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When it comes to owning a pet rabbit, one of the goals is to make sure that the floppy-haired sweetie always stays as dry and comfortable as can be. If your bunny gets wet, it puts her at risk for possible disease, freezing and perhaps even death, so don't take the matter lightly.
Problem With Wet Rabbits
Wet bunnies are a true dilemma. When a rabbit's coat becomes wet, it prevents her fur from being able to shut in heat alongside her physique. This, in turn, can lead to the freezing of the poor rabbit, specifically in times of frigid winter temperatures. This is a major risk, particularly for pet bunnies that spend a lot of time outside. Colder weather extremes are perilous to rabbits, whether rain, snow or hail. All of these things can potentially make bunnies sick.
Cold Weather Meets Wetness
Although it's important for rabbits to never be kept in the cold, they're actually often pretty good at handling decreased temperatures. If a rabbit combines cold weather with wetness, however, he has a serious problem. A rabbit that is simultaneously damp and cold can get sick -- quickly. Illnesses caused by being in both damp and cold conditions can sometimes cause life-threatening consequences in bunnies.
Chilling is a danger factor for rabbits in that it induces stress. Stress makes bunnies susceptible to a lot of dangerous respiratory infections, with pasteurellosis -- or snuffles -- as just one example. Being wet causes chilling, chilling causes freezing and freezing can bring upon stress, a prominent immunosuppressive in rabbits. The weaker a rabbit's immune system, the bigger chance he has of getting sick.
Aside from wetness in bunnies being a major hazard and pathway to disease, it can also lead to frustrating and persistent matting and knotting of your pet's coat. Matting undoubtedly looks unpleasant, and also doesn't feel too cozy for your rabbit either. Always try to remove pesky knots in your rabbit's coat through carefully combing them out. Clipping the mats can be a potential hazard, as you don't want to get too close to the skin and cut it unintentionally.
Drying Your Bunny Rabbit
If your dog was just out in the rain and got a little water on your rabbit's coat, don't panic. Instead, promptly take action to dry the little rabbit. Don't forget about your canine cutie, either. Grab a smooth towel and then diligently massage your bunny's coat. It should only take a couple of minutes for you to restore your rabbit back to her former dry glory.
Note that baths are unnecessary for rabbits. Not only is water a hazard for rabbits, it can also make them feel extremely nervous.
If your bunny's fur ever appears inexplicably wet around her rear area or her chin, pay attention, as it could signify a health issue. Also look out for any matting in those areas. Notify your vet if you observe either of those signs.
Other Stress Sources
Apart from wetness, other stressful circumstances can bring upon infection and disease in rabbits, including both cramped quarters and lack of fresh air circulating. Keep your rabbit's immune system strong by keeping him stress-free as can be.
- Field Guide to Appropriate Technology; Barrett Hazeltine and Christopher Bull
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- The Rabbit Handbook; Karen Gendron
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- RSPCA: Rabbit Winter Care Advice
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- Veterinary Microbiology and Microbial Disease; P.J. Quinn, B.K. Markey, F.C. Leonard et al.
- Textbook of Rabbit Medicine; Molly Varga
- Peteducation: Snuffles (Pasteurellosis)
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