Rabbits need to urinate, just like you and me and even our other pets. But unlike us, a rabbit’s urine can vary in color depending on various factors such as health, hydration, and even diet. This makes it difficult to know if your bunny needs immediate medical attention or has just eaten some greens with plant pigments that stained the urine.
Normal rabbit urine ranges in color from pale yellow to red. Pale yellow to amber orange is the norm for a healthy rabbit, however. If your rabbit's pee is dark brown, pink, white, streaked with red, or contains sand-like particles, it's best to consult a vet. If you see your rabbit straining to urinate with no or red urine, see a vet immediately; this is an emergency.
In this blog, I'll help you identify the different rabbit urine colors and help you decide if they warrant a vet visit or not.
Keep reading to learn more about rabbit urination.
RECOMMENDED READING: MASTER BUNNY CARE
Bunny pee can be anything from pale yellow to red and everything in between. This can come as a shock to many new rabbit owners and pet sitters. The main reason bunny urine has such a range of colors is diet.
If your rabbit's diet contains a lot of carrots, spinach, alfalfa hay, or other veggies high in beta-carotene plant pigments, you may notice dark orange or red urine. However, beta-carotene isn't the only thing that can change rabbit urine. The calcium in spinach and alfalfa hay can also change the color of bunny urine white.
It's important to keep in mind that bunny urine is naturally a bit cloudy. This is because rabbits get rid of excess dietary calcium through urination. It's important to note that a high-calcium diet can lead to health problems such as bladder sludge.
It's important to monitor your rabbit's urine over a period of time. Bunnies urinate around two to seven times daily, and each can yield a different color. It's also important to monitor your rabbit's water intake.
Bunnies often produce dark, concentrated urine that appears brown in color during the first cold snap as winter sets in. This color usually indicates dehydration due to the lack of drinking water. Like humans, bunnies don't feel like drinking much when cold.
However, if your bunny has dark brown urine for more than a day, a vet visit is on the cards. Here's a more in-depth explanation of rabbit urine colors.
Rabbit pee can tell you a lot about the health of your pet. Keep reading for a short explanation of each urine color.
Urine that ranges in color from light yellow to orange is an indication that your rabbit is healthy, at least as far as kidney function is concerned. This also means that your bunny is drinking enough water and eating a healthy diet.
Rabbits drink about 50 to 150 milliliters (1.6-5 oz) of water per kilogram (2.2 Ibs) of body weight every day. They also continue to eat a range of different food items every day, which means the color of their urine is always changing.
This does mean that they can have a few strange colors in their urine throughout the day, such as light brown, red, and even white.
White urine in rabbits is normal within limits. If you recently fed your pet a meal high in calcium-rich foods such as spinach and alfalfa, you can expect to see cloudy white pee in the litter box due to the presence of calcium.
Keep a close eye on your bunny. If you notice your rabbit passes a thick white substance, is straining to urinate with no success, has sand-like grains in the urine, or has streaks of red in the urine, it could be a sign of bladder disease. If you see any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
By Jmarchn - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Red pee can be normal depending on if it's caused by plant pigments (beeturia) or blood in the urine. Here are a few things to consider before you take your rabbit to the vet.
Your rabbit's diet plays a big part in urine color. If your rabbit eats foods rich in beta carotene, like raspberries, strawberries, and beet greens, you're more likely to see red urine.
Other times, a sudden temperature change from hot to cold during fall can cause red urine in rabbits. This happens due to your pet not drinking enough water and should clear up in a few days.
You can increase water intake by feeding wet, leafy greens, adding some flavor to your rabbit's water, or simply changing the water to lukewarm water.
If your rabbit is sick and on antibiotics, there is a chance that your pet is feeling too sick to drink. THis can cause the urine to turn red or even brown as dehydration sets in. Encourage more water intake by feeding wet, leafy greens and water-rich foods like cucumber.
Antibiotics also change the way your rabbit digests food. This change can also affect urine color.
If you have an unspayed female, it's always a good thing to check for any issues with the urinary system and reproductive tract. Blood in the urine can be a sign of various conditions such as urinary tract infections, uterine cysts, polyps, or abortion.
If you notice your rabbit urinating outside of the litter box, passing sludge, passing actual blood, or appearing to be in obvious pain, contact your vet for an appointment as soon as possible.
Your vet can determine if it's a urinary tract infection, sludge, or something more serious by taking a urine sample and doing X-rays.
Brown pee in rabbits is usually a sign of dehydration. This color of urine doesn't warrant an immediate vet visit, but you should definitely keep an eye on your pet and try to increase water intake. Here are a few simple ways to do just that!
You can't force a bunny to drink, but you can increase water intake with a little twist. Feeding freshly washed greens (still wet) is the quickest and easiest way to get some water into your bunny. The leaves themselves also contain water and quite a few other nutrients your bunny needs to stay healthy.
It's much easier for a rabbit to drink from a bowl than it is to drink from a bottle. Because it's less effort to drink from a bowl, your rabbit will drink more and, as a result, urinate more, which reduces heat stress and dehydration issues.
Generally, rabbits love fresh, cool water. If your bunny isn't drinking enough, try to remove the bowl and add a fresh bowl of water. The change in bowl and fresh water will draw your rabbit's attention and hopefully encourage drinking.
You can add a little flavor to your rabbit's water as a last resort. Add a few drops of unsweetened, 100% apple or carrot juice to the water to encourage your bunny to try it. Make sure you don't add too much since your rabbits may develop diarrhea due to the sudden increase in sugar.
Also, make sure to change the water again to pure fresh water for the next day. Your rabbit might become dependent on having the juice in the water and refuse to drink normal water, so don't offer this treat unless absolutely necessary.
Red urine doesn't always mean your rabbit has an infection or worse. In most cases, this color is caused by environmental factors and diet. If you suspect your bunny has actual blood in its urine, though, make sure to take your rabbit to see a vet immediately.
Blood in your bunny's urine is called Hematuria. Hematuria is a condition where an injury or infection allows red blood cells to enter the bladder or urinary tract. The blood is then passed in the urine when the rabbit uses the litter box.
If you're unsure if your bunny's red urine is blood or pigmentation, it's best to take a urine sample to the vet for examination. The vet can tell you if it's really blood and can find the source of the bleeding to determine treatment.
Hematuria could be present if your rabbit is suffering from the following conditions:
Bladder sludge due to a high-calcium diet
Injury to the kidney compartment
By Joel Mills - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Bunnies are generally quite healthy, but that doesn't mean they can't get sick. Here are two of the most common urinary health issues in rabbits.
Bladder sludge, also called hypercalciuria or hypercalcinuria, is a result of too much calcium being filtered out of the bloodstream and into the kidneys and bladder of rabbits. This calcium forms a thick substance with the consistency of heavy cream or, in rare cases, toothpaste.
Sludge is similar to balder stones, but the excess calcium thickens into a paste without forming stones in the kidney. This painful condition prevents the rabbit from emptying the bladder properly, which can lead to more problems.
Bladder stones, on the other hand, can be life-threatening. Stones form when the calcium carbonate deposit in the bladder hardens into a chalky stone. These stones can get stuck in the kidney collecting ducts, ureters, and, in some cases, in the urethra, causing a complete blockage. This is more common in male rabbits and is a medical emergency.
These conditions can often be identified by looking at a rabbit's urine. The first sign is a sand-like deposit or a thick, creamy paste in your bunny's litter box, usually accompanied by straining or blood in the urine. To determine the extent of the damage caused by the stones, however, your vet will need to do x-rays and bloodwork.
Difficulty in peeing
Peeing more than usual
Urinating outside the litter box
Blood in the urine
Sand-like crystals in the urine
Loss of apatite and depression
Inactivity/lack of exercise
Excess calcium in the diet
Lack of appropriate toilet area or litter box
If the rabbit only has sludge or extremely small stones, the bladder can be flushed to remove the depost. In some cases, however, the calculi have grown too large to flush. In this case, surgery will be required to remove them.
A bacterial culture should be done to determine if any underlying infection is present. Bladder stones tend to damage the bladder's lining, creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow.
Urinary tract infections, called UTIs, happen when bacteria enter the bladder due to an injury, bladder sludge, or general poor health. These bacterial infections cause the bladder to swell due to inflammation, which can be extremely painful. Here are a few symptoms to look out for.
Loss of weight
The appearance of a thick sludge in urine
Blood in the urine
Injury to the urinary system
Lack of grooming
Bladder sludge or calculi
Unsanitary potty areas
Increase in hydration level through water consumption
Increase in vitamin C intake
Rabbit urine isn't normally harmful to humans. Urine from healthy rabbits contains no bacteria or any other dangerous pathogens. If your rabbit shows signs of a UTI or any other bladder disorder, there is a chance that bacteria could grow.
When your bunny's immune system is compromised, there is always the risk of developing an Encephalitozoon cuniculi (E.Cuniculi) infection. This pathogen can be found in all rabbits but is usually suppressed by the immune system. It's important to note that E. Cuniculi is a common cause of renal disease in rabbits.
This pathogen could be potentially dangerous for immune-compromised humans. Children and elderly people are also more likely to be affected by E. Cuniculi. Therefore, avoiding contact with rabbit urine is best if you fall into any of these categories.
No, creamy or thick urine is a sign of sludge. When rabbits consume a large amount of calcium in their diets, they excrete the excess in their urine. This could lead to a buildup in the bladder, which causes the urine to appear creamy, or, in severe cases, the urine may be the consistency of toothpaste.
Cloudy urine in rabbits is completely normal and caused by unused calcium being excreted in their urine. You'll also notice that rabbit urine dries white instead of clear, like a dog or cat. However, if you notice blood in the urine and sand-like grains, it's time for a vet visit.
Yes, it does. Rabbits are efficient in absorbing calcium from their diet. As a result, lots of unwanted calcium will be excreted in the urine, causing it to turn milky. As the urine dries, the calcium deposit will stay behind, turning into a white powdery substance on your floor.
Thick, white, dark brown, and blood-tinged urine are abnormal in rabbits. These colors can indicate problems like bladder sludge, dehydration, or a UTI. Normal rabbit urine ranges in color from pale yellow to red. Unfortunately, red urine caused by plant pigments could make it quite difficult to identify blood in a rabbit's urine correctly.
Keep a close eye on your bunny, as red urine may indicate a more serious problem. Call a vet if you notice straining or unusual behavior when urinating as soon as possible.
In summary, normal rabbit urine is expected to range in color from yellow to orange. In some cases, red urine can also be considered normal as long as no blood is present. This color is usually caused by pigments in your rabbits' food.
Brown, white, creamy, and blood-tinged urine is abnormal in bunnies. These indicate more serious issues like dehydration and calculi in the urinary system. If you notice abnormal urine, make sure to look out for problems such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and sludge. These conditions are extremely painful and can also claim your rabbit's life.
