Palpating a rabbit - what am I feeling?
Hi, I have a question. My rabbit is a dwarf rabbit. So I'm not sure it is pregnant or not. I tried to check its belly, I can feel something like a grape shape. So am I feeling its baby head or just its bone? I'm afraid.
I'm assuming you have reason to think your doe rabbit is pregnant, like, you bred her with a buck. Plus, sounds like you've done a bit of homework about rabbits and pregnancies, meaning, you know how to palpate the doe, but aren't quite sure what you're feeling.
Palpation is usually carried out around day 10-12, At this stage of pregnancy, each baby is approximately the size of a grape.
If you were to palpate a non-pregnant doe, you'd feel the soft insides of her abdomen, but would not feel any distinct structures. If you carefully palpated deeper and along her midline, say, near her backbone, you might feel the hard marbles that are her hard droppings. These are definitely hard, poo-sized (smaller than grapes), and lined up right down the middle.
The doe's womb is divided into two "horns." Each of these horns can contain babies. The grape-sized lumps that you're feeling for consist of the whole 'baby-package' -- the membrane sac that holds it all, the amniotic fluid, the placenta, and the baby. Because of all the fluid and membranes around the baby, it is very unlikely that a careful palpation will harm the babies, especially at day 10-12, so you don't have to be too afraid. :-)
In a dwarf rabbit, we imagine you could feel up to 6 grape-like lumps in their various spots along the uterus horns. Each lump is a single baby. Depending where in the horns are the little 'grapes' you're feeling, you are likely to feel them close to your fingertips, wide from the mid-line, and more toward the sides of her belly.
Hope this helps, Nisha, and we hope you enjoy your new litter of rabbits.