Bunny admitted after cat attack

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

An eastern cottontail rabbit was the 83 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida last week.

Staff performs an exam on a eastern cottontail to assess the damage sustained in a cat attack.

The young eastern cottontail was admitted after being attacked by a cat. The rabbit was badly injured and sustained a large laceration that spanned from the left shoulder to the rabbit’s abdomen. The only fortunate part of this situation was that the wound was fresh which made surgery a possibility.

As with the osprey, our vet immediately prepped the rabbit for surgery. The laceration was sutured and the rabbit was alert and responsive within a few minutes of the anesthesia wearing off.

The rabbit required an antibiotic, several pain medications, an anti-inflammatory and Chinese herbs. Daily wound checks have shown the laceration is healing nicely. The rabbit is extremely reactive and behaviorally is showing hospital staff it is ready for release but it will still be a few days before staff is confident the rabbit is ready to go.

A young cottontail receives oxygen after undergoing surgery to suture a laceration caused by a cat attack. The sutures run from the rabbit’s shoulder all the way to its abdomen.

How You can Help

Please, if you are a cat owner, monitor your cat if it is allowed outdoors. This is the time of year when so many animals are raising their young. Nestling rabbits and songbirds are easy, helpless prey for roaming cats.

Keeping cats indoors is safer for cats as well. Cats that are allowed to roam can be hit by cars, attacked by predators and exposed to diseases. Many wildlife injuries and deaths could be prevented if the number of cats allowed to roam unattended was reduced.

Recent Releases — 21 Animals Returned Home

  • 2 gopher tortoises
  • 2 royal terns
  • 2 peninsula cooters
  • 1 northern mockingbird
  • 1 anhinga
  • 2 ospreys
  • 5 eastern cottontails
  • 1 eastern screech owl
  • 2 mourning doves
  • 1 red-bellied turtle
  • 1 gray squirrel
  • 1 broad-winged hawk

Opportunities to Help

Please visit the Conservancy’s Facebook page to view more photos of Hector and Conservancy volunteers re-nesting the great horned owl. Learn about all of the amazing volunteer opportunities at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida at our website at www.conservancy.org. Your volunteer time, as well as memberships and donations, are vital in helping us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.

Want to help wildlife?

Joanna Fitzgerald is director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Call 239–262–2273 or see conservancy.org.