Photo by GregMontani
Rabbits are excellent at hiding illnesses. As prey animals, they instinctively mask symptoms to avoid appearing weak to predators. But there are still signs you can watch for to tell if your fluffy friend is under the weather. Being able to recognize if your rabbit is sick is key to getting them prompt medical care. Here are the top signs to look for that could mean your bunny needs a trip to the vet.
Sudden behavior changes in your normally active and friendly rabbit could signal a health problem. A sick rabbit may withdraw into a corner of their hutch and avoid interaction. Or they may become unusually aggressive. Lethargy, depression, and irritability can all stem from a rabbit not feeling well. Pay close attention to variations from your bunny's normal persona.
Altered Eating Habits
Rabbits rely on a continual diet of hay and fresh greens. If your rabbit stops eating normally or has a significantly decreased appetite, take notice. Excessive drinking is also a red flag. Any major changes in eating or drinking habits warrant a call to the vet, as gastrointestinal issues are common in rabbits.
Keep an eye on your rabbit's poop. Diarrhea, constipation, small or misshapen poop, and straining to pass stool are all unhealthy signs. Your vet can analyze fecal samples to test for potentially dangerous parasites like coccidia. Always contact your vet if poop patterns seem off.
Thick discharge coming from your rabbit's nose is not normal. Cloudy or colored mucus indicates nasal congestion or a respiratory infection. Left untreated, these can progress to pneumonia. Seek medical attention if your bunny has nasal discharge lasting more than a day.
Scratching and Irritation
Excessive scratching may point to skin irritation, fleas, mites or ringworm. Bald patches, scabs, and skin redness need a veterinary evaluation. Be vigilant for any signs of skin parasites, wounds, or abscesses which require medication.
Weigh your rabbit weekly to monitor any weight fluctuations. Gradual weight loss in rabbits is cause for concern. Sudden drops in weight may signal an undiagnosed intestinal, kidney, or dental problem. Schedule a vet visit if your rabbit is losing weight steadily.
Lethargy and lack of interest in playing may indicate pain or illness. Make note if your normally energetic bunny seems subdued and tired. Pain from an injury or infection can cause a rabbit to sleep more and move less. Have your vet examine your bunny for any tender areas.
Eye or Nose Discharge
Cloudy or colored discharge coming from the eyes or nose requires veterinary attention. This can signal an upper respiratory infection. Left untreated, these can progress to more serious illnesses. Have your vet analyze any abnormal ocular or nasal discharge.
Disclaimer: We are not professional veterinarians or medical doctors. We created this blog based on our experiences with pet rabbits, volunteered hours in the rabbit shelter, extensive pet product research, and experienced peers. The purpose of this blog is to provide information about properly taking care of rabbits. Please know that it is still best to visit the vet regularly. For medical emergencies, contact a rabbit-savvy vet. Always observe your rabbits around new products or environmental changes.
Any significant changes from your rabbit's normal healthy behavior are cause for a wellness check. Trust your instincts if something seems "off" and your rabbit is acting sick. Getting veterinary care quickly gives your bunny the best chance at a full recovery. When in doubt, call your vet - better safe than sorry with your precious bunny!
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