Diarrhea In Rabbits: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Diarrhea In Rabbits

Diarrhea is a common illness that animals and humans can experience. Even your rabbit can be diagnosed with this easily because they have a more sensitive digestive system than other pets such as dogs and cats. 

A slight change in their nutrition can trigger diarrhea, so you need to understand what causes rabbit diarrhea and what you should do in situations like this. The Veterinary Center of America (VCA Animal hospital) reported that this could put your rabbits in great danger if not treated early.  

There are plenty of reasons your pet gets diarrhea, many of which vary depending on their lifestyle, diet, or the people taking care of them. 

Although most species can be diagnosed with diarrhea, the causes and effects of it may differ when it comes to your rabbit. 

According to the House Rabbit Society, pets like dogs and humans can frequently experience diarrhea because of their cells’ decreased ability to convert chemical energy. However, it is the opposite for the rabbit. Too much increase in nutrients they receive in their body can lead to diarrhea. 

With that, you also have to consider the possibility or even the fact that you have to treat diarrhea in your rabbit differently. 

Understanding Diarrhea

You will easily identify diarrhea by looking at your rabbit’s poop. It has a loose and watery texture in rabbit stool formed due to the disruption in the digestive system

One of the common reasons for rabbits to have poor digestion is because of what you feed them. Nutrients are important for rabbits; they mostly get their energy from the fiber they acquire in grass hays. 

Once your rabbit starts eating the food, its digestive system continuously converts the nutrients into energy and distributes them throughout its body. Now, if your rabbit is fed food high in carbohydrates or starch, which is unsuitable for its body, its motility will increase. 

Before you understand what rabbit diarrhea is, you have to know more about the type of feces it will produce. 

Rabbits have two types of feces: Cecotropes and Fecal Pellets.


Cecotropes are a type of stool that your rabbit will normally eat. You don’t have to worry about this habit because they do it for their good. They are acquiring additional nutrients from the poop they didn’t get the first time they ate it. Your rabbit’s digestive system has a big role in making cecotropes nutritious for your rabbit.  

In other words, the rabbits need to digest their food twice by eating cecotropes. That is why you should not be surprised if you see your bunny eating what seems to be poop.

Fecal Pellets

Conversely, fecal pellets are the normal poop that rabbits excrete. They are not as nutritious as the cecotropes because they are made from excess food waste from your rabbit’s body. 

In some cases, if you see what might seem to be rabbit diarrhea, this may be unformed cecotropes or fecal pellets that look oddly similar to the watery stool we have when we are suffering from the usual type of diarrhea. 

You need to understand that rabbit diarrhea differs from unformed rabbit poop. Rabbit diarrhea has a more watery texture and sometimes has mucus surrounding the poop after excreting it. To make sure that your rabbit is suffering from diarrhea, you can schedule a visit to your pet’s doctor and do some stool tests so your rabbit will be treated early. 

Common Causes

The causes of rabbit diarrhea are varied and different depending on the type of rabbit you have, their lifestyle, and the diet that they eat.

Nevertheless, there is still a list of common causes that may trigger your rabbit to be diagnosed with diarrhea. Here are some of these:

  • Bacterial or viral infections –  common culprits that can easily cause diarrhea or loose stools in your rabbits.
  • Parasitic infections – if your rabbit is suffering from internal parasites, there is a chance that these parasites are messing up and affecting your pet’s bowel movement and will cause runny stool.
  • Ingestion of toxins and other harmful substances – if your rabbit ingests something toxic to its body, its digestive system will react differently and cause diarrhea.
  • Improper Nutrition – The rabbit needs to be fodder in a rich amount of fiber. If you don’t plan your diet, it may lead to improper nutrition for your pet and might upset their stomach.
  • Poor Transition of Food – introducing new food to rabbits is crucial in their digestive system because some food’s nutrients are unsuitable for their body. Forcing them to eat fruits and veggies immediately can lead to digestive disruption. 

Treatment and Prevention

Schedule Meal Time and Plan their Diet

One way to prevent your rabbit from getting diarrhea is to have a meal plan. Such as having a scheduled meal time. This will help you track if your rabbit is eating and receiving the right nutrition. You can also see if they poop and the texture if it is of good quality.

Another thing is to have a good diet for them. Fodder them with timothy hay and alfalfa grass because it is rich in fiber that will improve their digestion. Although you can also offer your rabbit foods such as fruits and vegetables as a rewarding treat, be careful about what kind of food you make them eat because some of it is not suitable for their body. 

Read More: The Definitive Guide To What Foods Rabbits Can & Cannot Eat

Take a fecal sample of the rabbit’s Diarrhea.

If you suspect your rabbit has diarrhea, collecting a sample of its fecal matter is an important step in treating it. This will help you, and the doctor determines the root cause of why they have a watery stool. You can put a generous amount of your pet stool in a closed container and submit it to the doctor’s laboratory.

After examining the fecal matter, the vet will prescribe the necessary treatment and medication for diarrhea.

Keep your rabbit hydrated.

One thing that you should do is to make sure that your rabbit is hydrated and has access to clean and fresh water. Study shows that Diarrhea can cause dehydration for your rabbit pet. That is because their body will keep pushing out the liquids; hence, rabbits will become dehydrated. 


  • Like any other animal, your rabbit can also be diagnosed with diarrhea. The reason may vary depending on their lifestyle, diet, or the people caring for them.
  • You can easily identify if your rabbit has diarrhea. Look at their poop; if it appears watery or has mucus surrounding the stool, they will most likely be diagnosed with it. In this situation, visit your vet immediately because diarrhea greatly risks your rabbit’s health. 
  • There are two types of stool that your rabbit can produce.
    • The first is cecotrope, which they normally eat to get additional nutrients.
    • And second is the fecal pellet, which is just a normal waste in their body. 
  • Common causes of diarrhea are bacterial infection, parasitic infection, ingestion of toxic chemicals, improper nutrition, and poor transitioning of food. 
  • Treatment and prevention are important for your rabbit to avoid further problems with diarrhea.
    • One of the things you can do is schedule a meal time and plan your rabbit’s diet. 
    • Second, take a fecal sample to submit to your vet so they can properly diagnose the problem. 
    • And lastly, always keep your rabbit hydrated because dehydration is one of the effects of diarrhea.

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