoms, causes and what to do

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Rabbits, like other animals, can suffer from fever. Fever is a syndrome in which, in addition to an increase in body temperature or hyperemia, there are alterations in the body consisting of increased heart and respiratory rates, increased pulse and blood pressure, tremors, decreased peristalsis and secretions from the digestive system, which leads to constipation. Delusions, depression, cold and heat also appear.

You may notice that your rabbit has a fever if he is more down than normal, barely wants to eat or drink, is isolated, sad and reluctant to love. Checking if your rabbit is suffering from a fever is by measuring its temperature using a digital thermometer, if said temperature is higher than 40 ºC, you should go to the vet, your rabbit can be very sick. Keep reading this AnimalWised article to learn more about the topic of fever in rabbits, its symptoms, causes and what to do.

You may also be interested in: Otitis in rabbits - Symptoms, causes and treatment Index
  1. What is fever?
  2. Symptoms of fever in rabbits
  3. Causes of fever in rabbits
  4. How to take a rabbit's temperature?
  5. What to do if your rabbit has a fever?

What is fever?

Fever, also called febrile syndrome or pyrexia, occurs when a rise in body temperature in a homeothermic organism (warm-blooded animal, which maintains its body temperature thanks to its internal functions without depending on the outside temperature), as a result of infections, poisoning, damage to the thermoregulatory center or disease.

Normally, fever in rabbits is caused by infectious processes, as we will see below. If you suspect that your rabbit is sick, we advise you to take him to the vet as soon as possible. To help you detect something abnormal in your furry, we encourage you to read this other article about 9 symptoms of a sick rabbit.

Symptoms of fever in rabbits

In addition to hyperthermia or increased body temperature, in the event of a febrile syndrome the body will manifest other signs, as they are:

  • Increased heart rate or tachycardia.
  • Increased blood pulse.
  • Increased respiratory rate or tachypnea.
  • Increase in blood pressure due to vasoconstriction with rapidly increasing temperature, causing chills.
  • Tremors.
  • Decreases intestinal peristalsis, secretions and appetite.
  • Constipation.
  • Increased thirst.
  • Depression, delusions.
  • After reaching the maximum temperature, vasodilation occurs and warmth is felt.
  • Anorexy.
  • Lethargy.
  • Depression.
  • Prostration.
  • Watery or half-closed eyes.
  • Grinding of teeth.
  • Shivering or chills, look for warm places.
  • Hot and / or dry nose.

In addition, the fever is usually accompanied by more symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea in infections or digestive processes, respiratory signs in pneumonia or pasteurellosis; seizures, epistaxis, and nasal discharge in hemorrhagic disease; blepharoconjunctivitis, edema and myxomas in myxomatosis.

Causes of fever in rabbits

Fever is a kind of Defense mechanism in the face of health-threatening factors, especially in infections, to try to fight the pathogen, making it difficult to multiply due to the increase in temperature.

It arises as a consequence of pyrogens, which come from pathogenic microorganisms (endotoxins, peptidoglycans, exotoxins…) or from the rabbit's own cells (cytokines, polypeptides ...).

The more frequent infections in rabbits that can cause fever are:

  • Myxomatosis.
  • Hemorrhagic fever.
  • Otitis and other ear diseases.
  • Pasteurellosis.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Tularemia.
  • Coccidiosis (Eimeriosis).
  • E. coli.
  • Staphylococci.
  • Rotavirus.
  • Clostridium spiriforme (enterotoxemia iota).
  • Clostridium piliformis (Tyzer's disease).
  • Cryptosporidium sp.
  • Mastitis.

It can also appear in tumor processes, dental or inflammatory problems.

How to take a rabbit's temperature?

The usual body temperature in rabbits is between the 38.5 ºC and 40 ºC, A higher temperature would mean a feverish picture To confirm that a rabbit has a fever, the body temperature should be taken, especially if we are in the hottest season of the year and this increase can confuse us with having been in the sun for a long time or being very hot.

The measurement of the body temperature of rabbits is similar to that of dogs and cats, by determining the rectal temperature, with introduction of a digital thermometer for the anus, contacting the rectal wall, where the temperature is more accurately reflected.

What to do if your rabbit has a fever?

When you check that your rabbit has over 40 ºC, You should go immediately to the vet, since it can be something serious that requires urgent medical assistance. If you do not have a thermometer or you are not able to measure the temperature but you suspect that he has a fever, you should also go with urgency to the exotic vet.

If you cannot go immediately, to prevent it from getting worse at high speed, you should try to lower the temperature with damp rags or towels gently over his ears, keep him hydrated with water and try to get him to eat something offering his favorite food. This is only temporary and serves for a short time, on the same day or at most in 24 hours you must take it to a veterinary center.

You should not give any medicine for human use or look for home remedies, beyond doing what we have commented before, nothing can be done and we could even worsen the condition of our rabbit.

The best way to prevent fever in rabbits is by routine vaccination and deworming, as well as frequent check-ups. In addition to keeping it in a clean, ventilated and comfortable place with balanced food of good quality and fresh and clean water.

This article is merely informative, at AnimalWised.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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