Wildlife Conferences

Conferences

Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland

wri


IWM Flyer

iwm

 
Hare & Rabbit
Giorria Éireannach / Giorria gallda / Coinín

 
Mountain/Irish Hare
Lepus timidus
Brown Hare
Lepus europaeus
Rabbit
Oryctolagus cuniculus

EMERGENCY SHORT TERM CARE INFO FOR GENERAL PUBLIC

Rehabilitation of wildlife casualties requires a licence and a large investment of time and resources. It is mainly in the animal’s best interest to transfer it to an appropriately trained and equipped individual/organisation as soon as possible.

Before attempting to capture a wildlife casualty:

  • Observe, assess, discuss, then decide whether intervention is appropriate
  • All wild animals can potentially transmit disease and inflict serious injuries
  • Remember, your own safety is of paramount importance
NEED RESCUING?
CAPTURE
SHORT TERM CARE ADULT
SHORT TERM CARE BABY RABBIT / HARE



DOES IT NEED RESCUING?

 
HELP NEEDED

  • Road traffic casualty
  • A rabbit/hare that will allow you to approach it is sick 
  • Rabbit with myxomatosis
  • Damaged limb/s
  • Obvious wounds
  • Injured baby rabbit/hare
  • Attacked by cat
  • Trapped or caught e.g. in fence – do NOT cut free and release until fully assessed
  • If unresponsive/unconscious – needs veterinary attention immediately


 HELP NOT REQUIRED

  • ALL  APPARENT ORPHANS, (unless injured, in dangerous situation, or dead mother nearby)
  • If you are not equipped
  • If you or others would be put in too much danger           

 
IT DOES NEED RESCUING, WHAT NEXT?

FIRST try to call relevant contact number from CONTACT page for further advice

WANT TO ATTEMPT CAPTURE

  • Follow capture instructions below
  • Capture ONLY if you have adequate equipment and container
  • Consider personal safety on roads e.g. reflective jackets, warning signs
  • Bring to a vet if possible, if not bring home temporarily
  • Follow husbandry advice for feeding and housing
  • Call relevant contact number from CONTACT page for further advice

DON’T WANT TO ATTEMPT CAPTURE

  • If you can approach the animal lay a blanket/coat over the casualty for warmth
  • If animal is on the road, protect it from traffic if possible
  • Consider personal safety on roads e.g. reflective jackets, warning signs
  • Do not drag the animal off the road, IF safe to do so, lift it to a safe place on a coat/towel (see unconscious casualty capture)
  • Note exact location and call relevant person from CONTACT page
Ideally stay with the casualty until someone comes to help

 


CAPTURE

Equipment
Useful Items – towel, cat carrier or sturdy cardboard box, long handled nets

Entanglement capture (e.g. caught in snare/fencing)

  • DO NOT CUT FREE AND RELEASE! (wounds may be more severe than they initially appear, and animal may be dehydrated or malnourished if trapped for some time)
  • Cut wire so animal can be rescued along with any embedded fencing section/snare
  • Lift into open container. Support rump (rear end) as you lift. DO NOT LIFT BY THE EARS
Rescue equipment
 
© Colin Seddon

Unconscious casualty capture (e.g. hit by car on road)

  • Cover with towel and lift into open waiting container

Net capture (if mobile)

  • Use long–handled net to pin the animal to the ground
  • Gently scruff, support rump, and put into container. DO NOT LIFT BY THE EARS

Trap capture (if mobile and unsuccessful with net)

  • Choose an area that the animal frequents on a daily basis
  • Place the trap with attractive food e.g. dandelion leaves
  • Remove uneaten food when bringing fresh food
  • Check trap at least every 6 hrs

Capture notes
Even if the animal is blind, a net will often still be required for capture 
If casualty is on a road, attempt capture from road side and herd away from road
Consider personal safety on roads e.g. reflective jackets, warning signs
Crouch down when approaching – you appear less of a threat
Approach slowly, stopping if animal appears ready to flee

