Rabbits, like all other pets, need regular vet care. They should see the vet once a year for a checkup, and you should also call and make an appointment whenever anything seems amiss with your rabbit. However, there are times when your rabbit's need for vet care may be more urgent. Here are some signs that you need to rush your rabbit to the pet hospital for prompt care.
That's right — occasionally people find maggots on their rabbits, and when they do, it is a very big deal. Certain species of flies tend to lay their eggs on rabbits' fur. When those eggs hatch, they turn into larvae, or maggots, and those maggots start feeding on your rabbit's flesh. The condition is known as fly strike, and it can go south very quickly, claiming a rabbit's life within a day. Take your rabbit to the vet hospital immediately if you ever find a maggot on their skin. The vet will need to remove any maggots, treat your rabbit with antibiotics, and probably administer some fluids and pain relievers, too.
Rabbits can get an upper respiratory infection called the snuffles. It causes them to sneeze, and it causes their nose to run. You should take your rabbit to the vet if you think it may have the snuffles, but it's not necessarily an emergency. When it does become an emergency is if the bunny starts to make wheezing noises when breathing. It may sound like the bunny is taking short, rough breaths. This can be a sign of pneumonia or bronchitis, which can be deadly in rabbits. Your rabbit will need oxygen, antibiotics, and fluids to pull through, and the vet is the only one who can give those things.
Diarrhea in rabbits can be really serious. It dehydrates them quickly, and since they are usually feeling under the weather when they have diarrhea, they don't drink to keep their own fluid levels up. Diarrhea can also lead to fly strike since the remnants can attract flies. A bunny with loose stools often has a gastrointestinal infection and needs prompt treatment with antibiotics and fluids to fully recover.
Rabbits with diarrhea, wheezing, or maggots on their fur need to see the vet promptly. Give your local vet hospital a call; they'll tell you what to do. Chances are, they'll ask you to bring the bunny in immediately. For more information about care at a vet hospital, call a local facility.