Just like humans, you can evaluate the health of a rabbit from its pee. And one of the most concerning things that first-time rabbit owners experience is seeing the bright yellow pee of their pets. Is there something wrong with a rabbit with bright yellow pee, or is this just normal?
Bright yellow pee is nothing to be worried about. This is normal rabbit urine. According to experts, healthy rabbit pee can vary in color from clear to bright yellow or bright orange. Sometimes, it can be brown or deep red. Therefore, if you see bright urine, then you don’t need to worry.
What normal rabbit does pee look like?
Ideally, rabbit pee is a shade of yellow, but there is no specific color to say that it’s healthy rabbit pee. This is because rabbit pee changes color almost constantly, and this is because of many factors, including hydration, diet, and stress. All these affect the appearance, color, and consistency of pee.
You can guarantee that as long as your rabbit’s pee is clear, it’s healthy, and you have nothing to worry about. Meanwhile, chalky or cloudy rabbit urine in any color or shade means that the rabbit has too much calcium in its blood. Also, red urine is rarely about blood, while pink urine or urine with specks of red color can be hematuria.
Take note that your rabbit’s urine must not change color regularly. If it’s yellow today, then there’s no reason it could become red tomorrow and vice versa. Also, you must focus more on the consistency of the urine rather than the color. Urine must be clear and must be easily passed by your rabbit.
Cloudy pee is a way that your rabbit is telling you that it has very high calcium levels in its blood. You are likely feeding it too much calcium too. If you notice this early and you act fast, you can still stop this by modifying your pet’s diet. And if you ignore cloudy pee, then this will soon become very cloudy, chalky, and sludgy, and this means it’s too late, and your rabbit’s kidney may already be damaged.
If the urine is red, then you must not be too worried. Maybe the first thing that may come to your mind is that this could be blood, but this is usually not the case with rabbits. Red urine may be due to pigmentation coming from your rabbit’s bladder.
Usually, the only way that pet owners notice the color of their pet’s urine is by seeing unusual colors of urine inside the rabbit’s litter box. If you see urine in a weird color for a prolonged time, then this is the time to take your pet to the vet. But if the change comes regularly, then you have nothing to worry about.
Different Rabbit Urine Color
Here is a chart of the most common rabbit pee color to check out.
- Bright yellow pee – this color is the closest to regular rabbit urine. This color means that the rabbit is healthy; it’s drinking and eating properly and has no health issues. The pee may not smell nice, but the color is common. But don’t worry if the color continues to be bright yellow because this will eventually change depending on your pet’s diet.
- Milky yellow pee – milky or cloudy yellow means that your pet has high calcium levels in the blood. This is a symptom or a warning of early calciuria. Rabbit pee may also be milky white. If you spot this color and consistency, change your pet’s diet. If your rabbit eats a lot of alfalfa hay, then switch its diet to timothy hay or meadow hay. Stop giving your pet spinach or lettuce because these are very high in calcium. Talk to your vet regarding nutritious food for your pet that’s low in calcium.
- Red pee – red pee is not related to blood. When there is blood in urine, it is too tiny to see, and you need to look very hard. Red urine is due to the pigments that are produced by the bladder. There are foods and plants which can stimulate the production of these pigments. Some other reasons for red pee are the use of antibiotics, sudden exposure to cold weather, and stress. But if you see red pee for many days, then you must take it to the vet.
- Pink pee – pink urine is a sign that there is blood in the rabbit’s pee. Blood that’s diluted in the urine causes pink urine. Usually, blood comes from something that your pet ate. For instance, eating strawberries and cranberries can lead to pink urine. Also, excessive calcium can lead to pink urine in rabbits.
- Brown pee – Brown urine is also caused by bladder pigments. If the color is deep brown or with a rusty color brown, then it may also be due to excessive bladder pigments. Check if your pet is not constipated. If there is a blockage in the intestines, poop will eventually back up.
- Orange pee – as with other animals, orange pee means that the rabbit is dehydrated. Always check if your pet is taking enough water. As the rabbit becomes more dehydrated, their urine becomes more and more concentrated, and this further intensifies the shade of the urine. If the rabbit is dehydrated, yellow urine will become orange. Also, pigments produced by the bladder can cause orange color urine.
- White pee – transparent urine means that your pet is drinking a lot of water. If water consumption is not too excessive, then it’s okay. But if you see your pet drinking time and again, then there may be kidney problems present.
We recommend using white litter in the litter box so you can better check the color and the consistency of the urine.
Some rabbit owners describe their pet’s urine as sludgy. Again, this is a sign of calciuria or excessive calcium. This condition must be treated right away because this condition is dangerous to rabbits.