TRANSPORTATION
Cat or dog carrier
Sturdy cardboard box
Ventilation
Avoid direct sunlight – danger of overheating    
Cover container with towel, darkness will reduce stress
                 
HANDLING
NEVER LIFT BY THE EARS
Hold securely around the body, or hold by the scruff, and support rump as you lift
Spine is easily damaged if animal struggles too much with their back legs
Do not handle unnecessarily
Once captured do not try to calm animal by talking to it
Keep other domestic animals away

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SHORT TERM CARE ADULT RABBIT/HARE

See SUPPLIES page for food and equipment mentioned below

Housing
Will climb out of container if not fully enclosed
Line container with newspaper covered with old towel
Cover container for stress reduction
House in quiet area away from domestic animals
Suggestions:

  • Cat or dog carrier
  • Sturdy cardboard box

Warmth
A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel can be used if rabbit/hare very sick and unable to stand
Beware overheating can also kill so give enough space that the badger can move away from the heat

Feeding
Fresh grass, dandelion leaves, rabbit pellets
Bowl of drinking water if animal bright and alert

 


SHORT TERM CARE BABY RABBIT (Kit) / BABY HARE (Leveret)

See SUPPLIES page for food and equipment mentioned below

Step by Step:

  • Weigh
  • Warm up
  • Stimulate to urinate/defecate
  • Provide fluids

Housingkit/leveret
Will climb out of container if not fully enclosed
Line container with newspaper covered with old towel
Cover container for stress reduction
House in quiet area away from domestic animals
Allow to rest between feeds, only handle for feeding
Suggestions:

  • Cat or dog carrier
  • Sturdy cardboard box

Warmth
A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel can be used
The kit/leveret should feel warm to the touch
Beware overheating can also kill so give enough space that the kit/leveret can crawl away from the heat if necessary
Rabbits are unable to sweat and so are very susceptible to overheating
If the kit/leveret is cold it will be unwilling to feed

Toileting
VERY IMPORTANT, only for baby rabbits not baby hares
Kits need help urinating and defecating
Toilet at regular intervals: 2 hourly initially, moving to longer intervals as dictated by the animal
Before and after each feed gently stroke their genital and anal area with damp cotton wool for about 60 seconds until urine and/or faeces is produced
Make sure you are certain the animal is urinating and defecating by itself before you stop toileting altogether

Identification

Irish Hare Adult rabbit
© Andrew Kelly
© Andrew Kelly
Adult Hare
Adult Rabbit
   
Leveret baby-bunny
© Andrew Kelly
© Tony Northrup
Baby Hare (Leveret)
Baby Rabbit (Kit)

Ageing
Kits
Birth weight approx 35 – 50g
Born naked, blind, deaf, helpless and underground
10 days old: eyes open
Daily weight gain should be over 5g

Leverets
Birth weight approx 80 – 130g
Precocious; born furry, eyes open, able to run, and born above ground
Daily weight gain should be roughly 5 – 20g

Feeding
Rehydration solution/ ‘milk’

  • Rehydration solution – “1 pinch of sugar and 1 pinch of salt in 1 cup of warm water”
  • Canine milk replacement ‘Esbilac’

ALL feeds should be lukewarm
(24hrs of rehydration solution feeds is fine if milk replacement difficult to obtain)
Only handle for feeding (for frequency see below)

DANGERAspiration Pneumonia – inhaling fluid into the lungs
If a bubble of liquid appears at the nose or the kit/leveret starts sneezing or shaking its head, stop feeding immediately and tilt the head down allow any fluid to drain out. Dab with tissue, take a break, and then start again very slowly

Preventative measures:

  • Use rehydration solution for the first few feeds while you and the kit/leveret get used to feeding
  • Hold the kit/leveret on its belly with its head slightly raised whilst feeding
  • Always feed patiently, slowly and gently
  • Try to get the kit/leveret to lick/suck the fluids slowly rather than guzzling

Take to vet for antibiotics and other respiratory drugs if kit/leveret inhales fluids and starts coughing for an extended period of time, breathing heavily or breathing with mouth open

