Pyometra in Female Rabbits: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosing, Treatment & Prevention

Rabbit Pyometra

Rabbits are generally some of the ideal pets you should consider taking care of. Aside from being sociable animals, they are also low maintenance. Since they are herbivore animals, their primary diet comprises hays and grasses, which are rich in fiber. That is why some common illnesses you will encounter in rabbits are digestive-related issues.  The metabolism of rabbits works differently from other animals, and they tend to be sensitive.     

However, it does not mean that you should only focus on their diet to help them become healthy. As a pet owner, you should also consider how to properly take care of a rabbit and know other common illnesses and conditions in your pet. This will help you understand how to prevent and cure them. One such condition is pyometra, which typically occurs in female rabbits. If you know what it is and how it works, it will be easier for you to take good care of your rabbit and keep it as healthy as possible.

This article will discuss the causes, prevention, and cure of pyometra in female rabbits. If you want to know more about this, keep on scrolling. 

Understanding Pyometra in Female Rabbits

Pyometra is a type of illness that you don’t often encounter or hear about because it is not something that usually occurs in other animals. Moreover, this is an infection that occurs exclusively in female rabbits only. In some cases, small animals like ferrets and hamsters can also be diagnosed with pyometra. However, it is really more common in female rabbits. To understand better, you might wonder, what is pyometra?

According to a Pet MD article, pyometra is also known as uterus infection because it is an illness that affects the uterus of rabbits. That is why it is a unique health problem for female animals only. It is also common for unspayed rabbits. 

This very dangerous condition can potentially become fatal if left untreated. Prevention and cure are necessary for uterine infection in your female rabbits. It can affect their reproduction system as well as other body functions. 

In addition, Bishop Stortford Veterinary Hospital says that the reproductive tract of rabbits is different from other pets, such as dogs and cats. The rabbit’s vagina opening has two uterine horns rather than one. 

Although other pets can also be diagnosed with a pyometra, diagnosing uterus infection in rabbits is more complicated. Rabbits do not have a uterine body making it hard to interpret some health conditions concerning your pet’s reproductive tract. 

Causes of Pyometra

There are various factors that you should understand why rabbits have pyometra. It is crucial to know all of this when you and your pet are in the treatment stage. In that way, the veterinarian can provide the right medication and treatment that the rabbit needs.   

Bacterial Infection in the Uterus of the Rabbit

One common bacteria that can lead to uterus infection is Pasteurella multocida. As stated by this article, it is typically seen in domestic rabbits. However, this bacteria is the usual cause of diseases in other small mammals and birds. It can even infect humans due to scratches and bites from different types of animals, such as pets like dogs and cats.  

Your rabbit can have this bacteria through sexual intercourse with their rabbit mate. However, not all cases of mating can lead to infection in your pet. A male must be infected first for the bacteria to be transmitted to the female. That is why when males Pasteurella multocida, their common risk is testicular problems, which occur only in males. 

However, there are other transmissions, such as when an infected male’s nose comes into contact with the female’s reproductive organ during mating. In some cases, this transmission can even occur during childbirth. So if your rabbit is pregnant and you suspect them to have this bacterial infection visit the doctor immediately to decrease complications with baby bunnies. 

In addition, to avoid this, you must ensure that your rabbits are healthy before mating. Also, avoid accidental sexual intercourse with other rabbits, especially stray ones, because you don’t know if they are carriers of the disease. 

You can mate with rabbit owners or breeders to get your female pet pregnant.  For sure, their rabbit is well taken care of. Or you can ask for assistance from your trusted veterinarian if you have doubts about this matter. 

Fluid Build Up in the Uterus of Rabbits

There are also some cases when uterine infection happens outside of mating. The lining around the female rabbit’s uterus is called the endometrium. This lining can sometimes have fluid build-up caused by various reasons, such as age, cancer, or the growth of different bacteria. As such, all those reasons can eventually pile up to cause an infection in the female rabbit’s uterus.

