As a pet owner, your rabbit’s health is your number one priority. You are shocked to notice them losing hair and weight. A rabbit has a normal shedding and grooming cycle, however, when that hair does not grow back you begin to feel concerned. Your pet’s weight is dropping drastically as well. So, why is your rabbit losing hair and weight?
Rabbits may lose weight and hair as a result of parasitic infection, dental problems, or other health problems. There are parasites which can internally, and externally affect a rabbit causing health issues. Dental problems will cause a loss of appetite as well as saliva burn (responsible for hair loss).
I will be discussing the health conditions associated with hair weight loss in rabbits. Since parasites and dental issues are a common denominator in both of these losses, I will discuss how these play a role in a rabbit’s health as well. Lastly, I will explore ways to help slow, or stop, weight and hair loss.
Losing Weight and Fur; Why is Your Rabbit Suffering These Losses? There Are a Number of Different Health Conditions that Can Contribute to Hair or Weight Loss in Rabbits. One of the Common Factors is Parasites. Parasites are Known for Causing Both Hair and Weight Loss. Dental Problems Can Also Contribute to the Loss of Both Weight and Hair for a Rabbit.
If you notice your pet is dropping weight and losing their hair, you are probably wondering why. One of the most common reasons for this is parasites. Parasites can live in the fur and feed off their host externally, as well as internally. This causes a loss of hair as well as weight.
Dental problems such as teeth being too long, and saliva burn are also known to cause hair and weight loss in rabbits. If a rabbit’s teeth get too long, it becomes difficult for them to eat and chew, so they may stop eating. Saliva burn causes fur loss under the chin, on the dewlap, and on the chest.
If a rabbit has irritated fur and skin, excessive saliva production, and weight loss, they may have a condition known as “ptyalism.”
Ptyalism can be caused by overheating and misaligned teeth.
Urinary tract disorders are also known for causing hair loss on the hind quarters of a rabbit. If the rabbit feels discomfort from a urinary tract infection, they may refuse to eat, resulting in weight loss as well.
How do Parasites and Dental Issues Play a Role in Hair and Weight Loss for Rabbits? When it Comes to Hair Loss, There Are a Variety of Parasites Who Live in the Fur and Skin of a Rabbit. They Feed in a Way that Causes Hair Loss. Parasites Also Live Inside of a Rabbit So They May Absorb the Nutrients Intended for the Rabbit. Dental Issues Take on Various Forms as Well. Ranging from Tooth Overgrowth, to Misaligned Teeth, to Excessive Saliva Production.
Fur loss can be caused by a type of parasite known as a mite that will infest rabbits. There are different kinds of mites, including:
- Mange mites
- Fur mites
- Ear canker mites
Along with mites, rabbits are able to be infested with fleas. A flea infestation can cause itching that is so severe that the rabbit itches their own fur off.
Mange is a skin condition in which a concentration of mange mites causes large beige, or white crusts on the skin of a rabbit. These will usually begin around the borders of the ears, edges of the eyelids, nose, mouth, and toes. As the rabbit continues to itch, bacteria spreads throughout the skin, spreading the infection farther along the body.
The farther mange spreads, the more hair loss will occur on a rabbit’s body.
Fur mites are not as extreme as canker mites or mange mites; however, their presence is still uncomfortable for rabbits. They leave flaky pieces all over the fur, which may result in hair falling out in more severe cases.
Ear cankers are one of the worst types of mite infestations a rabbit can suffer. They are painful, nasty, and will leave permanent damage even after the mites are gone.
Coccidia, cryptosporidium, and worms are internal parasites that can cause weight loss in rabbits. They are known for causing diarrhea, appetite loss, and loss of energy. These can be caught from eating grass outdoors. These parasites can cause liver failure and even death if they are not treated.
When it comes to dental conditions, there are three main problems that cause hair loss and weight loss in rabbits; dental overgrowth, misalignment of teeth, and excessive saliva production.
Excessive saliva production can cause fur loss around the chin of rabbits, as well as their dewlap and chest.
Misaligned teeth or overgrown teeth can lead to excessive saliva production as well as a loss of appetite or lack of interest in eating. When teeth make the mouth feel uncomfortable, eating becomes difficult.
How Can You Prevent, or Treat the Conditions Associated with Weight and Hair Loss in Rabbits? Being Conscious of What You Feed Your Pet, As Well As the Environment They Are Allowed in Are Variables That Will Contribute to These Issues. Involving a Veterinarian If You Become Concerned About Your Pet’s Health is Always Recommended as Well.
If you allow your pet to play in the grass in the backyard, they will be more likely to contract parasites. Both external and internal parasites are more likely to be contracted outdoors than indoors.
If your rabbit likes to run around in the grass, as well as eat it, this may be a perfect storm for both types of parasites. Internal parasites can often be consumed through grass, and rabbits can get mites, or fleas from running around in the grass.
Allowing your pet to play outside is all a matter of personal preference; however, it is important to know the risk is greater of contracting parasites outdoors.
On top of keeping a close eye on where you are letting your pet play, being conscious of what you are feeding them is important as well. Keeping plenty of hay stocked up in your rabbit’s environment is important for dental health.
If rabbits are able to chew, they are less likely to experience a tooth overgrowth which will result in a loss of appetite.
Along with hay, it may be wise to supply various toys or materials that are safe for chewing, such as apple, willow, and aspen branches.
Should your pet end up with a health condition that causes them to lose hair and weight, it is important to get them into your local veterinarian. There are antibiotics they can be given for parasite infections.
For any other health problem causing your pet discomfort, your veterinarian is your best source of help and advice.
Hair and Weight Loss Does Not Boil Down to One Possible Cause, there are Many Different Possibilities for What Can be Causing Hair and Weight Loss in Your Pet. It is Important to Seek the Advice of a Veterinarian if the Symptoms are Very Severe, and Pay Attention to Their Every Day Habits to Avoid a Recurrence.
Although hair and weight loss in your pet rabbit can be very stressful, with the correct plan of action and preventative methods you can keep them healthy. With the proper care, your pet will have a full coat and a healthy, full belly.
Overall, hair and weight loss issues are not too difficult to treat with the assistance of a veterinarian.