Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell

Shelter Dogs  

Maddie's® Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell


Rabbits

After dogs and cats, rabbits are the third most common species that we see in our animal shelters. Unlike our canine and feline residents, rabbits are a prey species and have evolved to escape predators. This has implications for all aspects of their care, including handling and restraint. They are built for tremendous bursts of speed, with high muscle mass on lightweight skeleton. In turn, they are at greater risk for skeletal injury if handled improperly. Similarly, as fleeing is their primary defense mechanism, they are generally more comfortable when their feet are touching a surface. These characteristics of the species should not dissuade shelter staff from handling rabbits. Rather, keeping these things in mind should help to facilitate understanding of the species’ needs and the reasons behind handling and restraint techniques.

Step-By-Step Basic Rabbit Handling Guide