Question My Vixen rabbit is 4 year old Netherland dwarf and in good health, but she gets very nervous when I take her places (e.g. to get her nails trimmed or checkup). We're planning to move to Florida sometime next year, so I wanted to know the best way a can transport her with minimal stress. Every other rabbit forum I've been to suggests not to travel with rabbits, but I have no choice. The flight from Indianapolis to Orlando will be 2.5 hours. Vixen will ride with me in the cabin (I already checked with Continental airlines and they'll allow this). Add early check-in time and transport from airport to our new home in Ocala, that's about 5 hours total she'll go without food or water (cause I know she won't eat while traveling). I plan to have her cage setup and waiting for her at the new house along with everything she needs. But I'm very worried that she'll be too stressed to eat again. What things can I do to make this easier on her?
Answer Dear Julie,
For a nervous nellie rabbit, there's nothing quite like a little dose of Ativan to alleviate the problems of travel. Please ask your vet about getting a bunny-dose prescription for her to take about an hour before you travel. She'll be a little sleepy and gorky for 8-12 hours, but that's better than being freaked out and scared.
We've used diazepam, but our vet says that Ativan is much better. Not yet had an opportunity to try it, but I trust him on that.
If you can't get Ativan, then diazepam (Valium) will work well, too.
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