If you're unsure if your rabbit is healthy, the best option is to call your vet. It's also important to keep an eye on your rabbit's poop. Painful health conditions can cause your rabbit to stop eating, which could lead to GI stasis (a condition where the gut stops moving).
If your bunny is prone to bladder problems, try to reduce the amount of calcium-rich foods you feed and opt for water-filled greens instead. You can read our article on what to feed your bunny.
Ackerman, Sandi; Deeb, Barbara, DVM. “Red Urine: Blood or Plant Pigment?” House Rabbit Society, https://rabbit.org/journal/3-1/red-urine.html.
Brown, Susan, DVM. “Bladder Stones and Bladder Sludge in Rabbits.” House Rabbit Society. https://rabbit.org/2006/09/urolithiasis/
Susan Brown, DVM. "Bladder Stones and Sludge in Rabbits." Veterinary partner, https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=6048312
Krempels, Dana, Ph.D. “Urine Scald: A Symptom of a Greater Problem.” University of Miami Biology Department, www.bio.miami.edu/hare/urinary.html.
“Rabbit Bladder Problems.” Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund, https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-bladder-problems/
If you're a rabbit owner, you need to read this! Did you know that GI stasis is a common health condition that can affect your furry friend's digestive system? It can cause them to stop eating, poop abnormally, and even lead to death if not treated properly. But don't worry, I'm here to help you recognize the signs before it's too late.
GI stasis is a condition that causes a rabbit's digestive system to stop moving. This causes them to stop eating and poop abnormally (if at all). It's important to catch it early. To prevent GI stasis, make sure your rabbit has a healthy high-fibre diet, plenty of exercise, and access to fresh water at all times. If you notice any abnormalities, visit a vet immediately. This is an emergency!
In this article, I'll be discussing everything you need to know about GI stasis, including the signs, causes, and treatments. So, let's get started!
NOTE: This blog is meant to inform and is not meant for treating your rabbit without medical advice from a vet. If you suspect GI stasis, see your vet immediately!
Gastrointestinal (GI) stasis is the slowdown or complete stoppage of a rabbit's digestive system. In other words, it’s a gut condition where a rabbit’s intestine becomes static and ultimately stops moving.
It happens when certain factors, like the absence of fiber, alter the rate at which materials move through the gut. As a result, the stomach and cecum will no longer empty their contents as quickly as they should.
This can be distressing for rabbits' and leads to a lack of appetite for food and water. As a result, the bunny will become severely dehydrated leading to further issues.
Dehydration promotes the compression of the contents in the gut, including food, hair (from grooming), etc. This makes it difficult for rabbits to move this solid mass through the gut which leads to problems like impaction.
Rabbits experiencing this will feel bloated and uncomfortable, making them lose interest in eating or moving. Rabbits need to eat every day, all day long. If they refuse food for an extended period of time, they will develop fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis), which will eventually lead to death.
Gut stasis in pet rabbits can result from a variety of factors. See some of the major causes below:
Dehydration – inadequate water intake
Stress (change of location, loss of a rabbit companion, noises, etc.)
Lack of dietary fiber
Pain from other illnesses and disorders
Prolonged use of antibiotics
Hair ingestion (especially during the shedding season)
Any rabbit illness is capable of resulting in GI stasis. Hence, whenever your rabbit gets ill, monitor them for any symptoms of stasis. This will help you catch it early.
Rabbits experiencing gut stasis normally feel reluctant to eat or drink anything. This is a very common sign that gastrointestinal stasis has set in.
Since GI stasis affects the gut mobility, your rabbit’s poop will change and look different from normal. See some of the poop you might notice if your rabbit is experiencing gastrointestinal stasis:
Strung Poop: This poop appears as fecal pellets tied together on a string. This string is normally tied together by strands of hair ingested during grooming.
Tiny Dry Fecal Pellets, which look much smaller than normal rabbit poop. Aside from seeing this abnormally tiny poop, you might also see a reduction in poop production or no poop at all.
On-again/Off-again diarrhea accompanied by abnormally shaped poop
Regular or mushy poop accompanied by irregularly shaped fecal pellets
Tiny fecal pellets covered in yellowish or clear mucus
It’s normal for a healthy intestine to make soft gurgling noises. If a rabbit suffers from gastrointestinal stasis, these quiet gurgles become very loud and aggressive. This is a painful movement of gas in the stomach.
In severe cases, the rabbit’s intestine might make no gurgling sound at all. This means the gut stopped moving completely and is an emergency.
A rabbit might become lethargic (weak and less active) if s/he suffers from gastrointestinal stasis. If a rabbit stops moving due to pain, you can recognize the signs by your bunny sitting in a hunched position or pressing the belly to the floor while refusing to move.
GI stasis is an emergency. If you suspect that your rabbit is suffering from GI stasis, take steps to help your bunny immediately. The key is to recognize this condition before it becomes severe.
At these early stages, a tweak in your rabbit’s diet and some additional care can help your rabbit recover. You can force-feed your bunny baby food made of vegetables and fruits, force-feed critical care for herbivores, and encourage eating by offering tasty greens.
Make sure to call your vet in advance. Here are a few more things you can do while waiting for your vet to respond:
There should be a steady supply of hay available to your rabbit every day. You can change to a different kind of hay to encourage eating.
Moreover, you can do this for about two days. This will help increase a hungry bunny’s appetite for hay. Giving rabbits a fiber-rich diet is the goal!
It’s not just by offering your rabbit clean water at all times. Interestingly, you can help increase your rabbit’s hydration by offering them very wet veggies.
Toys do the trick! As they move around and play with interactive toys, the motion helps their digestive tract to work better. You can also let them free roam in a rabbit-safe area to pique their curiosity and get them moving.
After these practices, you should see some improvement. But if nothing changes about their poop or more signs of gut stasis begin to show, do not hesitate to see a veterinarian.
Gently massaging your rabbit’s abdominal region can help stimulate and restore motility in a static stomach. Do this by placing your rabbit on your lap or any surface where it feels secure.
Just make sure your rabbit can't hop down from the surface and get hurt. When you’ve made your pet comfortable, start to massage the stomach area.
With your fingertips, try to gently press your rabbits stomach in a right to left motion to move feces along the intestine. Make sure to use firm pressure but soften your touch if your bunny shows signs of discomfort or pain.
What’s more, if you could slowly raise your bunny’s rear legs a few inches to stretch them. It stimulates the easy flow of gas in the stomach.
Alternatively, you can also use electric vibrating massagers for bunnies. It’s also effective in relieving a static gut. Above all, massage regularly, so long as your rabbit allows it.
Monitoring your bunny's body temperature is critical in dealing with GI issues. Since a rabbit's normal body temperature is around 101-103°F, a sudden change in temperature can indicate that something is wrong.
For instance, a high temperature (more than 103°F) normally indicates infection or stress. Lower body temperatures (less than 100°F) or hypothermia, are cause for concern.
Hypothermia is a sign that your rabbit might be experiencing shock or bacterial infection in the bloodstream (septicemia). Visit a rabbit-savvy vet immediately after you notice your rabbit’s temperature drops.
Before that, you should try to restore your bunny’s temperature to normal. You can do this by placing warm water bottles (wrapped in a towel) around your rabbit. Or placing them on a reptile heating pad. Just make sure they can't chew on it or bite the cables.
In rabbits, anorexia can quickly result in hepatic fatty liver disease and stomach ulcers. It is dangerous for a rabbit to go 12 hours without eating food.
Hence, you should keep your rabbit eating as long as your vet confirms that there isn’t any blockage in the GI tract by doing x-rays or ultrasound scans. The vet will prescribe medication for pain and gut motility which should help with appetite and gut movement.
All of these are to prevent the rabbit from getting other complications. “Critical Care" is a great ready-to-mix emergency supplement for rabbits that are sick and unable to eat.
When you can’t access critical care for your rabbit immediately, you can use homemade alternatives. Simply add about two to three teaspoons of rabbit pellets to warm water (about half a cup).
Allow them to soak till they become soft. The goal here is to blend them into a fairly liquid paste (pudding-like consistency). Add more water, vegetable baby food, canned pumpkin, or tea to the pellet fluff to do this.
Next, use a large bore feeding syringe to administer the food to a rabbit after it cools. Use extreme caution. Getting food in the lungs could be fatal!
Giving a warm, clear water enema with a very small amount of odorless laxative-grade mineral oil may be beneficial. Epsom salts can be added to the enema fluid (at around 1 tablespoon per 30–40 cc of water). Do not do this without an okay from your vet, however.
They aid in hydrating compacted materials by drawing fluid from the surrounding tissues into the intestines. However, if you use Epsom salts, you must make sure the rabbit is properly hydrated with a subcutaneous lactated ringer solution. This must be done by a vet.
This is necessary to prevent the body’s reservoir of fluid from draining. Please ask your vet to walk you through this procedure before you try to administer an enema to your rabbit.
Since gut stasis also results from a lack of fiber, rabbits prone to it should have high-fiber foods as part of their daily diet and preventative treatment. Dietary fiber is essential for a healthy gut.
It also facilitates good bowel movement. An excellent and steady source of dietary fiber is hay. And rabbits can eat hay as much as they want to.
Make sure there is an abundance of timothy or other grass hay for your rabbit. Stay away from alfalfa hay if you have an adult rabbit. This is because alfalfa contains too much protein and calcium to be a nutritious portion of the diet for rabbits. It also is more likely to cause bloating in rabbits.
Metoclopramide (Reglan) or Cisapride (Proposed) are common intestinal motility agents that resolve static intestines. That’s right! Giving rabbits these motility drugs can help restore movement in the intestines.
Furthermore, both drugs mentioned above work pretty well. Moreover, the side effects associated with long-term use of Cisapride are lesser than those of metoclopramide.
What's more, your rabbit may need to take these drugs for up to two weeks before their intestinal motility is fully restored.
Your rabbit can take cisapride and metoclopramide at the same time in severe cases of GI stasis. The two drugs work on separate sections of a rabbit’s digestive tract. Hence, together, the effect is greater!
Your vet should carefully check for any possible drug interaction between these motility drugs and any other drug(s) your bunny is taking, regardless of the illness.
For instance, your rabbit should never take narcotic painkillers with Reglan (metoclopramide). Together, they have the potential to cause a deadly drug interaction.
When a rabbit is dehydrated, associated with GI stasis, it will weaken and eventually fall sick. Additionally, the desire to keep living will fade away to a well-hydrated rabbit.
When rabbits do not want to eat or drink during this condition, it’s ideal to give such a rabbit subcutaneous fluids to prevent the worst from happening.
However, there’s an exception to this treatment. This is when your rabbit suffers kidney failure or other health conditions that do not support a rabbit taking these subcutaneous fluids.
Interestingly, administering subcutaneous fluids to your rabbit is something you can do at home. Hence, ask your vet to teach you how to do it properly.
