Taking care of a rabbit is a more challenging task than what everyone thinks. From planning their diet, keeping them clean, vaccinating, and caring about their health. This is to ensure that they will live a long and happy life without experiencing problems and risks.
According to the study titled Standards of Care in the 21st Century: The Rabbit, how the owner providing the right medical assistance and ideal diet improves the lifespan of their rabbit pet. It is crucial to know the common risks that can threaten the rabbit’s life so that you will know the causes and treatment that you need to provide them.
Information on herebunny.com is written with proper research to provide readers with knowledge. All information is intended for general information only about Rabbit’s health, wellness, and related topics.
The website’s content and links connected do not constitute professional medical advice. The diagnosis and treatment provided on this blog are not meant to replace veterinarians and other health care professionals.
You should not rely on the information from this site nor replace medical expert advice. If you or anybody else experiences medical concerns regarding your rabbit’s welfare or health, consult your local and trusted Veterinarian immediately.
Taking care of rabbits is the responsibility o every pet owner. They are vulnerable and sensitive animals. That is why the extra effort is necessary to keep them healthy and prolong their life. To better understand your rabbit, you need to have information about them. One of them is knowing the anatomy of your pet.
Anatomy is a branch of science that studies what makes up the species. For example, the body parts, organs, and systems of the body. Having background knowledge will help you know more about rabbits. Ike humans rabbit comprises eyes, nose, lips, mouth, legs, and many more. They also function because of the different body systems, like the reproductive, digestive, and respiratory systems. All these functions work together to help maintain a good lifestyle in rabbits.
Rabbit Common Health Problems
It is known that rabbits’ digestive system works differently from other animals. Since they are classified as herbivore animals, which fodder mostly in grass hays and other greeneries, they tend to experience digestive issues more frequently than other species.
If your rabbit’s daily diet includes the wrong amount of nutrition or they accidentally eat foods that are unsuitable for their metabolism, one common health risk for them is to have diarrhea.
According to the Veterinary Center of America (VCA), diarrheas are often seen in rabbits because of unwanted carbohydrates or starch in their body. This illness can also be life-threatening if left untreated.
If you think your rabbit has diarrhea, provide them with water because it can lead to dehydration. Then afterward, schedule a visit to your pet’s veterinary hospital so the doctors can provide the right treatment and examination to cure your rabbit’s diarrhea.
It’s easy to spot and know if your rabbit is experiencing diarrhea. Look at their poop; if it appears watery or soft in texture, they most likely had the illness.
Common Causes of Diarrhea:
- Bacterial or viral infections– if your rabbit has a viral infection that targets the digestive system, it will have diarrhea because of the bacteria attacking its metabolism function.
- Parasitic infections– parasites like tapeworms can cause common diarrhea in your rabbit. They are commonly found infested in rabbits’ stomachs.
- Ingestion of toxins and other harmful substances– some foods have toxins that can harm your rabbit. Such as chocolate, mushroom, and avocado, wherein if a rabbit accidentally ingests in huge amounts, it will disrupt its digestive function.
- Improper Nutrition-your rabbit needed a lot of fiber from their diet. So if your planned meal for them doesn’t meet the right amount of nutrition their body needs, it will cause diarrhea for your pet.
- Poor Transition of Food– the transition of food is important for your rabbit because it helps them digest and become familiar with new foods and nutrition you are trying to introduce to your pet.
Here is a table of food your rabbit can and cannot eat:
|Safe Foods for Rabbit
|Unsafe Foods for Rabbit
To know more about rabbit food read this article The Definitive Guide To What Foods Rabbits Can & Cannot Eat
Obesity is a common health issue that affects several animals, this includes your rabbit pet. Although some people find a fat rabbit cute and fluffy, as an owner, you need to be aware that this can lead to deeper health issues and underlying diseases.
For rabbits, obesity can result in various adverse effects like heart disease, hepatic lipidosis, or sticky bottom syndrome. Moreover, it is linked to several risk factors, including poor diet, insufficient exercise, and underlying health problems like arthritis. As an owner, you should always consider your rabbit’s health and know when they are sick.
