Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. When needed for treatment of an infection in a rabbit, these drugs should be prescribed only by a veterinarian well-versed in rabbit medicine. Infections caused by bacteria can occur anywhere in the body. The best way to determine which type of antibiotic will be most effective against a particular infection is to take a sample of infected tissue (for example, a small section of the wall of an abscess, or a surface swab of the affected area), and send it to a laboratory for culture and sensitivity testing. It is advisable to have both an aerobic and an anaerobic bacterial tests performed to best determine what medications will be most effective.
In some cases, the infection may occur in an difficult-to-access place, such as inside the respiratory tract, urinary tract, inside of the eye, intestinal tract or bone. In this case, the veterinarian may need to make a “best guess” about which antibiotic is best to treat the problem.
Proper handling and restraint is important. Rabbits have powerful hindlimbs, which they can kick out, potentially resulting in serious injury. Rabbits should never be held by the ears; they should be scruffed at the neck, with the body firmly supported at the rump. When not restrained properly and securely, fractures or luxations of lumbar vertebrae can easily follow struggling. If a rabbit appears to be very stressed or excited, a sedative may be indicated to avoid iatrogenic injuries. Midazolam at a dosage of 0.5–2mg/kg, IM, once is often enough to adequately sedate the rabbit for a thorough physical examination.
Uses/benefits of Antibiotics For Rabbits
In our experience (remember, we are not vets, so always consult your veterinarian before making any health decisions about your rabbit), Baytril is a good ‘go-to’ antibiotic for rabbits. It is an oral antibiotic, and it tastes TERRIBLE (you don’t need to be a vet to know that for sure!). When we administer Baytril, we ‘pull’ the medicine in to the oral syringe and then fill the rest of the syringe with something very tasty and very sweet, like fruit syrup (from a jar of jam or jelly), juice, or even syrup. While sugar is not good for rabbits, a tiny amount to ‘help the medicine go down’ seems only fair. Don’t be surprised if your rabbit learns very quickly to try to avoid the Baytril syringe at any cost, and be ready with something delicious (like a piece of banana, apple, or berry) to wash away the flavor.
Risk of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea
Yes, with caution: nephrotoxic
No oral form available
Yes, impregnated in antibiotic beadsYes, in nebulization protocols