Your vet can also prescribe these drugs for your rabbit’s GI tract. They help soften and loosen the compressed mass of contents (food, hair, etc.) in your rabbit's gut. And this eventually helps to restore intestinal motility.
Papain and bromelain are common protein-dissolving enzymes. They come in powdered form and are available in most health food stores around you.
Some common appetite stimulants are B-complex vitamins (oral or via injection) and Periactin. A good thing about B-complex vitamins is that it doesn’t just stimulate appetites alone.
They can equally cover up for what a rabbit loses by not eating cecotropes for long. Your vet should give you instructions on how to use these stimulants. Normally, Periactin comes in 4 mg tablets.
A regular-sized bunny, about 4-6 lbs., can take 1 mg of this particular stimulant orally. And s/he should have it two times a day. Your rabbit must stop eating, so stimulating their appetite or force-feeding them isn’t bad.
It’s normal if your vet prescribes antibiotics for your rabbit battling with GI tract issues. These antibiotics help to prevent Clostridium spp. from overgrowing. And for this particular bacterial issue, Flagyl is mostly used.
Additionally, your rabbit can take antibiotics to fight against any lesser bacterial infection. For this purpose, a vet may prescribe antibiotic drugs like sulfas or fluoroquinolones.
Bacterial infection contributes to the stopping of the GI tract as well as intestinal blockage. But overuse of antibiotics can do the same. So make sure your rabbit does not unnecessarily take antibiotics.
The abdominal pain associated with gut stasis is much. And many rabbits facing this issue easily give up and die when they can no longer bear the pain.
So this means that a part of treating your rabbit suffering from GI tract issues involves pain relief. Your rabbit will need to take pain-relieving drugs, particularly analgesics, that will help it fight the abdominal pain.
Some pain relief drugs (analgesics) will not only relieve pain but also promote peristalsis. Make sure a veterinarian prescribes the analgesic for your pet. They know better, especially the pain-relieving drug suitable for your rabbit.
Furthermore, your veterinarian would also give you instructions, especially on how often your rabbit should take them.
Rabbits in GI stasis may be given motility-modifying drugs, antibiotics (in the event of a bacterial infection), anti-inflammatory medications, and pain relievers. Your rabbit will also need nutritional support and fluid therapy for rehydration.
As alarming as this condition seems, it’s something you can handle and treat at home so long you’ve made necessary plans for the outcome of this condition.
It’s always better to see a vet, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have some home solutions to this problem any time your rabbit faces it. This comes in handy when you can’t reach the nearest vet or have none in your area.
Currently, no scientific veterinary study proves pineapple can effectively treat GI stasis in rabbits. However, bromelain, a digestive enzyme in pineapple, helps loosen the protein materials that bind fur balls together in a rabbit’s stomach.
For this reason, many people regard fresh pineapple juice as a natural remedy for stasis. However, that’s not the case! Rabbits have a very acidic stomach with PH levels that can destroy these enzymes before they work in the gut.
Unfortunately, pineapple can hurt your rabbit instead. It’s packed with sugar, which is bad for a rabbit’s digestion. And if a rabbit is in stasis, extra sugar in the gut is risky. It’ll worsen their condition.
This is a major sign of constipation in rabbits, which can eventually lead to serious health issues such as gut stasis, liver diseases, and dehydration. As soon as you notice unusual eating or pooping patterns (less than normal) in rabbits, don’t hesitate to see a vet immediately.
Rabbits can go for more than a day without pooping. However, this isn’t a good sign, and if they stay longer and closer to two days, it could be fatal.
So when you notice your bunny hasn’t pooped for a while, see a vet right away. A rabbit that doesn’t poop regularly isn’t healthy.
Now you know what GI stasis is all about in rabbits. With this article, you can identify the symptoms and catch this condition early when it happens.
Though it might be uneasy, your rabbit shouldn’t stay without eating when they’re experiencing stasis. Treating gut stasis is mostly focused on getting a rabbit’s digestive tract to move again.
A veterinarian will prescribe medications as part of the treatment of this gut issue. It is also important that you visit the vet on a regular basis to monitor your rabbit's recovery.
Don't leave without checking out our Complete Rabbit Care Guide!
Why is my rabbit shedding so much? This is a question most rabbit owners ask at some point during their first year of bunny ownership. Most bunny owners panic when they see large clumps of rabbit fur all over the place. Excessive shedding can be a sign of an underlying health problem or a lack of proper grooming, but it can also be completely normal.
Rabbits go through heavy sheds twice a year, normally in spring and autumn (fall). During this time, they will shed most of their fur coats in a matter of days to weeks. These sheds happen to prepare them for the next season, either by growing a thick winter coat to cope with the drop in temperature or a short summer coat to cope with hot weather.
In this blog, we will explore normal molting patterns, the causes of excessive shedding in rabbits, how to identify it, and what to do to keep your furry friend healthy and happy.
Typically, rabbits go through two periods of heavy moulting per year, usually in the spring and fall. During these times, bunnies shed their summer or winter coats to prepare for the upcoming season. The shedding cycle can last for several days to weeks, and rabbits may molt excessively during this time.
The amount of shedding depends on various factors, including the time of year, breed, age, stress levels, and health of the rabbit. Some rabbits may molt more than others, and monitoring their shedding patterns is essential to ensure they are healthy.
When a rabbit sheds, it usually sheds its undercoat first, followed by the guard hairs. The undercoat is a soft and fluffy layer of fur that helps insulate the rabbit's body. The guard hairs are longer and coarser hairs that form the outer layer of the rabbit's coat. Together, they protect the rabbit's skin from dirt, moisture, and parasites.
Keep in mind that you will not see the undercoat just lying around. It is kept in place by the guard hairs and will only be shed when the guard hairs eventually fall out. This process gives the new coat time to grow underneath the current coat before the hair is lost. For this very reason, it is unlikely that you'll see any hairless patches on your rabbit during the molting season.
It's crucial to note that shedding is a natural process, and there's no way to stop it entirely. However, there are ways to manage molting and reduce the amount of hair loss.
Healthy rabbits usually molt their fur in a cyclical pattern. This seasonal process is triggered every three months and is influenced by the amount of daylight, temperature, and humidity in the air.
Does this mean they shed four times a year? But we just said they shed twice a year?
Bunnies shed four times a year but only go through two heavy sheds. The two lighter sheds in summer and winter might not even be noticeable at all.
It's also important to note that heavy molting can cause problems such as GI stasis. You can help prevent such issues by regularly grooming your bunny to help remove loose fur and prevent hairballs from forming in the rabbit's digestive system.
Providing a healthy diet with plenty of fiber (hay is best) and hydration can also help reduce hair loss. Stress can also contribute to why your bunny is losing so much fur, so providing a calm and comfortable environment for the rabbit is essential.
Understanding a rabbit's shedding cycle is crucial for its health and well-being. Owners can ensure their rabbits remain healthy and happy by monitoring their shedding patterns and providing proper care.
Rabbits shed their fur for various reasons, some of which are completely normal, natural behaviors and some may indicate health or environmental issues. Understanding why bunnies shed can help pet owners identify when shedding is normal and when it may require veterinary attention.
Here are a few reasons your rabbit may be losing fur:
Rabbits shed their fur four times a year, with heavy sheds in spring and fall. This is a natural process that helps them adapt to changes in temperature and light and get rid of old, damaged fur to keep their skin healthy.
Bunnies shed their thick winter coats in the spring to prepare for warmer weather. They also shed their lighter summer coats in the autumn to grow thicker winter coats.
Changes in daylight and temperature control this molting process.
If a rabbit is losing excessive fur outside of the two heavy shed periods, it may be a sign of stress or illness. Stressful situations such as moving to a new home, changes in diet, or loud noises can trigger this type of molting.
Illnesses such as mites, infections, or hormonal imbalances can also trigger excessive shedding in bunnies. If a bunny is losing excessive fur without any known cause, it is important to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.
In addition to external signs of molting, rabbits may exhibit other behavioral changes during molting periods. It is common for bunnies to become more irritable, grumpy, or lethargic during molting. It is also common for them to spend more time grooming themselves.
These changes are normal and can be managed by providing a comfortable and stress-free environment for the bunny. You can also help them out by gently removing large clumps of loose fur with your hands or a pet brush.
If your rabbit stops eating, drinking, or moving, it might be a sign of more serious issues, and a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.
One of the most noticeable signs of excessive shedding is the appearance of bald patches on your rabbit's coat. These patches may be small or large and can occur anywhere on the body.
If you notice hairless patches, it is important to investigate further and determine the cause of the hair loss.
Another way to identify excessive shedding is to monitor how often your rabbit is molting. Rabbits naturally molt roughly every three months, so shedding outside of this schedule may be a sign of a problem. If your bunny is shedding constantly, it may be a sign of excessive molting.
It is also important to pay attention to how your rabbit's coat looks and feels. If your rabbit's coat looks dull or feels rough, it may be a sign of too much fur loss. Additionally, if your rabbit's coat looks patchy or uneven, it may be a sign of bald patches or other shedding issues.
Overall, it is important to notice any changes in your rabbit's shedding patterns and investigate further if you notice any signs of excessive fur loss. You can help keep your rabbit healthy and happy by identifying and addressing shedding issues early on.
A variety of factors, including genetics, diet, environment, and health conditions, can cause excessive molting in rabbits. Here are some of the most common causes of excessive shedding in rabbits:
Some rabbit breeds are more prone to excessive shedding than others.
For example, rabbits with thicker fur, such as Rexes, Angoras, Jersey Woolies, and Belgian Hares, are more likely to shed excessively than breeds with naturally thinner fur coats, such as Netherland Dwarfs and Himalayan Rabbits.
However, excessive shedding can also be a sign of other underlying health issues, so it is important to monitor your bunny's molting patterns and consult with a veterinarian if you are concerned.
A rabbit's diet can also play a role in their shedding patterns. A diet that is lacking in essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals, can lead to poor coat quality and excessive shedding. Additionally, a diet high in carbohydrates or sugar can cause skin irritation and inflammation, leading to patchy coats and rashes.
The environment in which a rabbit lives can also affect their molting patterns. Rabbits that are kept in dirty or dusty environments are more likely to shed excessively, as their skin and fur can become irritated and inflamed.
Additionally, rabbits exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity levels may also shed more than usual.
Several health conditions can cause rabbits to shed excessively. Skin infections, mites, and other parasites can all lead to patchy coats and excessive molting. Additionally, rabbits with sensitive skin may be more prone to shedding due to allergies or other skin conditions.
Excessive shedding in rabbits can be a sign of underlying health issues. Monitoring your rabbit's molting patterns and seeking veterinary care if you notice any abnormal changes is important.
One potential health issue that can arise from excessive shedding is gastrointestinal (GI) stasis. This is a condition where the digestive system slows down or stops working altogether, which can lead to serious health problems and even death. Rabbits that shed excessively may ingest more fur than usual, which can cause blockages in the digestive system and lead to stasis.
