20 Plants that are Poisonous to Rabbits

Rabbits have an insatiable appetite for exploration, which often leads them into dangerous territory when toxic plants are within reach. From sunny daffodils to shady foxgloves, many common flowers and ornamentals can be lethal with just a small taste. Even veggies like tomatoes and potatoes have poisonous parts that can kill a curious bunny within hours. Don’t let your rabbit become a grim statistic. Read on to discover the 20 most toxic plants to rabbits and how to prevent a fatal mishap. You’ll learn to recognize the symptoms of poisoning and exactly what to do if you suspect your rabbit has ingested one of these deadly plants. Quick action could save your pet’s life. Arm yourself with knowledge before disaster strikes.

What to do if you believe your rabbit has eaten a poisonous substance

If you suspect your rabbit has ingested something poisonous, it is important to act quickly. Rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems and can become sick or even die from eating toxic plants or other substances. Here are some steps to take if poisoning is suspected:

  • Remain calm but act swiftly. Time is critical when dealing with a potential poisoning.

  • Identify the poisonous substance if possible. Try to find any remaining leaves, stems, or berries that the rabbit could have eaten. Take a photo or sample if you can safely do so.

  • Contact an emergency vet immediately. Let them know you believe your rabbit may have ingested a toxic plant or substance. Provide any details you have.

  • While waiting to get to the vet, you can induce vomiting by giving the rabbit 1-2 teaspoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide by mouth with a syringe (no needle). This may help eliminate some of the toxin if given shortly after ingestion.

  • Transport the rabbit to the vet clinic right away. Bring any samples or photos of the plant. Time is vital when treating poisoning.

  • Follow any first aid directions given by your vet. Treatment may include activated charcoal, intravenous fluids, muscle relaxers, or other medications.

  • Monitor the rabbit closely over the next 24 hours for symptoms of poisoning like drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or lethargy. Call the vet immediately if you notice anything abnormal.

  • Eliminate access to any poisonous plants in the rabbit's environment to prevent future accidents. Rabbits love to nibble so be sure to "bunny-proof" their space.

  • Schedule any follow up care recommended by your veterinarian. Some toxins can cause lasting liver or kidney damage.

By acting quickly and seeking prompt veterinary treatment, many rabbits can recover fully after ingesting toxic substances. But do not wait to see if symptoms develop – always contact a vet immediately if poisoning is even suspected.

1. Nightshade

All parts of nightshade plants, including the berries, are toxic to rabbits. Nightshade species include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tobacco. The toxic compounds are solanine and nicotine. Just a few leaves or berries can be fatal to a rabbit. Symptoms usually appear within a few hours and include:

  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Never allow rabbits access to garden areas or lawn clippings where nightshades grow. Many types are very attractive berries that rabbits may be tempted to eat. Seek emergency vet care immediately if ingestion is suspected. There is no home treatment for nightshade poisoning. However, the quicker treatment can begin, the better the prognosis. There are sometimes lasting effects even if the rabbit recovers. Avoid feeding rabbits any type of nightshade plant or trimmings.

2. Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are a common ornamental shrub grown in many gardens. The showy flowers can be pink, blue, or purple. However, all parts of these plants contain a toxic compound called hydragin that can cause poisoning in rabbits if ingested. Just a few leaves can be very dangerous. Signs of hydrangea poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trembling
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Hydrangea poisoning can lead to blood clotting disorders and kidney failure. Immediate vet care is necessary. There is no home treatment. Prevent access to any hydrangea plants and be careful not to give rabbits clippings. Supervise outdoor time and do not allow rabbits to graze in gardens where hydrangeas are present. Prompt treatment greatly improves the chances of recovery but it is still a very serious poisoning.

3. Chrysanthemum

Though lovely in flower beds and bouquets, chrysanthemums can be highly toxic to pet rabbits. Ingestion of any parts of the plants – leaves, stems, flowers – can cause poisoning symptoms. Compounds called pyrethrins attack the nervous system, digestive tract, and liver. Signs may include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, sometimes bloody
  • Abdominal pain
  • Trembling
  • Seizures
  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Coma

Death can occur from both liver and respiratory failure. There is no effective home treatment. Immediately call your vet if your rabbit eats any part of a chrysanthemum plant. The sooner treatment begins, the better the chance of survival. Prevent access to gardens where mums are grown. Be aware that many bouquets and floral arrangements may contain toxic chrysanthemum blooms or foliage as well.

4. Lilies

Though beautiful, lilies are very toxic to rabbits. All parts of the plant are dangerous if eaten, including the leaves, flowers, pollen, and even the water in a vase holding lilies. Even small ingestions can cause irreversible kidney failure. Poisoning symptoms generally start within a few hours and include:

  • Apparent abdominal pain
  • Refusing food or water
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Trembling
  • Seizures
  • Death

There is sadly no effective home treatment for lily poisoning. Immediate vet care is imperative but even with aggressive therapy, the prognosis is grave. The mortality rate often exceeds 75%. Prevent any possible exposure by keeping lilies well out of reach. Never allow rabbits around floral arrangements containing lilies. Any ingestion warrants an emergency trip to the vet clinic.