Moreover, fluid inside the body or uterus of your pet can also lead to infection. You can notice this if your pet also continuously releases vaginal discharge. According to some articles, discharge in the vagina of your rabbit is not common. It is a concern that you should not overlook. And if you notice this in your rabbit, you need to get to their doctor immediately for assessment. 

If you want to know more about Rabbit Health, you can click on this article:

Definitive Guide to Your Rabbit’s Health

Importance of Spaying a Rabbit

Testicular and uterus problems are some of the fewer concerns of owners regarding their pets. However, it is important to understand that all body functions of rabbits are crucial to their overall health and wellness. Some of the health issues in the uterus of females occur because of not considering spaying their pets. 

According to the Veterinary Centers of America (VCA), if you are not planning to get your rabbit pregnant, it is a good decision to undergo a spayed operation. This surgical process in rabbits is a method of removing the ovaries and uterine horns of female animals. VCA also added that the best time to spay animals is during their early years, between four to six months upon birth. 

Here are some of the benefits of spaying your Female Rabbits:

1. Spaying Rabbits Decrease Accidental Pregnancies

Since pyometra can occur in rabbits during sexual intercourse, you can avoid your rabbit acquiring this illness by spaying them. This will remove the possibility and instinct of your rabbit to mate with heated male animals around them. 

Rabbit Association and Welfare Fund stated that they don’t encourage breeding because sometimes it leads to abandonment. Only a few people are responsible enough to take care of accidental litter. If caring for many rabbits is not your forte, spay your female bunny. Removing their ovaries, which are responsible for making egg cells and babies, will reduce the chance of unwanted pregnancies. 

Moreover, you can freely let your rabbit roam without worrying that male animals nearby will have sex with your pet. 

2. Spaying Rabbits Decrease the Chance of Uterus and Ovarian Problems

VCA says that some reproductive problems will unlikely occur if rabbits have no uterus. That is why one of the benefits of spaying is ensuring the safety of decreased chances of health risks in rabbits. 

Typically, reproductive-related issues occur in rabbits in their adult stage. That is why it is recommended to spay them as long as they are young. This will also help your pet build a strong body system. However, there are many factors that you need to consider before undergoing your pet with this surgery. You can always ask the veterinarian to guide you and assist your pet. 

3. Spaying Rabbits Decrease the Chance of Aggressive Behavior 

Another advantage of spaying your rabbit is decreasing the chance of aggressive behavior. Although rabbits are known to be sociable pets, they can still be aggressive. That is because animals are naturally territorial species.  

Although it is typically seen in male animals, a female can also claim their spaces and show aggression even toward humans. By removing their ovaries and uterus, which produce hormones that contribute to behavior, your rabbit can behave well. It will also be easier to handle your pet, especially if you take more than one rabbit.

Spaying Rabbits

Spaying pets are believed to have adverse effects on rabbits. That is why many pet owners are afraid to let their bunny undergo spayed/neutered. But some studies prove it as false. 

However, there can be problems after the operations, such as possible infection and anesthetic reaction. But you don’t have to worry about that because veterinarians can assist you and your rabbit in a successful operation.  

Symptoms of Pyometra

Loss of Appetite

If your rabbit acquires the bacterial infection that causes pyometra, it will lose its appetite. The rabbit that is not eating for days causes more complications because they are not acquiring the needed nutrients. Since they are fiber consumers, lack of nourishment from hays and grasses will result in digestive-related problems. If your rabbit loses its appetite, kindly visit the vet immediately for possible assessment. 

Bloating Abdomen

A rabbit that has pyometra will begin to have a bloated abdomen. That is because one cause of this illness is fluid build-up inside the body. You will notice this symptom in your rabbit’s abdomen becoming unusually enlarged.


If you see your rabbit mating but do not produce a baby, it can mean they are infertile. Infertility in rabbits is uncommon. So visit the veterinarian’s clinic immediately because your rabbit might have pyometra. 

Presence of Blood in Urine

Rabbit urine produces different colors. Sometimes they might even release red pigment. This is due to their diet that causes the color change. However, consult the vet immediately if you think the red pigment is blood. Infection in the uterus of rabbits can irritate their vagina lining, which is why one of the symptoms of pyometra is blood presence. 