In addition to GI stasis, excessive molting can also impact a rabbit's overall digestive health. When rabbits ingest large amounts of fur, it can lead to the formation of hairballs in the digestive tract. Hairballs can cause discomfort, pain and even lead to blockages in the digestive system.
Unlike cats, it's important to note that a rabbit cannot vomit up a hairball. Rabbits, just like horses, are not capable of vomiting at all.
In some cases, excessive shedding may be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as a skin infection or hormonal imbalance.
If you notice abnormal changes in your rabbit's molting and unusual behavioral changes, seek veterinary care to determine the underlying cause and ensure your bunny's health and well-being.
Grooming is an essential part of keeping a rabbit's coat healthy and preventing fur-related health conditions. Regular grooming helps remove loose hair, dirt, and debris from the bunny's coat, preventing hairballs and other digestive issues. Grooming also helps distribute natural oils throughout the fur, keeping it soft, shiny, and healthy.
To groom a rabbit, one can use a soft-bristled brush or a comb. A slicker brush can also be used to remove tangles and mats. In some cases, you might find damp hands work the best for safe fur removal. If you do go for a brush, it's important to choose the right type of brush or comb based on the rabbit's coat type. A short-haired rabbit may require a different type of brush than a long-haired rabbit.
When grooming a rabbit, it is important to be gentle and avoid pulling or tugging on the fur. Start by brushing the rabbit's neck and back, moving on to the sides, then move on to the legs, tail, and head. Be sure to pay attention to areas where mats and tangles may form, such as behind the ears, under the chin, and under the tail.
In addition to brushing, one can also help keep a rabbit's coat healthy by providing a balanced diet with plenty of fresh hay and water. A healthy diet helps promote healthy fur growth and reduces the risk of skin issues that can lead to excessive shedding.
If a bunny is shedding excessively, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue. While some molting is normal, excessive shedding can be a cause for concern.
Here are some signs that may indicate a rabbit needs to see a vet:
Bald patches or thinning fur
Scratching or biting at the skin
Red, inflamed, or scabby skin
Excessive lethargy or loss of appetite
Abnormal feces or urine
A vet can perform a physical examination to determine if there is an underlying health issue causing the excessive fur loss. They may also recommend blood tests or other diagnostic tests to rule out any underlying health problems.
In some cases, a rabbit may be losing fur due to stress. If this is the case, a vet can advise on reducing stress in the rabbit's environment.
It is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible if a bunny loses abnormal amounts of fur. Delaying treatment can lead to further health problems and may make the underlying issue harder to treat.
In conclusion, excessive fur loss in rabbits can be caused by a variety of factors. While shedding is a natural process for all rabbits, it is important to monitor your pet's coat and behavior for any signs of abnormal fur loss.
Some common causes of excessive shedding include stress, boredom, ill health, and changes in the environment. Rabbits may also shed excessively due to hormonal changes or underlying medical conditions such as fur mites or allergies.
To prevent excessive molting, it is important to provide your rabbit with a healthy diet, a clean living environment, and plenty of opportunities for exercise and play. Regular grooming can also help promotes a healthy and shiny coat.
If you notice any signs of abnormal fur loss or changes in your rabbit's behavior, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. With proper care and attention, you can help keep your rabbit healthy and happy for years.
Excessive shedding in rabbits can be a sign of an underlying health problem or a lack of proper grooming.
Understanding rabbit molting and why rabbits shed is crucial to identifying when your rabbit is shedding excessively.
Regular grooming and proper nutrition can help prevent excessive fur loss in bunnies and promote healthy coats.
Rabbits typically shed the most during the spring and fall seasons. This is when they go through their major molting periods. During these times, rabbits will shed large amounts of fur, which can be alarming for some owners. However, this is a normal and healthy process for rabbits.
Rabbits go through heavy shedding periods two times a year, usually in the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). However, some rabbits may shed more frequently, especially if they are kept indoors or have health issues.
Excessive shedding in rabbits can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, and health issues such as parasites and infections. It is important to identify the underlying cause of excessive shedding in rabbits and address it appropriately.
During shedding season, it is important to brush your rabbit regularly to help remove loose fur and prevent matting. Use a soft-bristled brush or a grooming mitt to gently brush your rabbit's fur in the direction of growth. Be sure to avoid pulling or tugging on any mats or tangles.
Stress can have a significant impact on a rabbit's shedding patterns. When rabbits are stressed, they may shed more frequently or excessively. It is important to provide a calm and comfortable environment for your rabbit to help reduce stress and minimize shedding.
Excessive shedding can be a sign of an underlying health issue in rabbits. If your bunny is shedding excessively and you notice patches of missing fur, scabs, or signs of irritation, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. Other signs of a health concern may include lethargy, loss of appetite, and changes in behavior.
Rabbit fur can come out in clumps due to molting, stress, poor nutrition, or an underlying health problem. Identifying the underlying cause is important to ensure that your rabbit is healthy.
Carter, Lou. "Why Is My Pet Rabbit Shedding So Much?" Rabbit Care Tips, (May 19, 2023), https://www.rabbitcaretips.com/why-is-my-pet-rabbit-shedding-so-much/
Harvey, Carolynn DVM. “Grooming.” House Rabbit Society. https://rabbit.org/care/grooming/
Krempels, Dana Ph.D. “Fur Loss and Skin Problems in Rabbits: Common Causes and Treatments.” University of Miami Biology Department. http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/furloss.html.
Amy Pratt. "Rabbit Shedding Patterns and How to Deal With All The Fur." Bunny Lady, https://bunnylady.com/rabbit-shedding/
“Moulting.” Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund, https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-health/moulting.
Praag, Esther vaan Ph.D. “Varying Shedding Patterns Among Rabbits.” Medirabbit. http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Skin_diseases/Molting/Shedding1.htm.
Stephen White, Ron Rees Davies, David Scarff. “Molting Patterns: Normal and Abnormal.” Vetstream. https://www.vetlexicon.com/treat/lapis/freeform/molting-patterns-normal-and-abnormal
Stephen White, Ron Rees Davies, David Scarff, David Perpiñán. "Dermatology: parasitic disease - overview." Vetstream. https://www.vetlexicon.com/treat/lapis/freeform/dermatology-parasitic-disease-overview
Winter is gone and now it's summertime. This means it'll be quite hot. Rabbits aren't good with hear and thus, summer isn't great for bunnies.
If a rabbit feels very hot, it can lead to a serious condition such as heat stroke. And this is a condition your rabbit should not experience.
Hence, you have a part to play in keeping your rabbit cool during this period. Interestingly, there are many ways to do this!
But to make it easier for you, this article will be sharing 12 tips for keeping a rabbit cool during summer.
However, before we jump right into this, it’s important to know how your furry friends can keep themselves cool on their own and without your help.
Let’s discuss this below!
RECOMMENDED READING: COMPLETE BUNNY CARE GUIDE!
By Josefine S.
Rabbits have unique ways to expel their internal heat since they don’t sweat through their skin pores. Here are the ways rabbits regulate their body temperature when it rises:
Rabbit’s ears are their primary heat regulators. A group of blood vessels runs through the ears of a rabbit and expands to help it stay cool.
Rabbits evaporate moisture through breathing to release their body heat. When a rabbit feels hot, it starts to breathe more quickly to exhale more of the heat it's holding in its body.
Bunnies are fond of stretching out more during the warmer months on cool surfaces to keep their internal temperature cool. This way, they will not retain heat.
Inside a rabbit’s nasal passage, there’s mucus that aids in heat exchange during respiration. And when the days are hot, the mucus’ temperature adjusts to enable heat loss in rabbits.
Now you know how bunnies keep themselves cool. Nevertheless, they might not be able 5o handle summer heat all by themselves.
So this brings us to the part where we look at the different things you can do to help them in the summertime.
By Gribin Isaf
Understand that air conditioning in homes is a good way to keep rabbits cool during the hot weather. Hence, if you have one, you should keep it on whether you’re at home or not.
For many pet owners, it's unnecessary to leave the air conditioning on for pets. This is because they assume animals can handle heat better than people can. What’s more, this belief extends to rabbits too.
But all pets do not handle heat the same way. Dogs and cats can handle heat better than bunnies can. Perhaps, it has something to do with the thickness of their fur.
Remember that heatstroke is a common thing in rabbits, especially when they feel very hot. Even if a rabbit has a way of regulating heat, it might not be helpful when the days are pretty hot.
So turning on the air conditioning during the summer months is important to keep the air cool for your rabbit.
By Adamantios - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
If your home has a basement, you can always relocate your rabbits' enclosure there when the days are hot!
Naturally, the coolest section of the house will be in the basement. This is because there are normally fewer windows in basements; there is equally less direct sunlight reaching this space.
Interestingly, they can be up to 15 degrees cooler than the main floors above them. Hence, it’s a good alternative to an air-conditioned room for your rabbit.
When other surfaces begin to warm up, a ceramic tile is pretty good at remaining chilly. Even to this day, many people, especially kids, will love to lie on these kinds of floors when they feel very hot.
Interestingly, rabbits like to do the same to keep themselves cool too. However, you can always make these marble or ceramic tiles available in your rabbit’s enclosure.
Get them and place them on the floor or the sides. This way, your rabbit can feel comfortable stretching out or leaning against them.
What’s more, you can make these tiles extra chilly before placing them. Keep them in the refrigerator for about an hour before laying them on the floor in your rabbit’s enclosure.
Another way to help keep your rabbit cool in the summer is to wet their back ears a bit with cool water. Understand that rabbit bodies release most of the internal heat through their ears.
So spraying water behind their ears can help them cool off. I recommend that you spray it so you don’t soak their ears. So, the best thing to use is a spray bottle filled with water.
This way, you can control how much water touches their ears. In addition, you should be careful doing this and avoid water getting into your rabbit’s ears.
If this happens, the water can remain trapped inside their ears and eventually lead to an infection.
During the hot weather, you can create frozen water bottles to keep your rabbit cool. Do this by filling old plastic water bottles with water and letting them freeze thoroughly in the refrigerator.
Once they are super frozen, use an old towel or blanket to wrap them up. This is important to keep your rabbit from getting wet or too cold due to the freezing nature of the bottles.
Afterward, place them in your rabbit enclosure to help keep them cool. Similar to ceramic tile, this frozen water bottle technique offers a cool surface for your rabbits to lean against at their own will.
Another important way to ensure your rabbit stays cool during the summer season is to circulate the air.
It’s not a good thing for air to be stagnant, especially in a closed-off room. It can trap heat. Hence, you want to keep the air flowing.
Do this by opening windows and doors. In addition, you should turn on the fans in your home. However, do not let your fan blow air onto your bunny directly.
Remember, rabbits don’t sweat, form their skin so there’s no point doing this! Instead, you might end up harming your rabbit and causing them respiratory issues.
Aside from overheating, you do not want your bunny to suffer dehydration. It easily leads to heat stroke in rabbits.