Introducing ‘milk’
1st feed – rehydration solution
2nd feed – rehydration solution
3rd feed – ¾ rehydration solution, ¼ milk (as above)
4th feed – ½ rehydration solution, ½ milk
5th feed – ¼ rehydration solution, ¾ milk
6th feed – milk
Feeding Leveret
 
© Alison Charles
 
Baby Hare: Leveret

Bottles/equipment

  • Esbilac/Lactol bottle
  • syringe could be used but be aware of aspiration pneumonia (mentioned above) and feed very slowly watching to check that the kit/leveret swallows as you feed
  • ear/medicine dropper

Quantity &Frequency BABY RABBIT ‘Kit’ (ROUGH guide)


Weight

Approximate age

Quantity per feed

Frequency

60 g

1 week

5 ml

4 feeds per day

120 g

2 weeks

10 ml

3 feeds per day

200 g

3 weeks

30 ml

1 feed per day plus access to grass (weaning)

Kits – if still blind (only kits born blind), feed 2–4mls per feed, 2–3 hourly through the day. If older and lively feed 4 times per day
If the kit’s eyes have opened, always leave solid food available e.g. grass/dandelion leaves

 

Quantity &Frequency BABY HARE ‘Leveret’ (ROUGH guide)


Weight

Approximate age

Quantity per feed

Frequency

140 g

1 week

10–15 ml

4 feeds per day

250 g

2 weeks

20–25ml

3 feeds per day

560 g

4 weeks

50 ml

2 feeds per day plus access to grass (weaning)

Theoretically they may be fed up to 30% body weight per day, depending on appetite
Table above is ROUGH guide, each individual is different
In general offer as much as they will take, they will stop when they’re full
If they are unwilling to wake up and feed, extend the gap between feeds by ½ hour
Never feed an animal so much fluid that its tummy becomes hard and distended

Hygiene
Keep feeding utensils in a deep bowl of sterilising solution e.g. Milton
Use clean feeding utensils for each feed
After use, dismantle feeding equipment and clean thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinse, then replace in the sterilising bowl
Rinse utensils before each feed

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LONGER TERM CARE INFO FOR REHABILITATORS

Rehabilitation of wildlife casualties requires a licence and a large investment of time and resources. It is mainly in the animal’s best interest to transfer it to an appropriately trained and equipped individual/organisation as soon as possible.

Before attempting to capture a wildlife casualty:

  • Observe, assess, discuss, then decide whether intervention is appropriate
  • All wild animals can potentially transmit disease and inflict serious injuries
  • Latex gloves should be worn – hedgehogs carry many zoonoses
  • Remember, your own safety is of paramount importance
HUSBANDRY ADULT
HUSBANDRY KIT/LEVERET
RELEASE
LEGISLATION



Read GENERAL PUBLIC section first. Extra information for long term husbandry below.


HUSBANDRY – ADULT

Housing –Rabbit
Initially indoors in warm, quiet, dimly lit environment
E.g. large plastic transport kennel with hay for bedding
When no longer needing heat move outdoors
Wooden cages should be avoided – impossible to sterilise
Wire mesh pen with covered sleeping area at one end
Hay inside covered area for bedding
Mesh on the base of the run may impede caecotrophy
If no mesh on the base of the run, move daily to prevent rabbit digging out
Leafy branches and logs for hiding, enrichment and stress reduction
House in quiet area away from domestic pets

Housing – Hare
Prone to post capture myopathy
Similar to deer regarding stress levels
House in quiet shed with hay for bedding
Disturb as little as possible
Keep away from outside noise, pets, children
If you decide to move outside, see above as for rabbit

Rabbit hutches Shed

Feeding
Fresh hand–pulled grass, dandelion leaves, clover, and alfalfa
Rabbit pellets or gourmet rabbit mix
Heavy shallow bowl of drinking water
Convalescent diet – cereal based baby food
Always leave food available


HUSBANDRY – Kits/Leverets

Hand–rearing should not be undertaken unless:

  • The kit/leveret will be kept as wild as possible
  • Suitable accommodation facilities will be provided
  • It is understood that it will require a commitment of about ten weeks

