So I just wanted to post some more information on how we have in the past given Baby and Gracie and Dino meds by mouth before. Meds are so important and you want to be sure you actually get the bun to take the meds and the whole process can be tricky.
Usually our vet gives us liquid meds in small squeeze bottles and we remove the cap and use a syringe to draw up the meds and to administer it with. Some meds need to be at room temperature and others need to go into the fridge. Its important to store them properly so make a effort to check them as soon as you get home for proper storage.
Now there are different size syringes -small and larger ones depending on just how much medicine you will be giving at a time.
Here are 3 sizes that we currently have (2 of these are the same size).
There is the large one on the far left – that is a 10 ml (2 tsp) max- note that for syringe sizes ml = cc. See this one up close below.
Next is 3 ml max syringe. Close up below.
And smaller yet is the 1 ml size. See below.
Be aware that these syringes can be rinsed out with warm water and shake them to get the excess water out. Then we let them air dry on a paper towel till next round. They do wear out so make sure your vet gives you enough. BTW you can’t buy these sizes at a drug store or pharmacy either because I’ve tried. So store any unused syringes in a zip lock baggie for future use. If you’ve used them then throw them away.
Its so important that you measure the liquid exactly to where they say – the exact line or as close as you can get — seriously you have to be diligent about this. While in the vets office read the medicine bottle and have them show you on the syringe what line it should be at. Ask the same question for each drug. You can ask them to mark the line with a colored marker but those lines can wash off so be sure to pay close attention on this. Be sure you understand as I’ve gotten home and had the call the vet’s office back to ask questions (dumb bunny mama).
Some meds don’t taste that bad to bunnies and they might like it as meds are usually flavored somewhat. But some bunnies just won’t like the taste and that can be challenging too. We have tried all sorts of ways to get our buns to take the meds. We have mixed the meds into mashed banana (not a good idea to introduce bananas to your bun as they get addicted and the bananas are not good for them). We have stirred the med into a small amount of canned pumpkin (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING but solid packed pumpkin). Our last and best trick is to mix it into some Oxbow Critical Care. See pic below.
Critical Care is a food supplement that you can give to your rabbit if he or she stops eating. I always have a bag in my fridge because I learned that as my buns aged, you never knew when you might need it. My vet will recommend I give them some of this when they are sick or are on meds. You mix it with water and can administer by syringe or put on a plate and let your bun eat it that way. It does come flavored and Baby and Gracie both liked any flavor or the plain one. But again you could mix the med into a little bit of Critical Care if you are desperate.
We have drenched food with the meds, like chopped up lettuce or parsley but once the bun catches a whif of the smell of the meds, all bets are off if they don’t like the taste of it in the first place.
But sometimes you get lucky and the bunny likes the taste of the med. Here is Dino just lapping it up. He loves it.
If you have to administer the meds by mouth using a syringe here are our steps.
1. Get you meds ready first. Measure them out into the syringes double checking the dosage and how many times a day (to be sure you are not giving it too often as I did that once with Baby – gave her med twice a day instead of once a day and wondered why she was sleeping so much). I even recommend that you make a checklist for each day which ones, time of day and dosage. This makes it pretty easy. Once you fill up the syringes, put them in a small cup or glass upside down so the meds stay in the syringe and don’t run out.
2. Now plan the area where you will do this. Sometimes bring a rabbit to a room they don’t usually go in will help throw them off and they will be well behaved. Once they get use to it things could change. What we do is put a towel onto our kitchen island counter top where the buns never ever go. We get the med glass over there and we are getting ready to go.
3. Protect yourself and your clothes. It’s possible that your bunny might claw you to get away so protect your arms if necessary. I’ve been scratched – can you tell? Not fun. Most meds that we have used have washed out of clothing but don’t have a shirt on where your bunnies nails might get caught (like a bulky knit sweater). I put on a robe so I can always put in right into the washer if I need to as this can get messy.
4. Now carefully capture your rabbit. The faster you do this the better. Be swift and precise so they have no idea what you are doing.
5. Take the bun to the prepared area. Have one person hold them firmly still in one place on the counter top while the other administers the meds by mouth. OR you can have one person hold the rabbit sorta like a baby up on the shoulder where the rabbits head is above the shoulder and the rest of the body is being supported by your arm. (NOTE: once Baby got used to this method she used to tuck and hide her head into her neck where I couldn’t even find her mouth to give her the meds – crazy little bunny she was).
6. Find the right spot in their mouth – this can take some practice. But rabbits have front teeth but no teeth on the sides of their mouth. So you look where the their nose is and the center line that runs down their nose to their mouth. That is dead center where their teeth are. What you need to do is gently poke the syringe on the side of the mouth between the lips and once you see the syringe go into the mouth, slow push on the plunger of the syringe to administer the meds. Don’t shove all of it in at once or the bunny could choke. This gets easier the more you do it, so remember the first time is the worst.
7. You’ll be able to tell which meds they like and the ones they don’t. We tried to give them the ones they didn’t like first and finished up with the ones they did like so that by the end of the entire process when you put them back into their room or area, they had a positive memory of the good med last.
So if you have a bunny that is wild or leaps out of your arms, then you can confine the rabbit into a small room, close the door, catch the rabbit and do the same procedure on the floor instead of on a counter top. We had tried on top of a bed but since Baby was used to being on the bed that had no scare factor and she quickly got away from us there.
Another tactic to try for an unruly bunny is the bunny burrito. That is where you snuggly wrap a bunny in a towel so that only their little face is exposed. Baby could wiggle out of this one. Here is a really good video on how to burrito a bunny. Click here. My vet uses this method all the time. Once in the burrito you would administer the drugs as described above.
No matter how you slice it, this is really challenging. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. So be patient and loving and don’t get discouraged or mean as your bunny loves you and needs their meds. I’m sure one of these ideas will help you give your bunny their meds.
To see a video on how to administer meds by mouth using a syringe, go to this page.
To see a video on how to prep and organize the drugs, click here.
If you have a specific question about your rabbit, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.