To prevent this dehydration during the summer months, make sure your bunny has access to plenty of fresh water daily. It’s impotent that your rabbit doesn’t look for water to drink.
In addition, you need to change the water often during the day. This ensures the water is fresh and cool at all times for your rabbit.
If you observe that the day is hotter than usual, you can add ice cubes to the water. This will help to keep it cool for longer periods.
Bunnies also have preferences! Many rabbits will drink more from a bowl and others might prefer to drink out of a bottle.
Hence, you should use a water container that encourages your rabbit to drink more.
When there’s no AC, you can always improvise. That’s right! Create something similar!
With a standing fan and a bowl of ice, you can create a cheap cooling system to help keep rabbits cool in summer. Place the ice right in front of the fan.
This way, chilly air will circulate in the room as the fan blows through the bowl ice. No doubt, it won't perform as effectively as a normal air conditioner.
However, it will still significantly cool the room and prevent your rabbit from overheating.
Regular grooming is important to keep your rabbit’s fur suitable for summer. In addition, your rabbit needs to shed its winter coat when the weather gradually gets warm.
As they shed these excess fur meant for winter, they will now have lighter fur which helps keep them cool during the hot days. Although the molting season might last for several weeks, grooming your rabbit’s fur can help make things quicker.
In the summer, you might wish to clip your rabbit's fur if it’s long-haired. It will equally help your bunny keep cool during summer.
It doesn't matter if you keep rabbits indoors or outdoors, you should offer them plenty of shade, especially when it gets very hot during the day. A rabbit needs to have shady places to hide from the sun at its own will.
If they can’t, exposure to direct sunlight can swiftly result in heat exhaustion. Above all, it is ideal to let rabbits choose between direct sunlight and shade on their own.
This way, they can better control their body temperatures during summertime.
Wash your rabbit's fresh leafy greens in cold water before giving them to him or her each day. Moreover, you don't have to totally shake the extra cold water droplets off.
Leave it that way so your rabbit gets to eat the greens chilled. This is the best way to serve them greens during hot weather.
Aside from providing fresh cool water for your rabbits to drink, these cool leafy greens can encourage hydration.
READ ALSO - HOW TO FEED RABBITS
When the season is hot, you should use less bedding or none in your rabbit’s enclosure. Most of the floor space in their enclosure should be exposed.
Rabbits will benefit from stretching out on flat cool surfaces like a bare floor. It’s a great way for bunnies to keep cool when the days are hot.
A very dangerous condition that rabbits are likely to experience during summertime is heat stroke. And this happens when your rabbit feels so much heat.
Overheating (hyperthermia) is common in rabbits during summertime owing to their inability to sweat plus their thick fur. Hence, hot rabbits will suffer heat stroke when they have no means of cooling themselves.
In addition, both indoors and outdoors rabbits can overheat. However, a rabbit living outdoors has a higher chance of experiencing it.
In addition, when it comes to age, both very young and very old are more likely to experience heat stroke.
This is because rabbits easily get stressed out at such ages. As a result, their bodies don’t control temperature rise very well.
Now, if your rabbit should experience heatstroke, take it to the vet immediately! Meanwhile, you should do these few things to keep your bunny cool:
Spritz their ears
Offer your rabbit cool water to drink.
Wrap your bunny with a damp towel
Place frozen water bottles next to your rabbits
Prevention is always better in this situation and you can do that by monitoring the signs of heat rise in your bunny:
Here are common signs of overheating in rabbits:
Refusing to eat
Weakness or lack of energy
Head Bent backward
Moving slowly or abnormally
A temperature that’s above 25℃ (77℉) is too hot and equally dangerous for a rabbit. Bunnies do not tolerate so much heat. Due to high temperatures, rabbits can suffer heat stroke, which can eventually lead to death.
Anything below 15℉ is too cold for bunnies. As long as they are not wet and exposed to direct wind. If you live in cold parts of the world or during winter when it gets pretty cold, you should try to keep your rabbits warm and comfortable.
Moreover, it shouldn’t be too warm to avoid overheating in bunnies. A rabbit can tolerate the cold more than heat.
Wild rabbits live in burrows underground, which provides shade. This is why they can control heat.
In addition, they are most active during the cool times of the day, usually in the morning and the evening. Hence, this practice helps keep their body temperature cool during the summertime.
With these tips listed in this article, I believe you now know how you can help your rabbit stay cool in warmer seasons. Remember that bunnies are great at keeping cool on their own when their body temperature rises.
However, it doesn’t seem to help all the time, especially during summertime. Hence, your rabbit needs your help to remain cool so they don’t overheat. What’s more, you don’t need to do every single one of these tips to keep your bunny comfortable in the summertime.
We provided you with many options in case you might not be able to do some of them. So get on with it and keep your rabbit's body temperature in check throughout the summer!
No doubt, it delights every bunny owner to see their pet hopping happily around. Their powerful feet need to stay healthy!
However, certain foot infections can arise and cause your pet to move less frequently. And a common foot infection in bunnies is sore hocks. Here’s what you need to know about it.
A sore hock or bumblefoot (medically known as ulcerative pododermatitis) in rabbits is a condition where the skin around a rabbit's hocks suffers infection from bacteria.
This article will explain in detail what sore hocks entails and how you can easily identify it on your own!
In addition to this, we'll be providing ways to effectively treat and manage this condition.
Now, let's get started!
A rabbit having bumblefoot will start developing soreness on its hocks – the heel of the rabbit’s foot.
It can appear in different ways depending on how far it's occured. What’s more, these sores can become infected or start to bleed.
Furthermore, if ulcerative pododermatitis stays for long without treatment, it can become worse and bring about the following:
Deep Cellulitis – this is when the deep cellular and connective tissue—tendons, ligaments, etc.—around the affected skin suffers severe inflammation
Deep Pyoderma – this is a worsened condition characterized by severe inflammation of the sore accompanied by wounds that are filled with pus.
Understand that sore hocks can happen to rabbits even if they receive proper care.
This is because a lot of factors bring about ulcerative pododermatitis in rabbits. See them below:
This is a major reason for sore hocks in rabbits. Hard flooring—tile, wood, etc.—tend to place pressure on the hocks of a rabbit.
Moreover, wire flooring squeezes the feet and causes them to bend abnormally. This can gradually create sore hocks. In addition, abrasive surfaces can cause rug burns and can wear away the fur around the hock, which can lead to sores.
So much weight places more pressure on the hind feet of a rabbit. What’s more, when a rabbit is overweight, it will adjust its posture in a way that adds more pressure to its feet.
Additionally, if a rabbit does not exercise regularly, its feet can start to develop sores from being in one spot for a long time. What’s more, the surface they stay on almost all the time might be a contributor to the ulcerative pododermatitis issue.
A rabbit with long nails will have most of its weight placed on the back of its foot, which happens to be its hock area. This can gradually create sores on their hocks.
This brings about the greatest dangers of bumblefoot – infection! When a rabbit often sits on urine-soaked feces, they are prone to skin infection.
This kind of environment encourages the development of sores on rabbit’s feet. Bunnies with weaker immunity are likely to get bumblefoot this way.
Damp bedding, damp flooring and anything exposing a rabbit's feet to moisture too often, brings about bumblefoot. These are not good for a rabbit's back feet.
It's normal for rabbits to thump their feet. And when they do it so much, it can wear away their hocks leading to this issue. This is a rabbit behavior you can't control.
Some rabbit breeds like the Rex rabbits have a very fine fur that easily wears away with friction. It makes them more vulnerable to bumblefoot.
In addition, ulcerative pododermatitis is common with Large breeds of rabbits like the checkered giants and Flemish giants.
Ulcerative pododermatitis can also occur when rabbit's are infected by the following bacteria:
Pasteurella multocida (pasteurellosis)
Sore hocks in bunnies can come with symptoms that differ depending on the seriousness of the condition.
Here are some of the signs you will see if your rabbit is developing sore hocks:
Loss of fur around their heel
Swelling and redness
All of these can lead to further symptoms such as:
Abnormal posture (standing, sitting, and walking)
Unwillingness to walk
Refusing to eat
Pain and discomfort
Inflammation of the tendons/ deeper tissues (tendonitis)
Bone marrow infection (osteomyelitis)
Swelling of the joint tissue (synovitis)
It's best if your veterinarian does the first treatment. Afterwards, you can continue the subsequent treatments at home.
However, here's how the treatment of sore hocks should be:
Understand that the affected area must be cleaned before further treatment. However, if your bunny is feeling so much pain from the infection, it might try to struggle during the cleaning process.
Try to keep your rabbit calm, as this process is one you should not skip. Use any suitable wound cleaner to clean the affected foot. Afterward, you can apply antibiotic cream to it!
After the sore and skin around the affected foot are clean, wrap it with a bandage. All you need is a bandage and a gauze pad or any soft cotton.
Start by placing a gauze pad right underneath the feet (right on the sores). After doing this, begin to wrap the rabbit’s foot with the bandage.
As you wrap the foot, wrap up to the rabbits lower leg - a little bit above the ankle area. The entire bandaging should look like a “bootie”. Your vet should show you how to properly bandage your rabbit’s feet.
Furthermore, there's no need to wrap their feet up to their toes. Moreover, make sure you do not wrap the foot too tight or too loose. If it's loose, it will easily shift away from the foot.
Probably, the bandage can slide up to their knee area or slide out through the toes. On the other hand, a tight bandage won’t allow blood to easily flow to the rabbit’s feet.
Remember, bumblefoot can be painful and rabbits can be uncomfortable during treatment. Hence, try to keep them calm and reward them with treats often while they receive treatments.
Since ulcerative pododermatitis is a bacterial infection, it’s important to include antibiotics during the treatment. Normally, a vet will prescribe antibiotics for you to use.
In addition, it could be oral antibiotics in liquid form. Rabbits can take this through a syringe. Moreover, antibiotics in this oral form are ideal for serious stages of ulcerative pododermatitis.
Additionally, you can use antibiotic ointments. Your rabbit does not need to take this kind of antibiotic into their bodies. Antibiotic ointments are applied directly to the sore instead.
Not all antibiotics are ideal for treating ulcerative pododermatitis. Most antibiotics can reduce the important bacteria in your rabbit’s guts. And this can lead to gastrointestinal (GI) issues.
Sore hocks normally come with pain as a symptom, especially when it’s in a severe stage. Hence, you should help your rabbit feel better by giving them pain medications.
It’s equally important that you get one recommended by the vet, especially for ulcerative pododermatitis. These pain medications are normally anti-inflammatory drugs.
When giving pain medication to a rabbit, it’s not easy for them to take it the way humans do. So you should try grinding it, especially if it’s in pill form, and mix with their favorite foods or treats.
Continue home care and treatment while your rabbit recovers. Rabbits don't like bandages, so do not be surprised if they rip it off very often.
However, it should not stop you from bandaging their affected foot whenever you need to do so. But do not forget to always clean the affected foot before bandaging it.
