These following blogs will be excerpts from the article, written by Dr. Jay E. Hriez, VMD. All credit goes to Dr. Hriez.
See my previous two posts, on Plants Toxic to Rabbits, and Effects of Toxic Plants.
"There are some important questions to discuss regarding toxic plant ingestion. The first is how much of the plant was ingested? Eating a small fragment of a toxic leaf may simply lead to an upset stomach or mild neurological signs. Eating an entire group of leaves may cause severe gastrointestinal upset and ultimately death. The second question is when was the plant ingested?
In general, toxic compounds ingested recently have a longer "window of opportunity", to potentially treat the signs that will follow. If the rabbit consumed the plant hours ago and is exhibiting very serious signs of illness, the chance of successful treatment decrease dramatically. The third question is what kind of breed is this? While less understoof than dogs or cats, differences between the genetics of certain rabbit breeds may work in their favor or against them if certain plants are ingested. Furthermore, the size of the rabbit makes an enormous difference. A Flemish Giant that ingests an apple seed may be completely fine, while a Netherland Dwarf may be dead an hour later from eating the same seed.
What can you do if you suspect poison plant ingestion by a rabbit? To start, make it a priority to correctly identify the plant. While there is no specific database for rabbit poisons, the ASPCA Poison Control website has a large, searchable database of all plant poisons listed here.
Because rabbits lack the ability to vomit, poison plant ingestion almost always results in some signs being observed. Supportive care is necessary to ensure survival.
Consider subcutaneous fluids for the rabbits with severe stomach upset. Rinse the mouth out with fresh water or saline if a caustic plant is ingested and is causing chemical burns to the mouth or esophagus. Move rabbits to a cool, dark area of your house or barn if they are suffering from seizures after eating the plant. Many rabbits will respond to activated charcoal therapy if the toxic plant is working its way through the gastrointestinal tract. Activated charcoal will bind to the toxic compounds and prevent them from damaging internal organs such as the liver. All veterinarians will have activated charcoal available. Activated charcoal tablets can also be found over the counter in 500 mg table form as well. Please note that you will need to crush these tablets up and suspend them in a liquid in order to administer them to a rabbit. The usual dose is 1 gram per kilogram or 2.2lbs."
Look for tomorrow's article, Prevention and Observation of Toxic Plants in Rabbits.