Here is a table that can help you identify if your rabbit is malnourished, normal, or obese. This is called Body Condition Score. The rule here is to touch the side of your rabbit’s body and find the rib bone.
|Body Condition Description
|Rabbit is Emaciated/Malnourished
|The pelvis and ribs are very easily palpated and sharp. Ribs feel like a pocket full of rulers! Concave rump area.
|Rabbit is Lean/ Underweight
|The pelvis and ribs are easily palpated and feel sharp. The rump area is flat.
|Rabbit’s Normal Weight
|Pelvis and ribs are easily palpated but have rounded edges. Ribs feel like a pocket full of pens! The rump area is flat.
|Rabbit is Overweight/ Fat
|Firm palpation is required to feel the ribs. The rump is round to the touch.
|Rabbit is Obese
|It is Hard to palpate the ribs, or ribs cannot be felt. The rump area is convex.
The more edges and roughness you feel from the rabbit’s rib bone, the more your pet might be malnourished and needs an improvement in their diet or medication. However, when you cannot feel any presence of the rib, then your bunny might be obese.
To prevent your rabbit from getting fat, make sure that they have an active lifestyle and regular exercise. Scheduling an activity for them is a good practice that you can do for them. Aside from that, you should also plan a proper diet meal for them to ensure they get just the right amount of nutrition their body needs.
Rabbit malnutrition is one of the common risks that every owner should not overlook. Decreased appetite is the leading reason for weight loss in bunnies. Several reasons can trigger malnutrition. But occasionally, it happens due to gastrointestinal, dental, metabolic, and cancer-related diseases.
Many of those conditions include pain that makes it hard for a rabbit to eat. If not, these health issues involve the accumulation of toxins within the body, which affect vital organs, especially the brain. The accumulated toxins will make your pet feeling not hungry or nauseated. Infectious diseases, particularly the ones associated with the upper respiratory system, make it hard for rabbits to smell foods that contribute to reduced appetite.
If your rabbit is not consuming food, theta also doesn’t get nourishment and energy. Your rabbits are dehydrated if they are not eating or drinking water. Remember, rabbits cannot survive long without eating food. If you think your pet has lost its appetite for a day now, schedule a visit to their vet as soon as possible. The doctor will help you determine the root cause of malnutrition in rabbits.
Infestation in rabbits commonly happens. According to one report, the parasite can get to your rabbit’s body because of contaminated food or a dirty environment. If you have more than two rabbits, it’s best to separate them while curing your infested pet because parasites can easily be transported to nearby animals.
One common parasite that attacks your pet is the Encephalitozoon cuniculi. Some rabbit owners mistake it for a rabbit illness or a health condition. However, this is a microscopic parasite that can potentially infect your rabbit’s kidneys and brain. It can also infect humans at times and may cause harm to animals other than your pet rabbit.
Common Symptoms of Encephalitozoon cuniculi infestation:
- Weight Loss
- Head Tilting
- Neurological Malfunction
- Weakness of legs
- Unable to walk
- Eye Cataract
Lumps in rabbits are distinct and can easily be identified by touching the area of their body lumps. According to the House Rabbit Society, lumps are common swelling or bumps in your rabbit skin for several reasons. This can be due to bacterial infection or a type of cancer in your rabbit. The best way to identify why your rabbit has a lump is to visit your trusted doctor and conduct an examination to provide the right treatment for the lump.
Type of Rabbit Lumps
There are different types of lumps that you can identify with your rabbit.
- Subcutaneous Lumps– lumps or abscesses affect different organs of your rabbit’s body depending on what area they are in. You can find lumps in the subcutaneous part of their bodies, such as in the head. The lumps found on your rabbit heads are usually large and solid.
- Internal Lumps– Some lumps are found in their internal thoracic. Internal abscesses can also be inside your rabbit pet’s uterine or pyometra body part. Meanwhile, abdominal and internal lumps are also quite common among pet rabbits.
- Dental Lumps– Lumps can also be found in your pet’s oral body part. This type of lump is common for rabbits because this happens when your pet has tooth root or decay infections. This kind of infection can easily lead to tearing duct abscesses. To avoid this further dental problem from happening to your pet, visit the veterinary clinic immediately.
It’s important to understand how your rabbit’s digestive system works because almost all of its function depends on how healthy it’s digestion is.