A veterinarian might give you some antibacterial solutions to do the cleaning at home. Moreover, always follow the instructions the vet gives you.
It's equally important that you change the bandages and pads whenever they get wet. If they are wet and remain on the rabbit’s feet, they will contribute to sore hocks rather than helping to heal them.
Above all, visit the vet regularly for check ups and inspection of the recovery process.
As a bunny owner, here are the things you need to do to keep sore hocks far from your rabbit.
Make sure you keep your rabbit’s nails short to ensure they don’t stand, sit or walk with much weight placed on its heel. Click here to know how to trim your rabbit’s nails properly.
Generally, poor hygiene is very bad for the health of a rabbit. Specifically, a dirty cage littered with poop and pee brings about sore hocks infection.
Most importantly, make sure you clean up regularly even before your rabbit's poop and pee accumulates.
In addition to this, you can potty train your rabbit so it does not mess up every corner of its cage. Disinfecting your rabbit's cage often can help get rid of bacteria.
If your rabbit has so much weight, adjust its diet and avoid foods that could promote unhealthy weight gain. Just keep their diet balanced!
In addition, you should encourage your rabbit to exercise very often, preferably daily.
Take your time to prepare suitable flooring in your rabbit’s enclosure. What’s more, you should avoid wire flooring or using abrasive materials for your rabbit flooring.
It should be soft enough not to place so much pressure on a rabbit's feet. Go for soft cotton or layers of fleece.
Keep your bunny's flooring and bedding dry. A damp surface will encourage bacteria growth and skin issues.
So whenever your rabbit's living area is damp, take your bunny out of it until it's dry.
Get a more spacious cage for your rabbit if it’s too small. If a rabbit can’t fully stretch out in their cages, then it’s too small for them.
If a rabbit can’t stretch out often, it will sit straight most of the time. And this puts more pressure on their back foot, which you don’t want.
Regularly inspect your rabbit’s hocks, preferably daily. It can help you catch the development of sore hocks earlier. An early stage of ulcerative pododermatitis is always easier to treat!
Carpets, although being somewhat soft, can cause rug burns, which creates soreness around the bunny's feet. This can eventually bring about sore hocks.
Ulcerative pododermatitis is normally not a fatal condition especially when treated early. However, you should know that it’s a deep infection in a rabbit’s heel.
Hence, when it reaches a severe stage, it will be very difficult or nearly impossible to treat. As a result, the infection will greatly affect the rabbit’s health in many ways that can lead to death.
No, sore hocks do not go away on their own. When it occurs, you have to treat it as soon as possible. It might never heal if it reaches a very severe stage.
This condition can easily return often. Hence, you should try as much as possible to reduce the chances of it happening again.
To conclude, sore hocks are bacteria infections on a rabbit's hock area.
Moreover, bumblefoot can occur from different factors including a direct infection from certain bacteria. However, the good thing is that you can prevent it.
Certainly, this article has shown you how to do just that. Remember that loss of fur around the rabbits heel is normally the first sign of ulcerative pododermatitis.
Hence, you should monitor your rabbit’s feet for this and other early signs everyday, if possible.
And when you notice any signs, do not hesitate to meet the vet for a sore hock diagnosis. It’s always better to spot it early so it doesn’t reach a more severe and painful stage.
No doubt, sore hocks can be a serious concern. Nevertheless, with the right treatment, your rabbit will happily hop around in no time.
If you're a new rabbit owner and just got a bunny for the first time, don't leave without reading our full bunny guide!
Bunnies can’t speak to us like kids do whenever they’re not feeling too well. For this reason, knowing about their health status can be a bit challenging. However, there are other ways to know about your rabbit’s well-being.
And a common way is through their poop. That’s right! If you just got your first rabbit, you might not know this, but rabbit poops say a lot about their health.
However, their poop can come in different ways and a majority are abnormal. This article will reveal all you need to know about the different rabbit poop and what they tell you about your bunny’s health.
That’s right, fecal pellets refer to normal and healthy rabbit poop. Fecal pellets are quite similar to cocoa puffs in appearance.
Furthermore, this is the kind you should be happy seeing your bunny producing. Moreover, you need to get familiar with your bunny’s normal poop.
It can help give you clues about what seems right or not in your rabbit's diet and health, in general.
Moreover, you can easily identify a normal rabbit poop with the description below:
A normal rabbit poop should be about 7-12 mm in diameter. This means they could be as small as green peas to about the size of chicken peas.
They take the form of tiny round balls. However, some poops might occasionally have a slightly different structure and that’s normal.
But if you continue to see non-round poop very often, it could be a sign of digestive issues. Hence, you should take your rabbit to the vet.
A normal rabbit poop color can be dark brown to light one. Whether dark or light brown color, what matters the most is if the poops have a uniform color.
Healthy rabbit poop doesn’t smell bad at all. In fact, most of the odor in a bunny's cage or litter box comes from their urine.
It should feel hard, not soft. And If broken open, it should appear dusty inside.
Now you should know that rabbits produce two kinds of normal poops. And we’ve just looked at the first one – “fecal Pellets”. Moreover, the second normal rabbit dropping you may see are cecotropes.
Similar to rabbit normal pellets, cecotropes are also healthy kinds of rabbit poop. In addition, cecotropes are tiny clusters of soft pellets that are equally loaded with nutrients for your rabbit.
They are essential dietary items formed from the indigestible parts of a rabbit’s diet. So when you often see or hear about a rabbit eating its poop, these kinds of poops are cecotropes.
Rabbits eat them to receive all the nutrients their food offers. Cecotropes are important for your bunnies.
Moreover, here's how to easily identify cecotropes:
Appear tiny on their own with a diameter that’s only a few millimeters. However, when they’re in clusters, they can be about 1-2 in () small.
Their shape depends on how many single cecotrope clusters together. Cecotropes normally appear in a berry-like shape together.
These bunny poops are normally dark brown with a little shine due to the thin mucus layer that covers them.
They can stink a lot, especially when the thin membrane covering them is torn.
These kinds of rabbit poops have a sticky and soft texture, which can easily turn to paste.
It’s rare to see so many cecotropes lying around like normal fecal pellets. This is because rabbits normally eat them directly from their anus.
Moreover, rabbits don’t normally produce too many cecotropes. However, when they do, it mostly happens because their diet is high in sugar content.
So take note of this and make sure your bunny isn't getting too much sugar from the foods you serve to it.
Oftentimes, rabbit poop can be in a chain form. They’ll appear like pearls on a single string.
But in this case, the string holding these poops together is a rabbit hair strand. In addition, this poop is quite common and your bunny is likely to produce it.
However, it’s a common poop you’ll see long-haired rabbit breeds producing. During the seasons that rabbits shed fur, they tend to consume more fur. And this could also bring about this kind of poop.
However, your rabbit shouldn’t produce so much of this poop. A large amount of these kinds of poops indicates that your rabbit is consuming plenty of hair.
See how to identify strung-together rabbit poop below:
Poops strung together should all have a similar size. And if the gaps between every poop strung together are similar, it indicates your rabbit’s digestive system is doing pretty well.
They should appear in the form of well-rounded balls. However, some poops on the hair strand can be misshapen, but it’s not always like this.
Every poop on the string should be uniform in color. It could be a dark or light brown color.
Rabbit cannot vomit. So when so much hair gets into their system, they can only excrete it like poop. However, you should know that it’s a lot of work for a rabbit’s digestive tract to push these hairs through the system.
This can likely form hairballs and block your rabbit system. Hence, you can prevent this if you take your time each day to groom your rabbit.
Brush their fur at least once a day. This greatly helps in reducing the amount of hair your rabbit ingests.
Rabbits regularly produce new poop which is a sign that their digestive system is working fine. Bunnies' digestive system works in a very smooth and orderly way.
As a result, the normal poops they excrete are very similar in size and color, and structure. Nevertheless, a rabbit’s gut can slow down a bit sometimes.
This, in turn, changes the form of their poop. It can start to appear doubled – two poop colliding together. Moreover, this kind of poop appears longer but retains the color and texture of healthy poop.
Furthermore, if you see a few of these poop around plenty of healthy poop (fecal pellets), it’s normal and not something you need to worry about. It can be momentarily and occur when your rabbit gets stressed suddenly.
However, a lot of double poops and indicate that your rabbit’s gut is slowing down beyond normal. At this point, you should see a vet as soon as possible. Your rabbit’s gut health matters a lot!
Rabbits' poops are small, but there are times their poop can appear much smaller. And this tiny kind of poop is a sign that something isn’t fine with your rabbit.
Additionally, it can come from stress or a disturbing illness. Nevertheless, if you’ve checked and your rabbit has no sign of illness whatsoever, then you shouldn't panic.
Small-sized droppings should return to normal, healthy pellets if everything is okay with your rabbit. It can take a couple of hours.
However, if your rabbit's poo continues to be pretty small, it means your bunny is ill or experiencing discomfort. Hence, you shouldn't hesitate to take your rabbit to a vet.
These are small misshapen a rabbit's poop, which normally means your rabbit is not doing fine. When you notice these kinds of poops, you need to see the vet.
These deformed poop are normally caused by dehydration and poor feeding. In addition, it can result from gut blockage and when food can’t pass through your rabbit’s digestive tract easily.
Above all, you should take this seriously and have it treated like any other serious health issue in rabbits. However, there are situations where it’s normal to see your rabbit's poop like this.
A normal occurrence is when rabbits are recovering from GI stasis or surgeries they had.
Cecal dysbiosis is another kind of abnormal rabbit poo. Moreover, they are cecotropes that are uniform and not in clusters.
Furthermore, these uniformed cecotropes have a paste-like texture, which is equally sticky. This gummy texture makes it easily stick to a rabbit’s butt area and eventually form a ball of poop.
In addition, cecal dysbiosis stinks a lot and normally will attract flies. This abnormal rabbit poop can occur when gut bacteria in rabbit systems become unstable.
Moreover, these poops are common symptoms of stress or diseases. Some of the most common causes of this unhealthy poop include:
Low fiber diet
High sugar diet
Urinary tract disorders
Upper respiratory diseases
Cecal dysbiosis isn’t harmful especially when it lasts for only a short while. It can resolve on its own.
However, if your rabbit's poop keeps appearing as uniformed cecotropes for a long time, you should take them to the vet so it doesn’t develop into a very serious condition.
Another mushy rabbit poop is true diarrhea. And just like the uniformed cecotropes, they are equally cecotropes but very mushy ones.
In other words, true diarrhea is just the same as runny stool. Moreover, this kind of abnormal poop is mostly common in baby bunnies.
That’s right! When baby rabbits are weaned very early, they’re likely to experience true diarrhea. This is because they don’t yet have strong immunity against harmful bacteria that can cause problems in their bodies.
On the other hand, adult rabbits can also experience diarrhea, but it comes mostly from poisoning or infections from parasites.
