Yes, yes – they can. Actually, most animals can get rabies, even humans. But with rabbits, the good news is that they rarely get infected. If a cute bunny is to get a rabies infection, it will pick it from a cat or a dog. When the disease starts kicking in, the rabbit will lose its vision, become feverish, feel agitated, and have a tilted head. Now, let’s get answers to some questions about rabbits and rabies.
Rabbits And Rabies: Questions And Answers
Can Anyone Do Anything To Ensure That Their Pet Rabbit Does Not Contract Rabies?
Yes – of course! Prevention is better than cure, seeing that rabbit vets are exotic and thus expensive. You should stop the infection on its tracks. And so, here are some crucial steps you can make to protect your bunny from becoming rabid:
1. Stop Feeding Or Handling Stray Dogs And Street Cats
As a pet lover, you have a cup overflowing with love. A dog here and a cat there will draw you to themselves but avoid gravitating towards such random animals. These strays are medically neglected, and thus, they could be carriers of the infection. Once you touch them and fail to clean yourself up, you’re setting your pet rabbit for a rabies infection that they didn’t even ask for.
Also, try not to adopt the strays. If they come into your home, they will surely open the rabbit to the infection and other diseases.
2. All Your Pets Should Be Fed Inside
This applies to the pets that live indoors. I assume that your rabbit lives in a cage, and that should be the place of feeding all the time. Once you move it out of the enclosure, it is more likely to get infected.
3. Trash Cans And Garbage Bins Should Always Be Tightly Closed
Scavengers like raccoons and squirrels will always be tipping over bins to see if there’s something they can eat. If your garbage containers are neglected, wild scavengers will find your home a suitable nesting place. This will increase the chances of their interaction with your pet rabbit, and thus, you may be looking at a possible rabies infection.
4. Bats Should Be Kept Under Control
Bats, intelligent as they are, are probably one of the most mysterious animals in the world. They are prone to getting rabies and can scratch your rabbit during one of their panic flights. So, whenever you see one, could you not touch it? Instead, call animal control.
If there are any bat droppings in your house, get a good bleach product or a perfumed soap like Irish Spring. This will prevent your pet rabbit from exploring the fecal matter.
5. Your Pets Should Always Stay In The House
Pets are curious, and sometimes, that comes with a price. If you let your rabbit, cat, or dog move outside, it will interact with other animals that will open it up to rabies.
If you’re leaving them to be free, limit the freedom. It will save you the vet costs that come with a rabid pet.
Is Vaccinating My Rabbit A Must-Do Thing?
Well, no. A rabies shot is not mandatory for rabbits. Your vet is unlikely to draw you in that direction because there is no medically-approved vaccine, and rabbits rarely get rabies.
What happens When My Rabbit Gets Infected?
Well, the NCBI has it that the incubation period for the rabies virus in a rabbit’s body is between 14 and 27 days. When that time lapses, a rabbit develops what is technically known as paralytic rabies.
Some of the signs that are likely to show are weight loss, anorexia, restlessness, ascending paralysis, head tremors, and lack of hind-limb coordination. If the rabbit is severely affected, it will die within 72 to 96 hours after the virus’s incubation occurs.
I Have A Rabbit Which is Rabid, and it Just Infected Me. What I’m I supposed to Do?
Well, you should be worried – anxious. Rabies also affects humans as much as they infect animals. If your rabbit is rabid, the most common way of getting infected is through a bite. If you make the rabbit feel stressed and anxious, it will nip you painfully. Once that happens, follow the listed steps to stay safe:
1. Wash The Bite Wound With Running Water And Soap
The rabbit’s saliva bears the virus, and that is what you want to clean off. The water will help the virus-laced saliva to stay out of you.
2. Make Your Way To A Medical Practitioner
The infection makes you automatically sick. So, you need to rush to a doctor and ask for immediate treatment. A good doctor should administer lab tests. These will help them understand if your blood has developed antibodies to combat the foreign virus. If yes, this implies that you’ve been exposed to rabies.
Since you’re now rabid, the doctor will start you off on a vaccination treatment known as a PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) which is the rabies vaccine. If it is administered early enough, you will have higher chances of being OK.
On top of the vaccine, the doctor should give globulin or fast-acting rabies immune globulin. The function of this medication is to prevent you from getting infected. After that, you will have to get four vaccine shots over 14 days.
If you’re pregnant, there is nothing to worry about. The vaccine and treatment plan given for rabies is safe for the baby too.
Cleaning Your Home After A Rabies Issue
It is vital to sanitize your house after the rabies infection happens. This will help prevent further outbreaks, and everyone under your roof will remain safe. Here are two key take-home points:
1. Use Bleach
On the planet, bleach is probably the most effective virus killer. Once you mix it with some soap water, dab a cloth and clean the infected areas. I’m talking about hutches, floor, playpens, and cages.
2. The Virus Is Easy To Kill
The virus is only powerful when it gets inside a human or an animal. Outside, it is no match for UV light, soap, and alcohol. If you suspect that your rabbit’s enclosure is laced by the virus, let in some sunshine. The virus will be denatured by the high temperatures coming in from the sun.
When you’re done doing that, get some alcohol and spray it on the suspected areas.
Breathe easy because the NCBI says that pet rabbits are unlikely to get a rabies infection. It rarely happens, and the documented and exceptional cases are from 1999 in Maryland.
But you shouldn’t let your guard down – you need to keep yourself and your rabbit safe. The steps and tips given in this read ought to prepare you for any eventuality.
You should take rabies seriously because it can quickly become a grave situation. Protecting your rabbit should always be in mind because there is no treatment. Once your rabbit gets the disease, it is a one-way ticket down the rabbit hole, if you know what I mean.
Tell you how you feel about the read in the comment section below. And once you do, don’t forget to check out what a white rabbit means.
If you’re not interested in that, I’m sure you’ll want to know if rabbits are harmful to humans or not.