Just like any other species, your rabbit’s digestive primary role is tearing its food intake into tiny enough pieces that can be consumed over the digestive tract barrier. The process allows your pet’s body to separate good nutrition from unwanted content. This also gives nutrition for the pet to work for regular necessities or composition, for example, during lactation, growth, and pregnancy
Parts of Rabbit’s Digestive System
- Mouth– its role is to tear and chew the food into small pieces
- Esophagus– passageway of food intake from mouth to the next part of digestive system
- Stomach– this part has a gastric juice that is essential to melt the food into smaller pieces for easier separation of nutrients in the intestine
- Small Intestine– this is where stocking of good nutrients such as fiber and minerals. The small intestine also processes the distribution of nutrients all throughout the rabbit’s body.
- Large Intestine– contrary to the small intestine, this is the part of the rabbit’s digestive system where the unwanted fats and nutrients are stored. It is connected to the rabbit’s rectum, where food waste is formed as poop.
- Rectum– this part sends a signal to the brain cell of your rabbit if it’s time to excrete food waste from their body. This is also where the formed stool is stored until they are ready for release.
- Anus– the outer layer and part of the rectum. The anus is where rabbit poop directly exits from its body.
Each part of the rabbit’s digestive system has an important role to play for your pet to function and get the nutrients they need. However, there are times that issues occur and can affect a rabbit’s digestion, such as poor activity meal, bacterial infection, or underlying digestive illness.
Other pet owners sometimes see their rabbit vomit after consuming unsuitable food. However, note that rabbits cannot physically vomit. Their body is not designed to throw up food from their stomach. If you see your rabbit vomiting, it can mean that they are choking or have snuffles.
Vomiting rabbits can be quite painful. Sometimes rabbits will force themselves to throw up because of toxins even if they cannot do it. If you think your rabbit is poisoned, bring them to the veterinarian immediately because it will risk their digestive system.
Here are some common signs that your rabbit might be experiencing problems in its digestive system:
- Your rabbit doesn’t want to be disturbed and is not paying attention to you.
- Rabbits may lie down in an awkward position because of the pain from their stomach.
- The rabbit will sometimes grind their teeth due to the stress and pain they are feeling. It happens when their tummies are full of gas. To know if your pets have gas in their tummies, gently touch their bellies.
- Your rabbit poop has a soft and gooey texture because there’s a disruption in their stomach from the food that they eat. This might also lead to diarrhea which can be harmful to your rabbit.
Eyes are an important part of your rabbit’s daily life. This allows them to have a visual of things in their surroundings. They can also do activities such as eating, walking, playing, and avoiding potential harm.
With this in mind, as a rabbit owner taking care of your rabbit’s eye is like taking care of their health because rabbits’ actions depend on what they see in their surroundings.
According to the Winter Park Veterinary Hospital, the eye of the rabbit is more sensitive than the other because they only have one opening in their eyelid, and their eyes are placed near the molar and tooth roots. Therefore, there is a chance that eyes and dental problems can be interconnected. Rabbit snuffles can also cause threats to their sense of vision.
Here are some common eye problems that can occur to your rabbit:
Another term for this eye problem is “pink eye” because the surrounding of the eye appears to be reddish or pink. It is a common infection in rabbits isolated in different causes such as Staphylococcus spp, Mycoplasma spp, and the Pasteurella multocida.
Cataracts can also occur in rabbits. This is a common eye infection because of several factors. For example, poor diet plan, hereditary genes, trauma, accident, and sometimes an infection from bacteria.
However, the common reason for cataracts is because of parasites. If your pet suffers from this eye infection, this irritates and is painful for your pet. Schedule a visit immediately to provide proper treatment and avoid further issues. But in severe cases, It is highly recommended to do surgery to remove the cataract of the rabbit.
Rabbits are known to be a great producer of a sticky and thick cream cheese-like surface discharge within the thick wall abscess. Usually, there is a feeling of pain and swelling of the eyeball of the rabbit. Any chronic infection located around or inside will affect the eye of the rabbit.
This eye problem condition in rabbits is inherited as a somatic demure. It commonly happens to New Zealand rabbits aged between 3 to 6 months. The treatment of glaucoma is described as a very frustrating one. The early signs of this include blindness and generalized corneal edema.