5. Cannabis

Marijuana toxicity can occur in pet rabbits who ingest cannabis plants. All forms of the plant contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is toxic to rabbits. Leaves or trimmed stems are the most likely source, though cannabis edibles can also pose a risk. Signs of THC poisoning include:

  • Lethargy
  • Reluctance to move
  • Lack of coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low body temperature
  • Urine retention
  • Possible seizures or coma

THC is rapidly absorbed so symptoms often start within an hour of ingestion. There is no antidote or home treatment. Supportive vet care includes IV fluids, monitoring vital signs, and preventing seizures. Prognosis is generally good with prompt treatment. Prevent any possible exposure to cannabis plants, edibles, or smoked materials. Seek vet care immediately if poisoning is suspected.

6. Onion

All forms of onion are toxic to rabbits – raw, cooked, dried, or powdered. The compounds involved damage red blood cells leading to a dangerous reduction in their oxygen carrying capacity. Symptoms may not appear for several days after ingestion. They include:

  • Pale gums
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Collapse
  • Brown or reddish urine

Onion poisoning can cause severe anemia and even death. There is no home treatment. Supportive vet care may include IV fluids, blood transfusions, oxygen therapy, and medications to limit oxidation damage. Prevent access to any foods containing onions, which are common in many homes. Seek immediate veterinary treatment if onion poisoning is suspected so the doctor can monitor for red blood cell damage.

7. Poppy

Ornamental poppies contain toxic compounds called alkaloids that can cause poisoning symptoms if rabbits ingest the plants. All parts are dangerous, including the leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots. Signs appear rapidly and include:

  • Excessive urination
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Respiratory depression
  • Pupil dilation
  • Coma
  • Death

Supportive veterinary care is needed right away. Try to identify the specific poppy the rabbit ate as some species are more toxic than others. Prevent grazing in areas where poppies grow. Their attractive flowers and interesting seed pods appeal to curious rabbits. Prompt treatment is vital for recovery as the toxins act swiftly. Careful monitoring and follow up is needed even after initial improvement.

8. Hemlock

Hemlock contains several toxic alkaloids that affect the nervous system, digestive tract, and muscles. Rabbits may ingest the leaves, stems, roots, or seeds. All plant parts are very poisonous. Symptoms appear within a few hours and include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Trembling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapsing
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Hemlock poisoning carries a grave prognosis as there is no antidote and the toxins act rapidly. Supportive veterinary care focuses on controlling seizures, regulating heart rate, and preventing aspiration. Prevention is key – never allow rabbits access to areas where hemlock grows. Seek emergency treatment immediately if ingestion occurs to try to limit toxin absorption.

9. Potato plants

While the potato itself is not toxic, the green shoots, leaves, and stems of the potato plant contain dangerous glycoalkaloids that can be very poisonous if eaten by rabbits. Just a few mouthfuls can lead to digestive and nervous system disorders. Symptoms often begin within a few hours and include:

  • Confusion
  • Trembling
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of balance
  • Dilation of pupils
  • Respiratory failure
  • Coma
  • Death

Potato plant poisoning requires immediate veterinary treatment to clear the toxins and provide supportive care. Prognosis depends on how much plant material was ingested. Try to prevent access to gardens where potatoes are growing. Never feed rabbits potato plants or trimmings. Seek emergency vet care if any part of the plant is eaten to maximize chances of recovery.

10. Rhododendron

With their showy blooms, rhododendrons are a popular flowering shrub. However, they contain toxic compounds called grayanotoxins that affect the nervous system, heart rate, and digestion. Severe poisoning can occur if rabbits ingest the leaves, flowers, or woody parts of these ornamental plants. Symptoms often start within a few hours and include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness and paralysis
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Coma
  • Death

Supportive veterinary care is needed immediately and may include IV fluids, oxygen therapy, electrolyte monitoring, and medications to stabilize heart rate and blood pressure. Prevent access to both outdoor rhododendrons and cut flowers brought indoors. Prognosis depends on the amount ingested and how soon treatment begins. Some rabbits suffer lasting kidney or heart damage.

11. Tomato plants

While ripe tomatoes are fine for rabbits, the leaves, vines, and green unripe fruit of tomato plants contain toxic compounds called glycoalkaloids. Ingestion can cause serious digestive and nervous system disorders. Symptoms usually appear within a few hours and include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Muscle trembling
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excess salivation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Tomato plant poisoning requires prompt veterinary care to treat symptoms and clear toxins from the body. Intravenous fluids, pain medication, oxygen support, and seizure control may be needed. Prevent access to gardens where tomatoes are growing. Do not feed rabbits trimmings. Seek emergency treatment immediately if any part of the plant is eaten to maximize chances of recovery.

