This Animal Welfare Foundation three-part video tutorial is from expert veterinary staff demonstrating the correct procedures for handling small mammals for clinical examination and medication. Its aim is to show that the primary consideration should be for the the welfare of the animal. This video guide will show you practical animal handling for a rabbit.
The techniques used to handle small mammals vary slightly with each species, however many of the general principles are the same. When handling all small mammals, a firm but gentle approach is advisable. This tutorial will outline recommended techniques for handling rabbits. The adoption of these techniques will help to minimize stress for the animals and help reduce the risk of bite injuries to the handler.
It is important that animals are aware of the handler's presence before attempting to restrain them, particularly if the animal is initially asleep. This will reduce stress for the animal and help to avoid bite injuries.
Handling and Restraint:
Rabbits are especially susceptible to the effects of stress and should always be approached in a calm and confident manner.
The handler is restraining the rabbit firmly by the scruff with the other hand ready to support the animal's hindquarters.
The rabbit should be held its head tucked under the handler's arm and with the back and hindquarters supported by the handler's forearms.
The second video clip shows the correct methods for handling and restraint in the rabbit.
Handling for Injection:
The third video clip shows the correct injection techniques for a rabbit.
Rabbits may also be restrained for injection by wrapping the animal in a drape or towel. If the rabbit is securely wrapped, it will not struggle.
Intravenous injections into the rabbit's marginal ear vein can be readily made if the rabbit is restrained with a drape.
These videos were made by the AHWLA (Assessing the Health and Welfare of Laboratory Animals).