Bunny Heatstroke

Yesterday, I nearly had a 5 week old bunny die of heat stroke!

I put them outside in the shade to graze on grass, and escape the hot. stale air in the barn that they live at. It wasn’t that hot out either. When I put them out it was only 80 degrees, and they were in the shade with plenty of water.

One of the 7 week old Californian Rabbits

One of the 7 week old Californian Rabbits

Then, I had to go do camper check in (107 new campers!), and the temperature shot up 10 degrees, within the hour. The shade moved with the sun. Now, the bunnies had ample water and a frozen 2 liter bottle to rest on, so, normally this wouldn’t be an issue.

However, one of the babies (only 1.3 lbs) managed to wedge himself under the door of the cage (which was on the ground to prevent predation and nosy children). I have no idea how he got under it, but he was trapped, away from food and water, and ice.

I got to him just in time. He was flopped over, unable to hold his own weight up. I was panicking!  I went to the hose and filled up one of the horse feeders with as cold of water as I could get (tepid), and immersed all but the bunnies head. Once the bunny was good and wet, I placed him in the stall. He could stand, but not keep his head up. I didn’t want to keep him immersed longer than needed. He was too weak to even drink!

After a few minutes, I picked him back up and put him into the water. I never saw a baby rabbit drink so much! His legs were still wobbly, but he was able to hold his head up. I then packed him into a small basket, and took him to the air conditioned dining hall. Within minutes, he was up trying to investigate life outside of the box.

He was ok when I left last night. He was hiding in the corner, as opposed to the others that were sprawled on the wire, but he was hopping about and eating.

Here’s to hoping he makes a full recovery. Lesson learned to the craftiness of bunnies!


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