Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Poisoning: overview

Contributor(s): Lesa Thompson, Lesa Longley, Richard Saunders


  • Poisons may be introduced into the body via a number of routes:
    • Oral ingestion.
    • Inhalation.
    • Skin contact.
  • Rabbits are relatively resistant to poisoning due to their cautious nature, which makes it rare for them to ingest foreign material, especially in large quantities. 
  • They do not generally eat bait left out for pest species, and as herbivores will not ingest prey species that have succumbed to poisons, therefore it is relatively rare to encounter poisoning in the rabbit.
  • They may ingest toxic plants (although rabbits appear resistant to many plants toxic to other species), or vegetation contaminated deliberately or accidentally with poisons. 
  • Their lack of vomiting capability reduces their natural ability to rid themselves of ingested toxins.

Ingested toxins

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Craig A M, Karchesy J J, Blythe L L et al (2004) Toxicity studies on western juniper oil (Juniperus occidentalis) and Port-Orford-cedar oil (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) extracts utilizing local lymph node and acute dermal irritation assays. Toxicol Lett 154 (3), 217-224 PubMed.
  • Mølck A M & Friis C (1997) The cytotoxic effect of paraquat to isolated renal proximal tubular segments from rabbits. Toxicology 122 (1-2), 123-132 PubMed.
  • Byrd R A, Markham J K & Emmerson J L (1995) Developmental toxicity of dinitroaniline herbicides in rats and rabbits. I: Trifluralin. Fundamental and Applied Toxicology 26 (2), 181-190 PubMed.
  • Neuschl J & Kacmár P (1993) Acute oral toxicity of bentazon, an herbicide developed in Czechoslovakia, in pheasants and rabbits and the clinical symptoms of poisoning]. Vet Med (Praha) 38 (2), 115-121 PubMed.
  • Rosenkrantz H, Grant R J, Fleischman R W et al (1986) Marihuana-induced embryotoxicity in the rabbit. Fundam Appl Toxicol (2), 236-243 PubMed
  • Taylor G J (1975) Cardias arrhythmias in hypoxic rabbits during aerosol propellant inhalation. Arch Environ Health 30 (7), 349-352 PubMed.
  • Vlcková A, Takác L & Urbánková (1975) Rat and rabbit response (in relation to age) to inhalation of automobile exhaust fumes. Sci Total Environ (3), 311-315 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Saunders R A & Rees Davies R (2005) Notes on Rabbit Internal Medicine. Blackwell Publishing.
  • Hugget C (2004) Poisonous Plants. In: Rabbiting On (Spring edn). Rabbit Welfare Association.
  • Richardson V (2003) Russel and Gertys Guide to Dangerous Plants. Supreme Petfoods, Hants.