Nevertheless, mushy cecotropes are not common rabbit poops, but they are dangerous. Hence, as soon as you see your bunny producing these kinds of poop, don’t hesitate to see a vet.
Generally, rabbit fecal pellets dry up after a while and it’s natural. But when rabbits' pellets appear dry immediately after they poop, it can mean your rabbit is dehydrated.
These kinds of rabbit poop do not only appear dry but also crumbly and out of form. It can be dry to the extent that freshly secreted poop will be so fragile and can fall apart easily.
Additionally, you should know that intestinal disturbances, a low-fiber diet, or appetite loss can equally bring about dry rabbit poop.
First, this is way different from the thin mucus that normally covers healthy cecotropes, which we discussed earlier. This particular mucus in rabbit poop is very easy to notice.
This mucus has a jelly-like appearance with a thick and slimy nature. Moreover, it normally appears connecting rabbit fecal pellets.
Sometimes this mucus covers rabbit poop entirely. However, you can also see your rabbit producing this mucus separately without being attached to fecal pellets.
Furthermore, you should know that his abnormal rabbit poop mostly happens due to intestinal disturbances. And some common causes of these intestinal issues are cecal impaction, parasite infection, or mucoid enteropathy.
Moreover, it's very common to see your rabbit producing this poop when they are experiencing GI Stasis. More specifically, it happens when they are about to experience it or afterward.
In addition, mucus in poop is another rare kind of rabbit dropping. Nevertheless, it's the kind of rabbit poop you should worry about. If your rabbit produces it, visit the vet along with a sample of the poop.
Numerous factors can bring about an abnormality in rabbit poops. However, some factors are the most common causes and we’ll be looking at them below:
Feeding rabbits foods high in sugar can create problems in their gastrointestinal tract. And these problems can range from mild ones to serious ones.
Moreover, a diet lacking fiber can also cause problems in your rabbit's digestive system. Moreover, a major symptom of these gastrointestinal problems in rabbits is unhealthy poop.
Some common parasites in rabbits' guts include roundworms, tapeworms, and pinworms. These parasites can cause diarrhea or runny poops in rabbits.
Rabbits have a sensitive digestive system. And this makes their gut vulnerable to illness including the ones that aren't even associated with digestion.
Additionally, if rabbits experience discomfort due to certain illnesses or feel stressed, they can start to have abnormal droppings.
This condition does no good to rabbits and many other small pets. If a rabbit is overweight, it won’t move around very much.
Moreover, lack of movement or exercise normally makes their gut slow down. As a result, rabbits will start to excrete mushy cecotropes and some other abnormal poops that appear tiny or deformed.
When you notice your rabbit isn’t pooping at all or stopped pooping for a long period, it might be experiencing gastrointestinal Stasis. This condition has to do with the slowing down or total halting of a rabbit’s gut.
In other words, GI stasis means your rabbit’s digestion has stopped functioning. And the result is your rabbit not pooping. Furthermore, a vet needs to attend to this condition immediately.
Your bunny can recover if you notice the symptoms early. However, if your rabbit experiences GI stasis for long it can become a more serious condition and lead to death.
To help you easily monitor this condition, here are some signs that a rabbit is experiencing GI Stasis:
Rabbit refuses to eat – Not even their favorite snack!
Tommy produces loud sounds or none
Rabbit feels tired
Your bunny might have a hunched posture
A low-fiber diet
Very Little or no exercise
Stress and anxiety
Pain from illness or injuries – kidney diseases, dental issues, etc.
Serve your bunny lots of hay every day. They are high in fiber!
Eliminate stressors. Ensure your rabbit's environment comfortable as possible
Encourage your bunny to engage in lots of physical exercises very often
Keep your pet hydrated
Visit the vet regularly for check-ups
Monitor your rabbit for GI stasis symptoms from time to time
To conclude, you now understand how the nature of rabbit poop can tell you about your pet's well-being.
As a rabbit owner, you need to be able to differentiate rabbit normal poops from abnormal ones. Hence, you know the kind of poops you should be happy seeing.
It's equally important that you make it a habit to monitor your rabbit’s droppings from time to time.
This way, you’ll be aware of their health status. More especially, it helps to keep you updated about the condition of your rabbit's digestive system.
Now that you know so much about rabbit poop, you shouldn't forget that rabbits can make a mess everywhere with their poop.
This is where potty training your rabbit comes in handy. It's easy to do. Click here for the complete step-by-step guide!
Rabbit nail trimming is an important aspect of rabbit care, especially when it comes to grooming. Pet rabbits do experience overgrown nails from time to time. These nails keep growing just the same way their teeth do.
Leaving it that way can be very uncomfortable for both you and your pet. If you hold your rabbit times and see scratches afterward on your arms, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
However, if you do not have a way to wear them down, you need to trim them often. However, if you do it wrongly, you might hurt your fluffy pet during the process.
However, there's no need to worry. To make sure you get it right, I’ve put up an article that will guide you in every step in trimming your rabbit’s nails.
Keep reading below!
GOT YOUR FIRST-EVER BUNNY? - READ THIS GUIDE!
Before we jump into the nail trimming guide, here are the few things you need to get your rabbit’s nails trimmed successfully.
Get a pair of animal nail clippers, especially the ones made for cats or bunnies. These kinds of clippers have a rounded edge, which suits the nature of your rabbit’s claws.
You will as well need a helping hand. S/he will help hold your rabbit for you. It makes nail trimming very easy.
Get dry towels. To wrap your rabbit as well as the surface where you'll place them.
Get a cotton ball and a styptic powder ready. They're both for emergencies. Just in case you clip your rabbit’s nails too short and it starts to bleed
Remember to get some treats for your rabbit. Your rabbit needs to be as comfortable as possible.
A rabbit has a vein inside each nail called a quick. This quick is the blood supply that goes into the rabbit’s nail. Moreover, you can spot the quick through its light pinkish color.
Most importantly, you should try to avoid the quick when trimming the nails. If you cut through the quick, it will bleed and equally hurt your rabbit. And you do not want this, right? So, your goal is to cut below the quick!
Start by placing your rabbit on a stable surface that’s high above the ground. This makes rabbit nail clipping easier as you don’t have to bend while doing it.
Additionally, it prevents your rabbit from hopping away. Moreover, don’t always place a towel on the surface before placing your rabbit on it. This helps your rabbit gain a good grip on it.
Once your pet is on the surface, wrap it in a towel. Now, this is when your holder (the other person) comes in handy. However, you can still do this yourself.
Simply hold your rabbit close to you (against your body). This way, they’ll feel secure. In addition, this process aims to keep your rabbit calm and under control for their safety.
However, if your rabbit gets uncomfortable and starts to struggle during this process, you should stop right away and restart the whole thing. As soon as your pet calms down, set them up again.
Moreover, you shouldn’t forget to reward your rabbit with treats for being calm. At the same time, this can lure them to be wrapped in the towel again.
Start by wrapping one arm around your rabbit. Afterward, grab and gently pull each front paw out from beneath your rabbit with the same arm.
This should be your left arm, as your right arm will handle the clipping. However, it should be the other way around if you are left-handed.
In addition, a better way to do this is to have someone else (your holder) hold your rabbit foot out for you to clip. All you’ll have to concentrate on is trimming your pet’s nails.
First of all, you should know that your rabbit has a total of five claws on each front paw – four true claws and a dewclaw. Hence, you will be trimming 10 claws in total on your rabbit’s front feet.
Nevertheless, when your rabbit’s paw is held out, do not clip it immediately. Try to locate the quick first! However, you can't spot it easily and most rabbits have darker-colored nails, which make it even harder.
An easy way to do this is to squeeze their claw gently with the clipper. This should be a squeeze that isn’t meant to clip through the nail. If you do this and your rabbit reacts or draws back its paw, it indicates that you’re too close to the quick.
However, if you accidentally cut through the quick and it starts to bleed, clean the injured nail with a cotton ball and apply styptic powder to it quickly. Afterward, continue to trim all the nails short on your rabbit’s front paws.
Pro Advice: Take a break from time to time during nail clipping, pet your rabbit to keep them calm, and equally offer them some treats!
Unlike the front feet, rabbit toenails are eight altogether. So you only need to take care of four nails each on their back feet.
However, trimming nails on your rabbit’s back paws can be quite challenging, especially if you do it alone. This is why you need to take care of their front feet first.
As you grab your rabbit by the hind feet, it might try to hop away. To make this easy, lift your rabbit by its chest with one arm allowing only its back feet to be on the table (surface).
If you have someone hold your rabbit for you in this position, it’s way easier. Whichever way you do this, carefully begin to trim your rabbit’s toenails.
However, if you accidentally cut through the quick and a nail starts bleeding, do not hesitate to use the styptic powder.
Carefully inspect all your rabbit’s feet to make sure you’ve given them a good nail trim. Moreover, you should do this one foot at a time to make sure everything is okay.
It’s equally important that you check every of your rabbit's feet for nails you clipped too short that might b bleeding. Clean it up and apply styptic powder to it immediately.
Give your rabbit treats as a prize for good behavior and a job well done. This can encourage your pet to comply much better during the next nail-clipping session.
When your rabbit's nails are so long that they begin to create problems, it means they are overgrown. These overgrown nails can leave severe rabbit scratches on your body whenever you handle your pet.
But that’s not all! If your rabbit nails keep growing beyond an appropriate length, the “quick” in the nails grows too. This way, it will be harder to clip your rabbit’s nails short.
To restore their nails to an appropriate length, you have to clip off only the tip of their nails very often – about every week. Moreover, this will allow the quick to adjust to the nail size gradually.
When a rabbit has very long nails can experience problems where its nails can get trapped on materials like carpets. As a result, these nails are likely to break or rip off when your pet quickly moves or struggles to set itself free.
Overgrown rabbit nails can equally stress the feet. Your rabbit will try to adjust its weight due to excessively long nails. This, in turn, can make your pet walk abnormally.
First of all, you should know that this rarely happens. However, certain accidents can bring about this issue.
For instance, a rabbit can suddenly move when its nail is about to be clipped. And as a result, the nail can completely rip off. Stop the bleeding with a cotton ball and then leave your rabbit to do the rest of the cleaning.
Furthermore, you need to inspect the wound from time to time to make sure there’s no infection whatsoever. In addition to this, swelling or redness around the nail root is not a good sign.
When you notice this, it means you need to take your pet to the vet right away. However, in the absence of any infection, your rabbit should be totally fine in a short while.
As for the injured digit, the nail is likely to grow back or not. But regardless of the outcome, your rabbit will still move about freely without issues.
A rabbit needs to be properly restrained during nail clipping. If a rabbit isn't relaxed, many problems can arise.
Hence, you have to make sure the rabbit is calm before and while you trim nails. Begin this by slowly wrapping the bunny in a towel.
Afterward, you should pet the rabbit so that they are relaxed. Do this by gently stroking the rabbit’s head and back. A way to know if rabbits are relaxed is to watch their eyes.