Extra info for long term husbandry:

Weight/Identification
Weigh same time each day
Weight loss or static weight is an early indicator of underlying problems

Housing
At 3 weeks of age move to outdoor enclosure until ready for release at about 6 wks of age
See Housing in the husbandry Adult section of longer term care info above

Feeding
Rehydration solution – Lectade or equivalent, initially
Canine milk replacement e.g. Esbilac
Bottles – pastette/pipettes or syringes, then esbilac bottles

Feeding baby rabbit Feeding equipment
© Mike Rendell
© Chelsea Collins
Baby Rabbit: Kit

Supplements Kits

  • Newborn –  add colostrums substitute to milk (1part colostrums : 2 parts milk)for first 2 days
  • Older – add ¼ tsp Bio Live Yoghurt to milk once daily
  • Dip bottle teat into Pancrex (for digestion) and Stress (calcium and phosphorus) once daily

Supplements Leverets

  • Add ¼ tsp Bio Live Yoghurt to milk once daily

Weaning
Leverets wean earlier than kits
Leverets can be eating grass by 10 days of age
If bedded on hay they’ll begin eating it during the weaning process
Wean rabbits when teeth erupt, roughly 15 days of age
Encourage them to drink milk from bowl, should finish milk at roughly 4wks
Attach water drinking bottle to side of cage
Offer fresh grass, dandelion leaves, clover, and chickweed
Entice with small pieces of banana or Farley’s rusks
Provide Dry Rabbit Mix

Imprinting
Potentially prevent release
Ideally rear more than one of a species together
 Keep human contact to absolute minimum

Vaccination
Pre release vaccination is recommended against:
Myxomatosis – after 6 wks of age

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease – after 10 weeks

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RELEASE

Always seek advice from specialist organisations with knowledge of suitable release sites/habitat

Careful assessment and appropriate health checks should be carried out prior to release, as to the risks of released animals introducing new diseases into the wild population/environment

Release criteria/considerations
Need to be wild – wary/scared of humans, domestic animals and any other natural predators
Must be physically fit, mentally sound, stable body weight for over 7 days
Can’t be released if underweight, unable to recognise/eat normal diet etc
Must be of an appropriate weight for the age, sex, and time of year for the species
Do not release in winter unless it has sufficient body weight to cope with the cold
Ideally return to original location unless dangerous or unsuitable
Release away from roads, species specific predators, areas where they could cause damage
Consider natural history of the animal and the location of local wild groups of these animals
Release during a period of favourable weather
Ideally identify animal in some way e.g. tag, for post release monitoring/identification

Preferred habitat
Hare – upland heather moorland, lowland pasture, coastal grasslands
Rabbit – short grassy areas with low cover eg brambles/gorse, coastal grassy cliff tops, dry heathland
Needs to be plenty of natural cover for them to shelter immediately from danger

 

HARD RELEASE (direct release)
Adults

Hard release
The animal is simply allowed to exit a transport container with no further care or feed provision

Hard release candidates
Hard release technique only suitable if animal rescued as an adult and only if in captivity for short period of time, and only if to be released where originally found
 
Release timing
Preferably release as soon as possible for the maximum chance of survival
Ideally during the spring/summer months

Species specific considerations
Release away from main roads, in natural habitat, away from areas used for hunting, shooting, trapping, hare coursing, or where rabbits could cause agricultural damage

Technique
Ideally return to exact location animal was rescued
Open carrying cage and let animal leave in its own time
Release at dusk, on a mild night, and leave

 

SOFT RELEASE (gentle or gradual release)
Kits/leverets (sometimes adults)

Soft release technique
Soft release aims to slowly reintroduce the animal to the wild while still in a comfort zone e.g. cage it was reared in, and allow the animal to leave the cage once confident and independent
It involves continuing to care for animals at the release site, and aims to compensate for difficulties of newly released animals finding food and shelter in a new environment

Soft release candidates
Essential release method for hand reared animals
Also suitable for adults that have been in care for a long period of time, or animals that cannot be released back to where they were found and so have to establish a new territory

