CPR for Rabbits

If your rabbit is a chewer, make sure you know CPR–if he or she ever chews an electrical cord and is electrocuted, it may be necessary to administer CPR. There are many stories of CPR saving a rabbit’s life after cord electrocution.

If your rabbit isn’t breathing, use these instructions.

  1. Position your pet rabbit on its back.
  2. Check to see if your pet is breathing before you begin CPR. If the rabbit is breathing, you should see the chest rising and falling as it inhales and exhales.
  3. Also check for a heartbeat by placing your ear close to its chest and listening for a heartbeat. If there is no breathing or heartbeat, proceed to administer CPR.
  4. Tilt your rabbit’s head back to open the airway. If you don’t want to put your mouth directly on that of your rabbit, put a piece of gauze over the rabbit’s nose area.
  5. Hold the rabbit’s mouth shut and make a seal with your mouth over the rabbit’s nose. Blow five small breaths into the rabbit, just enough to see the rabbit’s chest rise.
  6. Check for a heartbeat by placing your fingers on the large vein inside the rabbit’s hind legs. If you don’t feel a pulse, place your pointer finger and thumb at the highest part of the rabbit’s chest and gently squeeze once per second.
  7. After a minute of this, give the rabbit five more breaths, then compress the chest again; continue as needed until you reach the vet, checking each time for breathing and pulse. Should the rabbit begin to breathe or the heartbeat start, stop CPR.

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