12. Iris

The iris plant contains irritant compounds that can cause significant gastric distress if ingested by rabbits. All parts are toxic, including the leaves, flowers, and roots. Just a small amount can trigger symptoms including:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Painful abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, sometimes with blood
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Dehydration

Supportive veterinary care focuses on controlling nausea, restoring fluid levels, and preventing gut damage. Prognosis is generally good with prompt treatment. However, liver or kidney issues can arise in severe cases. Never allow rabbits to nibble iris plants. Seek emergency vet care if any part is ingested so damage can be limited and symptoms treated.

13. Daffodil

Daffodils contain toxic alkaloids that cause severe gastric upset along with heart and nervous system effects. All parts are dangerous, including the bulb, leaves, and flowers. Eating even a few can cause poisoning. Symptoms often begin within an hour and include:

  • Drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Muscle tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Coma

Daffodil poisoning can be fatal without swift veterinary treatment. Stabilizing blood pressure and heart rate are initial priorities. Preventing access and prompt care are key. Do not allow rabbits to graze where daffodils are growing. Seek emergency vet care immediately if any part is ingested so damage can be limited.

14. Ivy

Ornamental ivies such as English ivy contain triterpene saponins that irritate the digestive tract. Rabbits may eat the leaves, stems, berries or roots leading to symptoms including:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Blood in feces or vomit
  • Trembling
  • Possible liver damage

Poisoning varies based on the amount ingested. All parts of ivy plants are toxic. Supportive veterinary care can help prevent dehydration, stop gut contraction, and limit absorption of toxins from the GI tract. Prevent access to prevent poisoning and seek prompt treatment if it occurs. Removing plant pieces from the mouth can help. Rinsing out the mouth may limit some absorption.

15. Hyacinth

Hyacinth bulbs and flowers contain poisonous alkaloids and glycosides. All parts of the plant can cause toxicity if eaten. Just 1-2 leaves or flowers may trigger a reaction. Symptoms often start in 30 minutes and include:

  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slow heart rate
  • Respiratory distress
  • Possible seizures
  • Death

Hyacinth poisoning is very serious and requires emergency veterinary care to try to stabilize heart and respiratory function and prevent toxin absorption. Exact treatment depends on symptoms shown and how much plant material was ingested. Prevent access to avoid poisoning and seek immediate care if it occurs.

16. Rhubarb

The green leaves of rhubarb contain oxalates that cause poisoning symptoms by irritating the digestive tract and depleting calcium levels. Rabbits should only eat the red stalk portions. Symptoms of leaf poisoning include:

  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Kidney damage

Supportive veterinary care focuses on calming digestive upset and restoring calcium levels. Prognosis is generally good if treated promptly. Prevent access to the rhubarb plant itself – only offer the red stalk portions. Seek emergency care if leaves are ingested to halt toxin absorption and limit lasting damage.

17. Foxglove

Foxglove contains cardiac glycosides that affect heart muscle and electrical conduction. All parts are toxic. Ingestion causes digestive upset along with dangerous heart arrhythmias. Symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Slow or irregular pulse
  • Muscle tremors
  • Heart palpitations
  • Possibly fatal cardiac arrest

Foxglove poisoning is a medical emergency requiring swift veterinary intervention. Treatment focuses on stabilizing heart rate and rhythm. Prevent access and seek immediate care if ingestion occurs before life-threatening symptoms develop. Careful follow up is needed as some cardiac changes can persist.

18. Buttercup

Buttercups contain ranunculin and protoanemonin, compounds that cause severe gastrointestinal irritation when ingested. The stems, leaves and flowers are all toxic. Just mouthing or swallowing a few parts can trigger symptoms like:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Painful mouth or throat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, sometimes bloody
  • Abdominal pain
  • Reduced appetite
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Dark urine

Supportive veterinary care includes IV fluids, anti-inflammatories, and medications to control vomiting and diarrhea. Prevent access to buttercups growing in fields or gardens. Seek treatment promptly if ingestion occurs to limit damage to the digestive tract. Full recovery takes several days in most cases.

19. Yew

Yew plants contain toxic alkaloids called taxines that affect the nervous system and heart muscle. All plant parts are poisonous. Just nibbling a few leaves or stems can be fatal. Symptoms often develop within an hour and include:

  • Excess drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle tremors
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Yew poisoning is life-threatening, requiring emergency veterinary intervention. Toxin absorption must be limited and heart rate stabilized. Cautious monitoring is needed even after

Reference:
https://rabbitbreeders.us/articles/poisonous-plants/

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