Poisoning with Heavy Metal in Rabbits



Your rabbit will need inpatient hospitalization, especially if it is having seizures or is severely weak and requires supportive care. If it is a mild toxicity and your rabbit is stable and eating on its own, outpatient treatment for may be sufficient. In either case, electrolyte fluid will be provided to balance your rabbit's body fluids, and drugs will be administered to relieve slow motility of the digestive system, speed up the excretion of lead, and to neutralize the effects of the lead before they can do severe damage to the system.


If there are actual lead based contents present in the body, surgery may be necessary for the removal of the objects from the gastrointestinal tract. Drugs can also be used to manage seizures, if they are present. Your veterinarian will advise you on whether you will need to administer any treatments at home, such as injections.


Living and Management


It is important to determine the source of the lead. If the lead has been traced to something in the home, and especially if it is found in the home materials, you may need to notify your city or state public health officials. In addition, make sure your rabbit continues to eat during and following treatment. Encourage oral fluid intake by offering fresh water, wetting leafy vegetables, or flavoring water with vegetable juice, and offer a large selection of fresh, moistened greens such as cilantro, romaine lettuce, parsley, carrot tops, dandelion greens, spinach, collard greens, and good-quality grass hay.


If your rabbit refuses these foods, you will need to syringe feed a gruel mixture until it can eat again on its own. Unless your veterinarian has specifically advised it, do not feed your rabbit high-carbohydrate, high-fat nutritional supplements.