When rabbits take in calcium or eat food rich in calcium, then the kidneys filter the calcium. If there is excess, then this is passed to the urine. Just like humans, rabbits require calcium to develop stronger bones and teeth, but this is only in very small amounts. If there’s too much calcium, then the mineral will eventually settle inside the body, and this makes the urine very thick like sludge. The very first things to check out are cloudiness with a chalky residue in the liquid.
Once you see sludge-like urine, you can treat this at home using simple dietary changes. Stop its feeding, especially when it’s eating rabbit pellets. Most rabbit pellets are made from alfalfa hay, and this kind of hay is rich in calcium.
If there is alfalfa hay in your rabbit’s cage, remove this and replace this with timothy hay or meadow hay. These kinds are more nutritious and do not contain high amounts of calcium. Take note of any high calcium fruits or veggies you may be giving to your pet. Stop giving spinach, soybeans, kale, and lettuce because these too have high calcium content. You may also feed these sparingly and never combine two kinds of veggies in one serving.
You must encourage exercise because this will help boost kidney health. Exercise and other physical activity can help the kidney work better and filter out calcium better. Doing these will help prevent damage to the gastrointestinal system.
By following these simple techniques, your pet’s sludgy urine will eventually return to normal. But if the calciuria is too severe, then your pet’s pee may already turn into very hard crystals inside its body. Urine with high calcium content can cause bladder stones and cystitis or inflammation of the kidneys.
If a rabbit has bladder stones, then expect this to be very painful. These stones can block the exit of urine, and this will further cause stasis in the rabbit’s body.
Sludgy urine may also be due to dehydration. Not drinking enough water is dangerous to your pet and may even cause life-threatening situations. It’s important to leave a bowl of fresh water inside your pet’s cage always. Fill this up daily or change it to avoid bacteria growth.
Can rabbits have UTI?
Yes, rabbits may also suffer from urinary tract infection, but this is mostly uncommon for rabbits. UTI is common in older rabbits at 3 to 5 years of age. UTI is due to a bacterial infection and can be due to the following factors.
Obesity due to lack of exercise can lead to UTI, and this can happen when your pet rarely leaves the cage or her hutch. Eating a low-fiber diet or a diet of pellets compared to hay can place your pet at risk for UTI. Stress, unsanitary conditions, and the inability to urinate can also cause UTI, and this condition is very painful to pets.
Symptoms of UTI in rabbits include thick and sludgy urine, blood in the urine, incontinence, dribbling of the urine, scalding of the urine, and attempts to urinate that lead to failure. If you spot any of these signs and symptoms, take your pet to the vet right away.
UTI is treated by antibiotics, and the prescribed medication must be taken regularly according to the vet’s prescription. Also, UTI may pose as another symptom for another kind of illness. Your vet will perform a urinalysis and imaging of the bladder and kidneys to rule out different conditions.
Blood tinged urine
The term hematuria is the presence of blood in the urine. This is intact RBC in the urine. To diagnose the condition, you must take a sample of the urine and have this checked at once.
Usually, blood in the urine is due to kidney stones or any injury to the kidneys. It can also be due to bladder stones or the crystallization of urine in the urinary bladder. Blood can also due to blood clots, excessive calcium in the blood, diabetes, cancer, and reproductive organ issues.
If blood is present in the urine and is accompanied by other symptoms like a distended abdomen, bruising in the bladder, oversized bladder, and other symptoms, then you must suspect bladder stones. Treatment may depend on the cause. If blood is due to infection, then your vet may prescribe antibiotics. If there is a more serious condition, then surgery may be needed. Excessive blood in the urine can indicate severe problems, and your pet may need a blood transfusion.
Foul-smelling rabbit urine
Just like any urine, if rabbit urine is left for a longer period, this can produce ammonia. If your pet lives in a small cage, inhaling ammonia can damage its nasal passages. You must remove urine at once and learn how to control the smell.
One way is to spay or neuter your pet. Rabbits that have been spayed or neutered may have weaker smelling pee. Learn to litter train your pet. The litter box must have an absorbent liner, but don’t use scented urine because your pet will likely pee elsewhere because of the strong smell.
Place hay inside the litter box because rabbits usually eat as they pee or poop. You must clean and change the litter inside the litter box daily. But you don’t need to clean the entire hutch daily. Just look for a place where there’s a urine stain and remove this. You must also check under the hay or around the tray because rabbits may miss their target too. What do you use to remove the smell and stain of urine? Use vinegar and water. Mix a cup of vinegar with a bucket of water and use this to scrub and rinse the area. This will remove the stain, scent, and any residue of calcium in the area. Rinse this with plain water and place this under the sun to dry completely before returning this inside the hutch.