Myxoma virus is the main reason rabbits can suffer from this eye infection The infected rabbit with Myxomatosis may instantly feel very ill, followed by conjunctivitis, loss of appetite, pyrexia, and even lethargy. The mucus layer of different areas of the rabbits, such as its eyes, mouth, nose, and genital areas, becomes inflamed and swollen. The rabbit with this type of infection may die within 14 days if not treated.
This is when the rabbit’s eyes seem to swell out from the globe. Sometimes it is accompanied by blood gathered in the venous sinus or behind the rabbit’s eye. This may have resulted from stress, fear, and glaucoma in rabbits.
It is known as an infection that inflames the nasolacrimal duct of the rabbit. This is accompanied by any dental problems as the teeth of the rabbit are commonly very close to each other. So the infection and inflammation itself may base on the effect of the drainage of the duct itself.
Just like other parts of your rabbit’s body, it’s also important to give extra care to their eyes. Several known infections can affect their vision, leading to deeper health issues threatening their lives.
For peace of mind and to ensure the rabbit’s eye health, don’t be afraid to always seek advice from your veterinarian so that they provide their expertise about the health of your pet rabbit. The vet will also have the necessary equipment to test their vision, prescribe an antibiotic, and conduct possible surgeries on your pet’s eye if they find any health issues in the rabbit’s eye.
Take note that when giving antibiotics to rabbits, ensure that it’s from a doctor’s advice. An antibiotic like amoxicillin is unsuitable for your pet. Each case is different, so various medications will help treat your rabbit eye infection.
Rabbits are known to have cute, fluffy, and long ears. However, it does not exclude them from experiencing problems related to their ear. One of the common issues is ear mites. Although ear mites are common problems for other pets, they should not be overlooked because the treatment requires great effort and time.
A mite is a small arthropod that is so tiny that it is usually less than 0.04 inches in length. Because of how small they are, people commonly distinguish them as dirt inside their rabbit’s ears. But in actuality, the tiny specs that you originally mistook as dirt on your pets are mites that feed on your animals as parasites by consuming blood or possibly skin.
Hasting Veterinary Hospital reported that ear mite infestation should be taken seriously because it can be passed from rabbit to rabbit, especially if they are in the same household.
Here are the clinical signs that your rabbit is suffering from ear mite infestation:
- Excessive scratching in the ear
- Constant shaking of the head and ear
- Hair loss in the surround of the ear
- Sudden Weight Loss
- Lose of Appetite
- Foul Smelling Ear
- They make noises that they are in pain when you touch the rabbit’s ear
- Crusting, and yeast presence inside and the surrounding of the ear
It is important to take note of some testicle problems that can occur to your rabbit, especially if your reason for having a rabbit is breeding. Testes play a huge role in breeding and producing babies since the sperm are formed in testicles.
Here is the list of common rabbit testicle problems you should know:
Cancer in the testicular is common, especially for adults and unneutered male rabbits. Testicular cancer among rabbits does not show many symptoms other than the testicles becoming large and the rabbit beginning to lose weight.
The best way to prevent this common problem is by neutering the rabbit while it is still young. Doing such neutering not only prevents testicular cancer but also helps reduce the aggressive behavior of your rabbit.
Genital Infections or Pasteurellosis
Infections in rabbits’ bodies, including their testes, are usually caused by several different organisms or parasites. If your rabbit has a genital infection, the common signs you can first notice are the inflammation of the rabbit’s reproductive tract, which is typically seen in adult rabbits. When both parts of the rabbit’s uterus are affected and attacked, they frequently become infertile and unsuitable for breeding.
This testicular problem is a genital disease among rabbits caused by a bacteria called Treponema. It commonly occurs in female and male rabbits that transfer during sexual intercourse. In some cases, it can also be transmitted from adult rabbits up to their babies because this carries a hereditary gene. These testicular problems are not transmissible to other domestic animals and humans; they are limited to your rabbit only.
If your rabbit has treponematosis, small blisters will form around its genitals. It is a slow-healing sore that becomes layered with a heavy wound if left untreated. This wound will be painful for your rabbit. Hence, those infected rabbits are not allowed to mate. Detection is still based on the symptoms and laboratory tests to determine the bacteria.