Release timing
Preferably release May – September

Species specific considerations
Need to be approx 10 wks of age

Technique
Temporary cage placed in release location
Cage fully enclosed and containing complete with covered bedding area, natural cover, food and water
Animal fed only natural foods it will come across in the wild
Cage opened and left in–situ for animal to come and go until it feels confident enough not to return
Food provided, decreasing in quantity, until the animal no longer returns
Soft release may take days – weeks

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LEGISLATION – Hare

“The Minister may grant a licence to a person to have in possession, for a reasonable period of time —

  • an injured or disabled protected wild animal, or
  • one or more than one dependant young of a protected wild animal which is orphaned, with the intention of tending and later releasing such animal or young back into the wild when and only when such animal or young, as the case may be, is no longer injured, disabled or dependant, or
  • to retain possession of a protected wild animal, that for reasons of disability or for other reasons deemed reasonable by the Minister, would, if released, be unlikely to survive unaided in the wild.”

*Compulsory licence details at end of document*

Let us not waste time complaining about the excessive bureaucratic legislation covering wildlife today. The intent was to provide protection for wildlife and the data is valuable.

If we don’t want to be legislated upon, or don’t like current legislation, we must offer legislative solutions. Apply for your licences but also email  your ideas for a more practicable solution for ‘policing wildlife rehabilitation’ in Ireland, to info@irishwildlifematters.ie

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has
.”  (Margaret Mead)

 

HARES
Mountain/Irish hare and Brown hare

Status
Irish Wildlife Act 1976 and Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 – protected species
Berne Convention, Appendix 3 – protected species
EU Habitats Directive, Annex 5 – may be exploited only while it has a favourable conservation status.
Irish Red Data book – least concern
Wildlife (N.I.) Order of 1985 – protected species

Exemptions
Classified as a game or quarry species and may be hunted in open season with gun licence issued from the Garda
May be caught for coursing during open season, hares caught for coursing carried out under licence from NPWS to Irish Coursing Club, must comply with the rules of the Irish Coursing Club.
A specific licence can be obtained to course hares outside the open season.
The Minister may grant a licence to capture or kill for educational, scientific or other purposes
Hare hunting completely prohibited near Wexford Wildfowl Reserve.

Safeguards
Illegal to wilfully interfere with or destroy the breeding place
Shooting of wildlife for pleasure or sport is not permitted in National Parks or Nature Reserves owned by the State

Rescue and Rehabilitation
Due to their status as a protected species, a *licence MUST be applied for to the NPWS ‘to possess/retain an injured or disabled wild bird/animal’

Release
Subject to the conditions set out in the licence provided ‘for the possession/retention of a wild bird/animal’

Notes
Irish Coursing Club rules – greyhounds must be muzzled, hares must be tagged pre release to prevent being caught and coursed twice
Open season –26th Sept to 28th Feb.

Report suspicious activities or equipment to the NPWS Conservation Ranger (see CONTACTS page) 

* For licence application form for the possession/ retention of a wild animal - click HERE

Post to the address below OR email to wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie

Wildlife Licensing Unit,
National Parks and Wildlife Service,
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht,
7 Ely Place,
Dublin 2.
Phone: (01) 888 3242

LEGISLATION – Rabbit

Classified as a pest species so no licence required

Status
Irish Red Data book – least concern
Legal status – none

Exemptions
Classified as a pest species and may be hunted all year round

Safeguards
Wildlife Order N.I – no hunting on Sundays or on Christmas Day
Shooting of wildlife for pleasure or sport is not permitted in National Parks or Nature Reserves owned by the State

Rescue and Rehabilitation
No licence required

Release
No licence so no legislation

Notes
Report suspicious activities or equipment to the NPWS Conservation Ranger (see CONTACTS page)

This legislation section is not intended to cover all aspect of legislation associated with this particular wildlife species, in all instances, the current legislation and appropriate statutory bodies should be consulted.

