Identifying first symptom of heat stress

Rabbit Talk  Forum

Help Support Rabbit Talk Forum:

robeyw

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
23
Reaction score
9
Location
Lafayette, Indiana, USA
What is the first symptom to look for to be concerned that a rabbit is too hot? I was looking at respiration rate but I have a caged rabbit that is in a temperature of about 78 degrees F that started breathing about 3X faster but still shallow and tried a couple things: I gave her a large aluminum plate to sit on but she did not use it, I gave her a small quiet fan in a large room (of her 3 room cage). First she sit on the far side to get a very gentle breeze then she went to a room where she has never stayed for long so I think she wants to avoid the fan. I reciently got her from a shelter and she does not want me to touch her but I did use a IR thermometer to estimate ear temperature, about 92 to 94 at base, 90 at tip. I repeated this measurement on my free roam rabbit who is breathing normally and goes to the basement whenever she wants with the same result.
 

ladysown

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
8,435
Reaction score
811
Location
near London, Ontario
I'm not surprised your bunny might not want to sit on an aluminum plate. it's slippery and will make an odd noise (in a bunny's mind). :) a better option would be a tile.

But if she's in the house, and able to move around, and your other rabbit isn't showing signs of heat distress... I would doubt that she would be suffering from that. 78f isn't generally hot enough to cause heat distress.

So there might be something else going on OR she's nervous because she's still settling in. I wouldn't fret a whole lot at this point yet.
 

robeyw

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
23
Reaction score
9
Location
Lafayette, Indiana, USA
I'm not surprised your bunny might not want to sit on an aluminum plate. it's slippery and will make an odd noise (in a bunny's mind). :) a better option would be a tile.
My aluminum plate 1/4" thick does not make any noise but the slickness in interesting. First I had a rug that she wadded up to sit on the slick vinyl floor. Then I got a ground rubber mat for both rabbits to use. They show no preference over the slick floor. (I was also concerned about the tufts of rug that were coming off being a digestive hazard. With no exposed edges, the rubber remains intact.)
 

HTAcres

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Oct 18, 2021
Messages
232
Reaction score
241
Yes. Ceramic tile 12 x 12 upside down in the pen. You turn it upside down because the back is porius and water evaporation makes it cool
I don't have any but I didn't know to turn them upside down, cool!

I look for the head thrown back. I don't consider stress yet when they are lying still with the head nose forward and kind of panting but as they get more stressed, that head will go back. And/or saliva running from mouth - I think it must be a cooling mechanism but it is a sign of heat stress IMHO. When a rabbit has its head alung all the way back, it is Do Something Right Now time.
 

Latest posts

Top