This is commonly known as the inflammation of the mammary glands of the rabbit that affects feeding the dog and can go forward into a blood infection that quickly becomes the reason for death. A bacteria commonly causing mastitis is called staphylococcal, but there are also tendencies that other types of bacteria can be involved. The first sign is that the mammary gland of the rabbit becomes hotter and reddened, sometimes swollen. After such a sign, it may become colored blue and is usually called the “blue bag” or the “blue breast.”
If male rabbits can experience health complications in their testicles, female rabbits can also have risks. One of them is pyometra or known as uterus infection. According to Bishop Stortford Veterinary Hospital, the uterus of female rabbits is more vulnerable than others because it works differently. Moreover, their vagina has a uterus horn which is why infections in rabbits are challenging to distinguish to some doctors.
Pyometra often occurs in rabbits because of sexual intercourse. A bacteria called Pasteurella multocida is the root cause of why their uterus started to get infected. One way to pass this bacteria is through sexual intercourse. If your female pet tries to mate with a male that carries this bacteria, there is a chance that they will get infected. Once it enters their body, one of the complications can happen in their uterus, hence pyometra.
To avoid this, ensure your pet is safe from a possible carrier like wild rabbits or an unknown male pet nearby. You should also visit their doctor to test them for parasites or bacterial infections that can affect the uterus.
The rabbit’s urine plays an important role in identifying some underlying diseases of your pet. The color, smell, and texture help the veterinarian examine what is happening inside the body or if it has a living parasite.
Rabbit pee contains protein, glucose, and other minerals, depending on whether your rabbit is eating and drinking healthy foods suitable for their stomach since the rabbit’s nutrients are mostly from what you feed them.
- Bright yellow color
A rabbit with bright yellow urine has healthy body function because this kind of pee color is usual for them. If you ensure that your rabbit is hydrated and eating properly, you should not worry, even if they continue to excrete bright yellow urine. Although sometimes you will notice the color changes, that is natural for them. It will depend on how you take care of them and their diet.
- Red color
You might be surprised if you see your rabbit excreting a red hue in their urine. But this pee color is quite common, even for healthy rabbits. You don’t have to worry that your rabbit is peeing blood because it can be explained easily.
One explanation is that your pet’s bladder releases bright pigments such as red and orange. This is due to their lifestyle and their daily meal intake. Eating plants with bright pigments can cause them to urinate a reddish color. Or your pet might be under medication intake, such as antibiotics.
Although there are instances for your rabbit to excrete red pee, you still need to ensure that it is not blood. On rare occasions, rabbits can pee blood because of some infection and disease; this condition is called Hematuria. For your rabbit to be diagnosed with this kind of condition, you must take them to the doctor and give a urine example to find red blood cells in their pee.
- Green color
An animal can have a unique color in their urine, especially with the food they are eating. That is why greenish color can occur in your rabbit urine activity when you feed them lots of greens. This kind of urine discoloration is called pigmenturia.
Dark leafy vegetables can also affect their urine color since they are broken down in their gastrointestinal system. However, too much intake of these veggies has negative effects on their body, such as digestive issues. Since some nutritional compounds found in the green leaf are too much for your rabbit to absorb.
Suppose your rabbit has green pee, even though you are not offering them greeneries. In that case, it is advisable to visit the doctor because there might be underlying diseases causing your rabbit to have this kind of urine color.
Another way of determining whether your rabbit is healthy is to check their poop. Like their urine, rabbit poop contains chemical compounds inside your rabbit’s body that can help check whether your pet has a living parasite or some underlying disease.
Moreover, if your rabbit has a good diet, stool consistency will appear firm, and if there’s any disruption in their digestive system, the poop will look watery. According to some studies, the average number of rabbit droppings ranges from 200-300 per day.
Two Types of Rabbit Poop
As a rabbit owner, you need to know that your rabbit can produce two types of poop. This will help you determine and monitor the wellness of your rabbit or if you should be alarmed by their poop consistency.
You might be surprised that your rabbit is eating some of their droppings, but you don’t need to worry because this is called Cecotrope poop.