Other symptoms you should look at in diagnosing pyometra:

  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Paleness
  • Aggression caused by poor mood
  • Fluid build-up in the uterus 
  • Stillborn pregnancies
  • General weakness
  • Thick and yellow discharge from its reproductive organ
  • Signs related to pregnancy even though the rabbit is not pregnant

If these symptoms are present in your female rabbit, it’s important that you need to know what to do. One of them is visiting their vet doctor to receive immediate medical treatment. 

Diagnosing Pyometra

In diagnosing pyometra in rabbits, you mustn’t self-diagnose your pet. Although there are systems that we provided above, it’s best not to conclude that your pet really has this illness. Symptoms are only assisting you in knowing that your rabbit is sick. The doctor will still be the one to officially assess pyometra illness in rabbits. This will also allow your pet to receive the right and proper treatment to avoid further complications.

In addition, there are tools and equipment that only a veterinarian clinic has. To guide you, here are some of the examinations that your rabbit will go through in diagnosing pyometra.

Physical Examination

According to the National Library of Medicine (NIH), a physical examination is a process wherein the doctor evaluates and observes the physical aspect and anatomy of the patient. They will ask you what the common symptoms you notice in your pet are. As well as physically examining your pet’s appearance to see if they are dehydrated or lethargic. 

Stool and Urine Examination

Another way of diagnosing pyometra is through poop and urine tests. Expect the doctor to ask for your pet’s fecal or urine so they can see the bacteria inside your rabbit’s body in the microscope. This will help confirm that the rabbit has pyometra because bacteria are commonly present in an animal’s stool.  

Radiography/ X-ray Test

According to Bishop Stortford Veterinary Hospital, x-rays are conducted on rabbits to help get a photographic plate of the inside body of these animals. That is why the doctor can easily diagnose pyometra in rabbits if they see unusual enlargement in the abdomen area of rabbits. 

Treatment of Pyometra

No at-home remedies or treatments can help cure pyometra in female rabbits. Instead, you need to leave the treatment to your rabbit’s doctor instead of taking it upon yourself to save money by treating it yourself. 

Moreover, self-treatment can also lead to more complications and risks for your pet. The most basic supportive care you can do is to provide the female rabbit with prescribed antibiotics to minimize the infection. 

Remember that not all rabbits receive the same treatment. A cure is given depending on the severity and other factors in animals. Younger and adult rabbits are more delicate, so there is a consideration in some medications. But to guide you, here are the basic treatments veterinarians will give female rabbits with pyometra. 

Blood Transfusion

In the case of heavy hemorrhaging in your rabbit, you should find suitable donors for a blood transfusion. If you are getting a blood transfusion from another rabbit you own, you may need to change its diet by feeding it more greens and decreasing the fat and carbohydrate intake. 

The infected rabbit may also need a more specialized diet similar to the one giving it a blood transfusion. A special diet will help your pet develop a stronger body to accept the new nourishment. Although not all cases of pyometra need a blood transfusion, you need to be careful and ask for advice from the doctor about this matter. 

Surgical operation

In a severe case of pyometra in rabbits, there is a need for a surgical approach to remove the female’s rabbit ovaries. This method has shown much success in treating rabbits’ uterine infections. 

The surgical operation removes other disorders, such as an ovarian lump or bacterial growth in the uterus. After the surgery is successful, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to help your rabbit manage the pain and inflammation post-surgery.

Taking care of rabbits postoperative is crucial because this will indicate the success of the surgery in your pet. Provide the necessary needs for rabbits in medication or sanitation for their wounds. 

Recovering From Pyometra Surgery

Aside from antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs that should be administered long-term, there are plenty of ways to help your rabbit recover from surgery. One such way is to give it an environment that is warm and dark so that it will be able to rest better. 

You should also observe the sutures and check whether any infection is building up or if swelling is present. Nutrition should also be a top priority in your case, as you need to encourage your rabbit to eat healthy foods and drink as much water as possible.

