The bunny won't take its meds...
March 15, 2006 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Help me get a rabbit to take its antibiotics!

My girlfriend’s rabbit, Maple, has an infection. The vet, unfortunately, only had one type of antibiotic on hand yesterday at the time of diagnosis, and it is fish flavored. Naturally, the herbivorous mammal is not so interested in eating anything fish flavored. We mixed it with yogurt, and Maple expressed herself by defecating on the offering. We mixed it with some chopped lettuce, and she nibbled it once or twice, but otherwise left it alone. Any recommendations for getting her to take the antibiotic? It’s in a thick, viscous liquid form. Alternatively, does anyone know where to get banana flavored antibiotics (Maple’s favorite) for cheap either online or in New York City?
posted by jrb223 to Pets & Animals (8 answers total)
Can you open her mouth and inject it to the back with an eyedropper?

I don't know much about bunny biology but this is what I do with cats.

(Also, with a cat, you then rub their nose with your finger, which forces them to lick their nose clean, which forces them to swallow. Tricky!)
posted by bcwinters at 8:58 AM on March 15, 2006

I don't know if this will cover the fishy taste, but you could take it to a regular pharmacy (like CVS) and ask them to add flavoring. They usually have a whole list of flavors they can mix in for childrens medicines. Again, I don't know it it'll cover the fishy taste.

If it is a regular antibiotic (like human type), you can ask the vet to call a new prescription into a pharmacy for you and request the flavoring at that point.
posted by necessitas at 9:00 AM on March 15, 2006

your second question is the right one: call up other vets until you can find some non fish flavored antibiotics.

barring that, bcwinters is right - eyedroppers. The House Rabbit Society recommends doing it flat on a table. Our vets always had us hold the rabbit, open its mouth, and let the medicine in. There will inevitably be some spit-up.
posted by whatzit at 9:03 AM on March 15, 2006

Thirding eyedroppers. You could try mixing the fishy stuff with some juice (papya is Robocop's fave, but then again, he'll steal my beer if I'm not vigilant) to get him interested. Start by using the eyedropper for straight-up juice to get the rabbit interested in it. Then add the antibiotics to the juice. Once they get used to the idea that Eyedropper = Yummy, they'll take whatever comes from one.

But if you can find an alternate flavor, even better. Bun are picky eaters to start with and worse when not feeling well.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:15 AM on March 15, 2006

Do you have the anti-hairball stuff for rabbits that comes in a tube? It's thick, dark brown, and very sweet... my rabbit would try to chew on the cap to just get a little. I think it's like candy to them!

I would put a little of that on the pill. I think I might have even done that before to get him to swallow something.

This goes along with Robocop's idea... they crave the sweet stuff!
posted by chimmyc at 11:35 AM on March 15, 2006

I don't know how much you have to give your bunny so this may not be practical, but I smear my rabbit's front paws with anything gooey, and he washes it off.
Of course, I haven't tried to give him anything fish flavored-- it's probably best to get a replacement antibiotic.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:11 PM on March 15, 2006

I'm guessing the vet gave you baytril? Not something you can get from the regular pharmacy as its approved for animal use only. Bu t is it possible to get a "partner vet" to get some non fish flavored? A lot of vets have business relationships with other clinics, even if only an emergency vet.

If not, then use a needleless syringe and slowly inject into the bunnies mouth from the side. It will instinctively "chew" and swallow most of it (though my bunny got quite good at spitting it out). You have to be patient and only do a little at a time, too much and it will definately spit it out.

I also found the best way to force feed meds is kneel with your ankles crossed and hunch over your bunny, putting just enough weight on the bun to immobilize it. They can't back up, and generally submit (er, my bunny at least does). Otherwise, you can wrap the bunny in a towel, immobilizing it that way, but I've only had to do that for subcutanious fluids.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 8:30 PM on March 15, 2006

The needleless eyedropper thing for antibiotics works very well. (Though generally the antibiotic given is generally sweet, not fish-flavoured!?!). I would also strongly suggest a second person holding the animal while you do the deed. Then you can adminster very gently...Boyfriend is designated animal wrangler in our house.
posted by typewriter at 6:02 PM on March 26, 2006

« Older What defines dating?   |   How valuable is a one-month business program at... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.