Pain is pain, regardless if you’re an animal or a person. It is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Dealing with a pet in pain is difficult for any pet owner because animals cannot communicate with us verbally, making it extremely difficult to know more about their pain.
In the past it was taught that animals needed a certain level of pain when there was an injury, or post-surgically to prevent the animal from further movement that will cause more pain. However, it is now recognized that such a view is inhuman and excessive pain can be detrimental, and even life-threatening in animals.
Excessive pain can also prolong recovery from illness or injury as there can be loss of appetite, slowing and eventually shut down of the gastrointestinal tract and death. Cases have shown that rabbits in a great deal of pain may go into shock and die within 24 to 48 hours despite the fact the illness or injury itself may not have been life-threatening.
Signs and Symptoms of Pain in your rabbit
When working with animals, including rabbits, you need to be highly observant for changes in their normal behavior. Generally, rabbits are often active, playful, alert and inquisitive. Some physical manifestations of a rabbit in pain include limping, withdrawing, protecting a certain part, or licking and rubbing an injured part. There may also be reluctance to move,
There will usually be a decrease in its water and food intake. Other signs may include seeing them having an increased breathing, tooth grinding, being suddenly aggressive, and making little or no movement at all. When you start to hear audible pain manifestations, that is a sure sign that they are in heavy pain.
Oftentimes pain in rabbits is mis- or underdiagnosed as well as underestimated. This is because it’s very difficult to differentiate pain from anxiety in rabbits, especially since they are often combined and may be manifested by similar changes in behavior.
Medication for Pain Control and Management
Aspirin is an analgesic drug that is used to relieve minor pains and aches as well as an antipyretic to reduce fever and other inflammatory infections. Aspirin works by blocking a naturally occurring substance in the system to reduce swelling and pain.
Aspirin may be given to a rabbit but it should be administered under the supervision of a veterinarian or given under the instruction of a veterinarian.
To make sure that the diagnosis is correct, the veterinarian will usually take x-rays to identify what is causing your rabbit to feel pain. Going through it will help you know if the problem caused by injury, tooth spur, gas, indigestion, or blockage.
The initial pain medication will be aspirin that is given by dissolving it into water. One of the more recognized brands is Bayer because it can easily dissolve. This is then administered or fed through a syringe.
It is quite dangerous to self-medicate your pet because you will have little knowledge as to the degree of pain and required dosage. It cannot be stress enough how things can go wrong should your rabbit be exposed to unnecessary or excessive aspirin. Your pet may develop kidney problems as well as gastrointestinal tract.
When aspirin does not work, alpha-2-agonist may be injected to your rabbit. This drug is a more powerful analgesic specifically used for relieving abdominal pain. The same narcotics may be prescribed if a rabbit has just gone through surgery or some sort of procedure.
Helpful Rabbit Care Tips
In order to prevent surprising medical emergencies, take time to bring your pet to the veterinarian at least every six months to make sure that there is nothing out of the ordinary is occurring undetected. Preventive action is always the best response and early detection will give you more options to address any medical condition.
You may also want to have an emergency kit in your home with some basic materials in case your pet already has a medical history. You may want to have set aside 1cc and 10 cc syringes, Bayer orange-flavored, aspirin, digital thermometer, and baby powder with cornstarch for damage nails.
When handling a rabbit in pain, make sure not to touch or put pressure on the affected or painful area to minimize discomfort and ease the pain sensations.
Always remember that medication is not the only answer, you pet will need tender love and care. Constantly caress your pet and talk in soothing tones so they will be calm and at ease as best as possible.