That’s right! Their eyes should be slightly or fully closed. In addition, while trimming rabbit nails, talk calmly to them to make them feel more comfortable.
Make out time every month for rabbit nail clipping. However, I recommend that you clip your rabbit’s nails whenever you notice they’ve grown so long.
All you have to do is monitor their nail length from time to time. Spotting a rabbit’s overgrown nails differs from rabbit to rabbit.
For a furry rabbit with long hair, you should check if the nails are growing beyond the excess fur on the paws. If this is the case, your bunny’s nails are pretty long and require trimming.
Alternatively, you can check if your rabbit’s claws have started to curl. This applies to every breed. Moreover, it’s another simple way to know when your rabbit nails need trimming. Above all, whenever you trim, aim for only the tip of the nails.
Rabbits naturally trim their nails unknowingly and this is common with wild rabbits. In the wild, they live in warrens – a large community of rabbit burrows.
So, a major activity they do is digging burrows. They spend a lot of them doing this. As a result, it keeps their nails in check. While digging around their dirt, their nails often erode. And this prevents it from overgrowing.
Similarly, you can provide your pet rabbit with hard surfaces to walk on and areas to burrow very often. These are good ways to keep their nails short without clipping them.
No, do not clip rabbit nails with human nail clippers. These kinds of clippers are made for humans’ thin and flat nails. Rabbits on the other hand have very thick and round nails.
Hence, the ideal clippers to use are animal nail clippers, especially for small pet animals. However, in case you can’t find nail clippers made for small animals like guinea pigs and rabbits, cat nail clippers are fine to use.
To sum up, I hope I’ve shown you how to trim your rabbit’s nails easily. As part of rabbit care, your pet’s nails must be kept short. Remember never to use human nail clippers to do it.
In addition, it’s always good to start nail trimming when your rabbit is still very young so they can get used to it over time. As you do it, try as much as possible to stay away from the quick.
I understand that trimming your rabbit nails can be frightening, but don’t be discouraged. Many rabbit owners fear doing it at first, but with time they learned to handle it.
Hence, if you’ve checked and you’re sure that rabbit nail clipping isn’t something you can handle, feel free to take your pet to the vet.
Your rabbit’s health is very important. So your goal should be to have your bunny's nails trimmed in the safest way possible.
If you found this article helpful or have some more tips to add, please comment below.
Pasteurellosis is a common disease in many domestic animals including rabbits. It can appear to be a respiratory disease, inflammation, and many other conditions.
This can give you concern, especially if your bunny happens to be showing signs of it. Understanding what pasteurellosis is all about is an important step in helping your affected rabbit get better.
Hence, in this article, we'll be looking at this disease in rabbits, its symptoms, effects, and how to manage it more effectively.
Keep reading below…
RECOMMENDED READING: COMPLETE RABBIT CARE GUIDE
Pasteurellosis affects both wild and pet rabbits. And the pathogen behind this disease is known as “Pasteurella multocida” (a gram-negative bacteria). It’s among the many species under the Pasteurella genus. Unlike other species, P. multocida brings about various diseases.
So, it’s not just one way your rabbits can be infected but different ways. What's more, this pathogen can spread from one area of the body to other parts through the blood.
Rabbits can have Pasteurella in their bodies naturally. Moreover, they can also contact it. These bacteria normally stay in the mouth and respiratory tract of the rabbit. And it can remain there for as long as possible without causing any harm.
Reports from several studies revealed that if a test is conducted on a group of bunnies, about 20-60 % will carry the Pasteurella bacteria without signs of any infections. So this means that the outcome of this disease relies on something more than the pathogen itself.
On one hand, some infected rabbits can suffer a wild range of health issues caused by the P. multocida pathogen. On the other hand, some rabbits have strong immunities that control or get rid of the bacteria. This way, it doesn’t lead to diseases.
All rabbits aren't the same and you can't assume your pet has strong immunity to fight the bacteria. Pasteurella infections come with different symptoms, which will be discussed next.
Rabbits affected by the P. multocida bacteria will show some common clinical signs. Here are the symptoms that indicate the presence of this pathogen in a rabbit.
Tilting of head
Sores on the Skin
Certain health conditions can result from the Pasteurella multocida infection in rabbits. See the below:
This a very common way Pasteurella can affect your rabbits. This bacteria can affect your rabbit’s respiratory tract which consists of the nasal cavity, mouth, larynx, pharynx, and sinuses.
As a result, rabbits can suffer an upper respiratory disease depending on the affected area. These kinds of diesases include:
Rhinitis - Inflammation of the nasal cavity
Sinusitis - Inflammation of the sinus cavity
In addition, this upper respiratory infection is also called “snuffles” and it comes with various clinical symptoms. A common one is sneezing.
In addition to this, you might notice nasal discharges from the rabbit's nasal cavity. They appear milky in color. Moreover, this nasal discharge can be uniformly thick or thin with the presence of lumps of white materials.
An affected rabbit can also experience an eye infection, which normally accompanies an upper respiratory disease. One of them is conjunctivitis where the rabbit's eyes look pink and inflamed.
Another eye condition is known as dacryocystitis. Here, a rabbit suffers inflammation of the tear sacs, which results from a blocked tear duct. This issue can be painful with clinical signs like watery eyes and eye redness.
Pasteurella multocida can easily get to a rabbit’s middle ear through the nasal passages. And when this happens, it can result in a disease known as otitis media.
If your pet bunny is scratching the base of its ear, this is a clinical sign that it’s already experiencing this disease. When pus build-ups in the infected part, it can further create vestibular diseases.
And the common signs of this disease are tilting of the head and uncontrolled movements of the eyes. Furthermore, this middle ear infection can cause a lack of muscle control and coordination. This condition can affect the movement and balance of your pet rabbit.
This is another respiratory disease that’s associated with Pasteurella multocida infection. But this time, it’s the lower respiratory tract that’s affected.
Parts of the lower respiratory tract of a rabbit include the lungs, trachea, and bronchi. And when they're affected, they can eventually cause pneumonia in rabbits.
Affected rabbits can also experience coughing and difficulty breathing. And in most cases, mouth breathing may occur. Mouth breathing isn’t a good condition for rabbits as healthy bunnies only breathe through their noses.
Lowers respiratory infections lower the amount of oxygen a rabbit receives. As a result, the affected rabbit can become weak and reluctant to move around.
What’s more, a lower respiratory disease is very critical. It can send your pet to the vet immediately.
This condition is also caused by the Pasteurella multocida infection and it can be pretty difficult to treat. An abscess is an inflamed area that surrounds a cluster of pus.
It forms anywhere on a rabbit’s body. What’s more, it can form inside their bodies too. As Pasteurella is mostly found in the nasal cavity, it can easily get into your rabbit wounds when they lick and groom themselves.
If this happens, abscesses may occur on the infected wounds. This is how abscess mostly forms on a rabbit's body.
Pasteurella can cause infections in the genital areas of rabbits. Male rabbits, they’ll experience inflammations in one or both testicles (orchitis). This disease can be painful and your male bunny can become sterile.
On the other hand, the uterus of females gets infected. This disease is known as pyometra and can also make them barren. Hence, if you need your rabbit to produce young ones, this condition is something you have to take seriously. Visit the vet immediately for the necessary treatment.
Stress is a major trigger of these bacteria in rabbits. And you don’t want these bacteria to cause health issues for your pets. So you must try to keep stressors far from your pet rabbits.
Rabbits shouldn’t experience heat as it can stress them. These creatures even tolerate cold environments much better. Bunnies are social pets and love company.
So keeping them alone can stress them. Make sure you get a cage mate for your rabbit. However, you should never allow their cage to be overcrowded.
It stresses them too! Getting them cage mates doesn’t mean including lots of rabbits in a cage. Above all, the goal is to make your pet happy and comfortable.
A proper diet helps optimize your rabbit’s health to battle pathogens in its body. And Pasterulla isn’t an exception here.
We’ve seen in this article that most rabbits have stronger immunity that helps them control the Pasterulla in their bodies than others. Now that you know this, you need to make sure your pet is eating right.
Hence, you need to offer your bunny steady hay and grass every day. Moreover, include moderate amounts of pellets, fruits, and veggies. Most importantly, you should always give them fresh water.
Feeding your rabbits will help strengthen their immunity against the Pasteurella pathogen. Poor nutrition will do the opposite.
A clean environment is necessary to keep your pet comfortable and healthy. Take your time to create a good living environment for your rabbit.
Clean their cages regularly and most importantly, keep the water clean at all times. This is basic care and it's very important if you want to prevent Pasteurella multocida from making your bunny sick.
Since Pasteurella multocida is transmittable, you should isolate affected rabbits from the healthy ones. This is important to keep other rabbits safe while trying to treat the affected ones.
Moreover, if you have other pet animals in the house like dogs or cats, you should keep them away from rabbits affected by Pasteurella. Doing this is necessary so you don’t add more to your problems.
Most times clinical signs aren’t enough to prove your rabbit is suffering from a Pasteurella infection. Pasteurellosis comprises health conditions that have similar symptoms to many common diseases.
So the best way is to visit a vet for a thorough checkup and tests. A culture and sensitivity test is a common one. However, a vet can also run a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, which is more effective.
Through these tests, a vet can confirm if the disease your bunny is experiencing is caused by Pasteurella multocida or not. And this is pretty helpful so you know what exactly you’re treating and the best treatments for it.
Antibiotics can come in handy in treating infections associated with Pasteurella multocida. Some of the effective ones include:
Pasteurella in Rabbit is contagious to Humans. This equally means you can get it from your pet rabbit, especially when s/he is already showing symptoms of the infection.
A rabbit carrying Pasteurella can transmit it to you mostly through direct contact with its nasal discharges. Moreover, this pathogen is transmittable through the air.
When your rabbit sneezes, the pathogens are released into the air. And you can contact them when you breathe, especially during inhalation.
It depends on the strain of Pasteurella multocida. Not all strains of P. multocida have serious consequences If it’s mild and the rabbit has strong immunity, there’s every possibility for the rabbit to get better without any treatment.
However, the rabbit will become a carrier and the bacteria will live in them. Moreover, this shouldn’t be a concern. Rabbits with visible symptoms of it can live till old age.
Pasteurellosis is a very common issue in rabbits. Rabbits normally carry the pathogen behind this health issue – P. multocida. Moreover, this is an easily transmittable pathogen.
However, the health issues associated with Pasteurella can come with many clinical signs. And the earlier you spot the signs of the infection, the easier it is to treat it. A chronic condition might be difficult to treat.
As a conscious bunny parent, you can reduce the chances of Pasteurella making your pet sick. Mae sure your rabbit is happy and living without stress. Feed your bunny properly and make sure it stays in a clean environment.
Above all, do not hesitate to take your pet to the vet if it experiences health issues likely caused by the Pasteurella pathogen.