Cecotropes are also called “night poop” or “night droppings.” You want to avoid feeding your rabbit items h for the reason that they excrete this stool often at night. Eating droppings is part of the rabbit’s life cycle to get additional nutrients they didn’t get the first time they ate their food.
That is why it’s important to avoid feeding your pet food that is high in sugar and carbohydrates. This upsets the balance of bacteria inside your rabbit’s stomach.
2. Fecal pellets
The second type of rabbit poop is called Fecal Pellets. Unlike the cecotrope, this poop is the regular type that your rabbit excretes. They are hard and pellet-like textures that mostly contain food waste from their diet.
To better understand what poop you should be wary of, here is the list of different poop consistency that your rabbit will produce.
- Small and Round Shape Droppings
Rabbit droppings are normally small, like a pellet, and round in shape. But sometimes they will also produce extra small sizes for several reasons, such as stress. Moreover, rabbits tend to be more sensitive than other pets and can get stressed by hearing loud noises nearby or having separation anxiety.
- Large and Egg-like Shaped Droppings
This type of dropping is unusual for your pet to produce. Although on occasion, it can still happen.
Large and egg-like shape droppings are a result of a megacolon. This type of shape is from genotypes. Although sometimes stress and trauma also affect the shape of their droppings.
- Doubles and Single Droppings
Normal look of rabbit poop is usually bound together like a grapevine. So when your pet rabbit is beginning to drop doubles and singles each day which is unusual for them, it can be caused due to stress or maybe because they eat food unsuitable for their diet
- Droppings that Look like Link by Hair
At times, you can notice that the poop of your rabbit has hair in the stool. This is because of several reasons, and one is that rabbits clean their fur, so they accidentally eat some of the hair, and their digestive processes it as a waste.
Although this is normal to rabbits, severe cases of hair inside their stomach can result in a hairball. Which is entangled hair that can cause further health issues in their metabolism.
- Droppings that have Mucus
Mucus are a sign of unhealthy gut function of your rabbit. If you notice a whitey consistency around their stool, you should schedule a visit with your trusted vet because your pet can also have diarrhea.
- Soft and Watery Droppings
This poop might be caused by infection or some parasitic attack in the rabbit’s stomach. Soft and watery droppings are the result of irritation in their digestive system. But, in some cases, the food they are eating can also contribute to the texture of their poop since the foods might not be suitable for their digestive system.
- The Definitive Guide To What Foods Rabbits Can & Cannot Eat
- 6 Rabbit Pellets You Can Trust
- Do Rabbits Love Sweet Foods? (Natural Treats & Feeding Guide)
- Best Treats To Reward Your Rabbits (Feeding Guide & Tips)
- What Food Do Baby Bunnies Eat? (Ideal Diet & Care Guide)
- How Long Can Rabbits Survive Without Food? (Survival Rate, Facts & Care Guide)
- What To Do When Your Rabbit Accidentally Eats Marijuana? (The Law, Signs, Treatment & Alternatives)
- Definitive Guide to Your Rabbit’s Health
- Diarrhea In Rabbits: Causes, Treatment & Prevention
- Understanding the Drinking Habit of a Rabbit
- Rabbit’s Digestive System: Parts, Problems, Treatment & Prevention
- Lumps In Rabbits (Causes, Types, & Treatment)
- Understanding Your Rabbit’s Eyes: Common Infections (And Treatment)
- Ear Mites in Rabbits: Diagnosing, Risks, Prevention & Treatment
- Parasitic Infestation: Encephalitozoon Cuniculi in Rabbits (What It Is, Symptoms & Treatment)
- Rabbit Testicles: Common Problems, Symptoms & Best Practices
Rabbit Poop & Urine
- Topic in medicine and surgery Standards of Care in the 21st Century: The Rabbit
- Health Problems in Rabbits | VCA Animal Hospital)
- Is your rabbit too fat? | Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF)
- Parasitic Infection in Rabbits | PetMD
- Skin Diseases in Rabbits
- The Rabbit digestive system
- RABBIT EYE INFORMATION – Winter Park Veterinary Hospital
- What You Need to Know About Rabbits and Ear Mites – Hastings Veterinary Hospital
- The use of rabbits in male reproductive toxicology
- Red urine