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I have a rabbit about 5 years old. we came back home yesterday and there was a squirrel in her cage outside. The squirrel was desperately trying to get out while my rabbit was laying down panting and seemed in shock. When we picked up our rabbit she was lethargic and making no movement. After awhile she moved a little and didn't eat or drink.but at the end of the day she looked a little better.Today when we woke up we gave her a small cup of water since she wouldn't drink out of the water dispenser and she drank out of the cup.But she has not eaten. Is this something I should be concerned about? Is she in shock? How long can they be shock for?

Dear Vickie,

Please bring your rabbit inside where it's cool and you can keep her under observation.  A moderate temperature, quiet bathroom with a very clean floor is good, and supply her with towels and a blanket.

It would be wise to take her temperature, as a shocky rabbit can become hypothermic, and this can lead to a downward spiral.  Please read this for instructions:

It is possible that the stress of the squirrel encounter was enough to elicit ileus, which means that the movement of her intestines has stopped.  Even a slowdown can be dangerous.  For full information on this, please read:

Find a good rabbit vet here:

and get her there as soon as you can.  In the meantime, the first article above will tell you how to determine whether this is an emergency (her temperature will tell you a lot).

One more reason to keep bunny indoors where unexpected things like this can't happen.  I hope she will be fine.



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


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:

Find a rabbit vet at 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.


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.

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

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

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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