Photo by Zosia Korcz
If you see your rabbit breathing fast, should you go to the veterinary clinic immediately or not? Understand that rabbits may face many illnesses, and no pet is excused for that.
It's vital to know the reasons why bunnies breathe rapidly. Anxiousness or lots of active playing can cause fast breathing and many more reasons like respiratory problems, heart disease, or GI stasis which are also serious cases.
Always check your bunny's activities and routines. See if it's doing fine after a day of eating, napping, and playing so you can also check other signs of sickness it may have.
Reasons Why Your Rabbit Is Breathing Fast
Bunnies normally breathe between 30-60 times per minute. If you notice your bunny is breathing more than that, one of the reasons might be the following. It's okay if your bunny had a fun activity like running around the house. That might be the reason for its rapid breathing.
Anxiety or fear is a common reason a rabbit breathes fast. Rabbits are prey animals; therefore, everything that seems new in their environment is scary. If your bunny is feeling scared or anxious, it'll likely breathe faster as a response.
This can happen when your rabbit suddenly hears a loud noise (like thunder or fireworks) or when you change their routine that they aren't used to (such as bringing home new pets). Try to keep things calm by speaking softly and stroking them gently until they feel safe again.
If your bunny is breathing fast, it could mean it's hot, so provide it with a well-ventilated place during summer. Bunnies breathe rapidly when the temperature is high to release the excess heat from their body.
Monitor the temperature of the room where your bunny resides and make sure it's not above 25 degrees Celsius. That hot temperature will be very dangerous for your pet rabbit.
If your bunny is eating too many carbohydrates, it can cause several problems. The most common one is indigestion, or the inability to break down the food in their stomach. This can lead to an upset stomach (GI Stasis) and other issues like diarrhea or constipation.
Solve this problem by taking your bunny to the vet clinic as soon as possible because GI problems are scary. Several things may be wrong with your rabbit's digestive system; some require immediate attention from a professional vet!
Another common cause of increased respiratory rate among rabbits is being kept in a cage for too long—especially if it's a cramped cage where escape isn't possible.
Cage confinement can lead to stress that makes bunnies breathe faster as their body tries harder than usual to get oxygen into their system. Things get complicated when they're not getting enough air circulation through their lungs properly due to being caged up all day long with no chance of exercising outside their enclosure.
Not only that but keeping them in cages can also cause sore hocks because of a lack of activities and playtime. That is another painful situation that can make bunnies stressed.
If your bunny is breathing fast, it could be in pain. If you don't know what happened to the rabbit or saw it get injured recently, take it to the vet. It might have an injured nose causing it to breathe rapidly because of the blockage in the nasal cavity.
Heart disease in rabbits cannot be cured, so the best way to make your bunny feel better is to provide a safe environment and medication given by the vet. You will notice a bunny's breathing getting fast as the disease worsens; this commonly happens in older rabbits.
A bacterial infection in your rabbit's nasal passage can cause rapid breathing. There might be colored nasal discharge that's making your bunny sneeze. Consult the vet for antibiotics so your bunny can get well as soon as possible.
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.
Final Thoughts on Why a Rabbit is Breathing Fast
As you can see, a bunny might be breathing fast for several reasons. Some reasons—like injury or illness—are serious and require immediate attention, while others can be treated with rest and recovery at home.
If your rabbit is breathing faster than usual, take it to the vet for diagnosis. And remember that if your bunny is stressed, scared, or in pain (which may include being hot), it's essential to improve the place to a better one for a more comfortable and cozy bunny.
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