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VETERINARY SECTION – COMMON CONDITIONS

THIS SECTION IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR VETERINARY SURGEONS

DISEASES
TRAUMA
PARASITES
OTHER
EUTHANASIA



INFECTIOUS DISEASES

  • Myxomatosis – Rabbits
Clinical Signs – swollen eyes, conjunctivitis, subcutaneous swellings/abscesses around ears, neck, head, nose and anogenital area
Diagnosis – clinical signs. Incubation period is 2 – 8 days
Treatment – supportive treatment, warmth, flea control. See drugs and dosages table for ‘St Tiggywinkles myxomatosis treatment’ reqime
Comments – quarantine for all rabbits on arrival for 10 days. Spread by fleas/ biting flies. Euthanase if fitting or suffering severe discomfort. Do not release if eyes need enucleating. Some do survive and pass on acquired immunity
Rabbit with myxomatosis
 
© Huw Beynon
  • Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) – Rabbits

Clinical Signs – depression, anorexia, in–coordination, bloody mucous nasal discharge, respiratory distress, sudden death within 1 – 2 days
Diagnosis – clinical signs, none presented so far in rehabilitation
Treatment – disease too quick to treat. Vaccinate
Comments – transmitted by direct contact with infected animals and mechanically on equipment. Quarantine any rabbits that arrive

  • Pasteurellosis– Rabbits

Clinical Signs – upper respiratory tract infection, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, pneumonia, otitis media
Diagnosis – clinical signs, wound swab
Treatment – antibiotics, supportive care
Comments – common in pet rabbits, found as a secondary infection in wound infections and abscesses in wild rabbits

Rabbit Conjunctivitus
 
© Gretchen Kaufman
  • Treponematosis (Treponema cuniculi) – Rabbits & Hares

Clinical Signs – crusty inflamed lesions on face, perineum, and external genitalia
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment – parenteral penicillin
Comments – most common in hares. Sexually transmitted disease

  • Leporine dysautonomia  – Hares

Clinical Signs – wasting disease, approachable, depression, emaciation, bowel impaction, gastric distension, inability to swallow, inhalation pneumonia, bladder distension, dilated pupils
Diagnosis – clinical signs, histology
Treatment – euthanasia
Comments – second most common cause of death of hares in Britain. Also confirmed in one rabbit

 



TRAUMA – Rabbits / Hares

  • Road Traffic Accident

Clinical Signs – commonly fractures, sometimes ruptured diaphragms, livers or spleens
Diagnosis – examination and radiographs
Treatment – fractures – legs, pelvis or spine, treatment as per cat. Temporary splint and pain relief, surgery once stabilised. Pelvic fracture – cage rest, some advocate spaying female
Comments –remove any metalwork before release

  • Cat Attack

Clinical signs – lacerations, fractures, puncture wounds, fur loss, superficial to severe wounds 
Diagnosis – clinical signs, history
Treatment –single dose of long acting amoxicillin and analgesic
Comments – mainly die due to septicaemia within 48hrs if untreated

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PARASITES – Rabbits / Hares

Routine treatment with ivermectin recommended for endoparasites

  • Coccidia (Eimeria spp)

Clinical Signs – diarrhoea
Diagnosis – faecal samples
Treatment – sulphadimidine in water or sulphamethoxypyridazine
Comments – diarrhoea in rabbits is normally more serious and complicated than simply coccidian. Prophylactics – some proprietary rabbit foods contain a coccidiostat

Rabbit ear mites myaisis rabbit
© Gretchen Kaufman
© Gretchen Kaufman
Ear mites
Myiasis
  • Myiasis – maggot infestation

Clinical signs – visual infestation in open wounds or orifices
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment –flush with water/ dilute triclosan, manually remove, apply dermisol. Use clippers for egg removal, or brush off. Inject with ivermectin. Only clean thoroughly once stabilised
Treat prophylactically if diarrhoea – insect powder e.g. Whiskas Exelpet or Rear Guard
Comments – check all new casualties routinely, especially if diarrhoea

 


OTHER

  • Malocclusion

Clinical Signs – overgrown incisors due to misaligned or damaged teeth
Diagnosis – clinical signs
Treatment – shorten incisors, possibly surgery if due to trauma
Comments – will overgrow again if misalignment not rectified. Un–releasable if untreatable