Preventing Pyometra

1. Provide a clean space for your rabbits

Since pyometra is caused by bacterial growth in the uterus, one way to avoid acquiring this disease is clean space for them. NIH stated that cage sanitation is important because some harmful pathogens of bacteria and parasites can lead to complications in your pets. 

That is why ensuring that your rabbit’s space is clean is important. You can do this by cleaning their area every week. Many available products are safe for your animals. Although you still need to be careful of the toxic ingredients because your rabbit can inhale them. 

On the other hand, if you want to clean the cage naturally, you can use vinegar.  Many people have used vinegar to eliminate odor and sanitize the different areas of their houses. That is why you can also use this in your pet’s cage. 

2. Avoid contact with rabbits that are suspected to be positive for bacteria.

One of the root causes of pyometra is the bacterial infection called Pasteurella multocida. This is often transferred to other rabbits through sexual intercourse, but in some cases, the pathogen is transferable even without mating. That is why to prevent your rabbit from developing pyometra, restrict your pet from being near rabbits suspected of having a bacterial infection. 

3. Ensure a well-balanced diet for your rabbit.

Another way to prevent your rabbit from pyometra is to ensure they are fit and healthy. How are you going to do that? The first step is giving nutritional food. A suitable diet for rabbits is foods rich in fiber because it helps them have a good digestive function. Moreover, all the nutrients will be distributed equally in their body parts. Do not give them food that is toxic and high in starch, such as potatoes, avocados, chocolate, and sweet foods

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

Key Takeaways

  • Rabbits are sociable animals which is why many owners start caring for them. However, they are sensitive and delicate, so rabbits are prone to diseases.
  • Digestive-related health issues are a more common type of illness than can occur in rabbits. One reason is that they have a unique way of digesting food, unlike other animals. 
  • The reproductive system of rabbits can experience problems as well. In female pyometra, while in males, testicular problems are their health risk. 
  • Pyometra is also known as uterus infection because of the inflammation in the uterus and ovary of female rabbits. 
  • The reproductive tract of rabbits is different from other pet animals. They have two uterine horns in their vagina opening. That is why diagnosing uterus issues is harder for rabbits. 
  • One of the common causes why female rabbits have pyometra is because of a bacterial infection. This bacteria is known as Pasteurella multocida. They are transferred through the sexual intercourse of rabbits. If one rabbit is a carrier of the bacteria, it will be transferred to his mate. And can then lead to pyometra inflammation. 
  • Another cause of pyometra is the fluid buildup in the uterus of rabbits. 
  • Problems in the uterus of rabbits can happen, especially if they are not spayed. Spaying is the process of removing ovaries and the uterus in female animals. The best time to undergo spayed surgery is while rabbits are still young, between four to six months old. Although there are factors that the doctor is considering.
  • Here are the benefits of spaying your pet; decreasing the chance of accidental pregnancies, reproductive issues, and aggressive behaviors. 
  • Here are some of the symptoms of pyometra in female rabbits; Loss of appetite, bloating of the abdomen, infertility, blood in urine, lethargy, paleness, and depression. 
  • Do not self-diagnose rabbits if you think they exhibit signs of pyometra. Schedule a check-up with your trusted vet. The doctor is the one who will officially diagnose your pet. Here are their ways of diagnosing pyometra in female rabbits; physical examination. Stool or urine examination and x-ray test. 
  • Treating pyometra is easy if it is diagnosed early. Although cases of pyometra are treated differently depending on their severity, here are the general ways in which the vet will help rabbits; blood transfusion and conducting a surgical operation to remove the pyometra infection. 
  • Postoperative care is important because this will help the success rate of the surgery on your rabbit.
  • Prevention is better than cure, so here are ways to help you and your rabbit from acquiring the bacteria that causes pyometra;
    • 1. Provide a clean space for your pet. Always ensure that you sanitize their bedding and shelter. 
    • 2. Avoid contact with potential bacteria carriers.
    • 3. Ensure you provide a balanced diet so their body will develop a healthy function to fight common diseases.

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