A rabbit in shock is often severely dehydrated, the temperature has dropped significantly and it may be breathing very fast. The blood vessels in the ears are often much more noticeable than normal. If you gently press on these they will take time to go back down again (normally under 2 seconds) instead of almost immediately like a normally hydrated rabbit. The skin may look “muddy” or grey instead of a healthy pink. If you gently lift the skin it should spring back into place almost immediately.
If this has happened to you, take the rabbit immediately to a veterinarian so they can be given treatment as soon as possible! It is very serious and could lead to death without immediate attention.
Shock can be diagnosed by doing any one (or more) of these things:
- Observing that the hind legs appear difficult or impossible for the rabbit to move
- Finding that the hind legs seem useless
- Finding no detectable heartbeat
- Not being able to find a pulse in the carotid artery
- Feeling extremely cold throughout all parts of the rabbit’s body
- Seeing that the rabbit is not urinating
- Finding frothy saliva around the mouth.
If you are noticing any of these symptoms, it is important to take your rabbit to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Shock can often lead to death if left untreated.