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Rabbits/water went down the wrong way

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Question
My disabled rabbit was drinking water out of her bottle, started sneezing then coughing.  Some water came out. Few minutes later a little more coughing. Seems OK now, eating, acting normal.

What do I need to look out for?

Answer
Dear Linda,

If it was just clean water, you're probably safe now.  If it was food or a different liquid, it might be more dangerous, as foreign particles could remain and cause aspiration pneumonia.

But this was just water, and since that's the main inorganic component of our bodies, she should be fine.  If she stopped choking a few minutes after this happened, she got the problematic water out, and crisis averted.

Scary, though!  Is she able to drink from a bowl?  That might be safer, as long as her disability doesn't cause her to pitch forward and not be able to get out of the bowl if she were to fall into it.  (I had that happen with my disabled rabbit, and had to do the "rabbit Heimlich" to revive him!)

Hope everything will be fine from this point on.

Dana

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.


RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.

Experience

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Organizations
Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Publications
Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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