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!)
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.
If your rabbits is LETHARGIC
If your rabbit is NOT EATING
If your rabbit is PHYSICALLY INJURED (including broken bones)
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