Rabbit Mallocclusion
 
© Gretchen Kaufman


EUTHANASIA

Candidates

  • No quality of life when recovered
  • Disabled
  • Blind
  • Recurrent malocclusion
  • Leporine dysautonomia  in hares

Drug

  • Pentobarbital sodium

Technique

  • Sedation then IV injection
  • Sedation then IP injection

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VETERINARY SECTION

THIS SECTION IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR VETERINARY SURGEONS

VETERINARY DRUGS & DOSAGES TABLE

ANATOMY
INJECTION SITES
NORMAL PARAMETERS
HANDLING FOR EXAMINATION
ADMISSION PROCEDURES
ANAESTHESIA



ANATOMY

Hedgehog Anatomy


INJECTION SITES

SC

between shoulder blades or loose skin over chest

IM

quadriceps

IO

tibia/humerus

IP

caudal to the umbilicus, avoid liver, kidneys, and caecum (right ventral abdomen)

IV

jugular or lateral saphenous .Cephalic in adult hare

PO

in food

 


NORMAL PARAMETERS

Temperature (°C)

38.5 – 39.5

Pulse rate
(beats per minute)

180 to 325

Respiratory rate 
(breaths per minute)

30 – 60


HANDLING FOR EXAMINATION


Serious risk of stress, shock and capture myopathy, especially if allowed to struggle
Ideally observe discreetly before examination – wildlife hide injuries
NEVER LIFT BY THE EARS
Hold securely around the body, or hold by the scruff, and support rump as you lift
Spine is easily damaged if they struggle too much with their back legs
Struggle and can scratch with back legs
Care, may freeze then suddenly jump

Can be susceptible to ‘hypnosis’ or ‘trancing’ for a few minutes if laid in dorsal recumbancy


ADMISSION PROCEDURES

  • Weigh
  • Warm up
  • Fluids
  • Drugs
Rabbit handling
 
© Gretchen Kaufman

ADMISSIONS PROCEDURE – Rabbit

  • Weigh
  • Warm up
  • If baby rabbit; stimulate to urinate/defecate
  • Fluids
  • Drugs
  • Treat for shock if indicated (see below)
  • Flea treatment – Whiskas Exelpet powder or Advantage. NOT frontline
  • Flea die–off – leave in cardboard box for 15mins (Fleas are myxomatosis vectors)
  • Dispose of the box/bedding brought in with the rabbit
  • Quarantine – 10 days
  • If myoxmatosis signs – treat and accommodate AWAY from any other rabbits

RTA casualties will often be suffering volume related shock, treat as below

Treatment for shock

  • Warmth (stop animal loosing heat, warm slowly)
  • IV fluids – Hartmann’s or Haemaccel (keep muzzle on to prevent chewing IV line)
  • Oxygen as required
  • Analgesia – very important to prevent consequential gut stasis

Steroids (ONLY if CNS trauma e.g. ‘Solu medrone V’ or dexamethasone)
Antibiotics if appropriate, IV
After treatment for shock, attend to conditions that are life threatening or could worsen over 24hrs

Assess every few hours. As soon as stable, sedate, examine thoroughly, and decide on a treatment plan or euthanise as appropriate

 
ANAESTHESIA

Induction important – quiet, dark, adequate time
Warmth – hot water bottle, bubble wrap, care not to overheat
Rabbits are unable to sweat and are very susceptible to hyperthermia
Injectables preferable due to breath holding if you try to mask down
Medetomidine or xylazine can be used with ketamine for GA

Surgical considerations
Tissue - thin, delicate and friable. Handle as little as possible
Bones - brittle, shatter easily. Orthopaedic repairs similar to cats
Blood – clots quickly. Blood volume 55-65ml/kg, losses above 20-25% lead to shock
Omentum – small, prone to adhesions. Care not to introduce foreign materials – talc, lint
Suturing – swaged needles, fine suture material
Skin sutures – continuous SC or tissue adhesive

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