How to pick up rabbits

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rabbits have been treated in the

veterinary practice for centuries these

docile creatures can easily become

stressed leading to health concerns and

injury especially when handled

incorrectly in this video exotics and

wildlife expert David Clemen will

discuss how to safely handle rabbits



David Clemen is here with that she's an

exotic sand wildlife expert with many

years of experience in handling exotics

and today he's going to talk to us about

the many types of mammals that we may

see in our veterinary practice now David

what are we going to begin with well

we're going to begin with a rabbit and

rabbits are very common pests these days

especially around the springtime we seem

to see a lot of people getting rabbits

but a lot of times they get the rabbit

and they don't really you know know how

to handle them themselves and so

handling a rabbit have to be very

careful in the way you handle them and

so I've got the crate sitting here

because the first thing you have to do

many times is get the rabbit out of the

crate especially if it's an owner that

hasn't handled there as much and the

rules will never take an animal out of

their travel crate is always just

assumed that they might try and dart out

and so you always use your body to put

in front now with a rabbit you never

want to pick them up by the ears because

of course the gears you can get into

them and when you have the animals

facing you you want to kind of get your

hands underneath and scoot them out like

that and of course we get some newspaper

in here so I'm just going to tuck him

down nice and close so that he doesn't

have to worry about support rabbits feel

the safest when they have the feet

underneath them when they can feel their

feet touching something many times

people want to pick the rabbits up and

hold onto them which you can do in your

string then for a procedure but when you

first get them out what you probably

want to do is just let them stay on the

table if you want to have something for

it give them a little grip you can do

that but simply that you can do if you

need to do something back here you just

kind of use your body and just kind of

bring them into the crook of your arm

there that we can kind of cover up their

eyes and it's kind of nice and dark and

they can get back here and check things

out when you need to check them out in

front of course you're going to want to

turn them around and when you pick them

up at any point you have to remember how

sharp their claws are so you're going to

want to support them and so what I

always do is I tuck my hand underneath

the back feet there you can even

sometimes hook the feet between your

fingers like that that way they can't

kick out from underneath you put your

hand on top and always make sure that


keep the rabbits body with their back

arch like this nice and even you don't

want them to have a chance to kick and

extend their feet out rabbit could

easily break their back you also always

want to keep your hand on top of them

there to keep them from being able to

jump out of your hand

whenever you're working with rabbits

there are some special considerations

that we need to keep in mind

for example rabbits can break their

backs fairly easily they have very

strong back muscles and very strong back

legs because they help they have

comparatively very weak skeletons and

this combination of things makes it

easier for them to break their backs so

whenever we're working with rabbits we

need to make sure that their backs are

well supported so if we have to move

them from one place to another we have

to either tuck there tuck them into our

arms or support their rump with our hand

and when we're working with them and

they're starting to really sump and

struggle we might need to give them a

break to protect their backs and then

when you're ready to put the rabbit back

inside their crate same thing keep your

hand over the top and just use your

whole body to kind of ease them back in

just like that another special

consideration with rabbits is when

you're working with especially nervous

rabbits most rabbits will tolerate

you're doing an exam on an exam room

table just like you would do a cat

occasionally we have rabbits that are

very frightened and skittish and they

will try to jump off the table which can

lead them to hurt themselves so if I

find a patient to be that frightened

usually I think what works well is to

bring your exam down to the floor so the

assistant and the doctor come both kneel

down or sit down on the floor put a

towel out you can look at the rabbit

while it's on the floor and as needed

gently put it into your lap to look at

the feet for example or the abdomen

whether your genital region so you just

need to adjust your handling so the

rabbits Tacy's a final concern with

rabbits is that they usually are pretty

quiet patients in the exam room

guinea pigs talk about everything

they're going to scream that you felt

their belly and you know be mad that you

picked them up but rabbits usually are

quiet so if a rabbit is starting to

vocalize especially if it's starting to

scream that means a rabbit is extremely

frightened and could even get so

frightened that it dies so if you start

to hear a rabbit screaming you need to

put it in a dark quiet safe place give

it a break and reassess what you're

trying to accomplish so you can do it in

a way that is safe for the rabbit