Rabbits tend to use the bathroom either in their cage, or their litter pan. You may go to clean out their cage or litter pan and notice they are urinating more than you see normal. This increase in urination could mean your pet has something medically wrong with them. Rabbits may also urinate as a way to mark their territory, which involves spraying urine in places other than their cage and litter pan.
So, what does it mean if a rabbit is urinating a lot or spraying?
Your rabbit may be urinating a lot if they are suffering from “polyuria”, which is a greater than normal urine production. This may be combined with “polydipsia,” which is a greater than normal water consumption. This can be caused by a variety of things including liver and kidney issues. If the problem is not medical, your rabbit may be urinating as a way to mark their territory.
I will be discussing polyuria and polydipsia and the health issues that may cause these conditions. I will also cover why a rabbit may spray urine to mark their territory. Lastly, I will present some solutions to solve excessive urination.
Your Rabbit is Urinating too Much; Is it Polyuria? Polyuria is a Higher than Average Urine Production. If a Rabbit Suffers from Polyuria, They Most Likely Suffer from Polydipsia as Well. These Two Conditions Go Hand-in-Hand.
If a rabbit is suffering from polyuria, they will be urinating more than usual, which will cause them to be very thirsty. This increase in thirst may manifest itself as polydipsia. The rabbit drinks more because they have excessive thirst from the polydipsia, which they have developed from urinating excessively. In turn, they will continue to have to urinate excessively from the extra water.
Polyuria and polydipsia playing off each other is a continuous cycle.
There are various health conditions that can cause excessive urination in rabbits.
- Diabetes or unsulinoma (a pancreatic tumor)
- Kidney disease (may include kidney stones; mineral deposits that are formed in the urinary tract)
- Liver disease
- Drugs or sodium chloride in large quantities
Why is Your Rabbit Urinating So Much as a Result of Marking Territory? Spraying Urine is a Fairly Natural Instinct for Rabbits; Both Domestic and Wild. Although this Habit can be Very Inconvenient, and Even Frustrating for Pet Owners, Rabbits Who Feel They Do Not Have Enough of Their Own Space May Need to Mark it More.
Rabbits can either spray urine or urinate inappropriately. It is important to learn how to distinguish between these. Spraying is a sign of marking territory and is usually done on vertical surfaces. Inappropriate urination is usually performed as a matter of not understanding where they need to use the bathroom yet.
When rabbits spray urine it typically has a much stronger smell as well.
First and foremost, if your rabbit is unspayed or unneutered, this will have a large impact on their territory marking patterns. Rabbits tend to be more territorial before being surgically altered, especially males.
A rabbit may choose to mark their territory if they are housed with other rabbits, especially males. It is vital to provide a necessary amount of space and resources to rabbits who are housed with other rabbits. It is not recommended to keep two rabbits in the same cage unless they are very closely bonded.
There should also be an adequate number of food dishes, water dishes, and toys for the rabbits so they are not fighting over their resources. This may create a territory dispute which results in territory marking of their cage, dishes, each other, or even their owner.
Another reason rabbits may mark their territory is by reacting to change. If a rabbit does not like a certain adjustment, such as a new person in the home, a new pet, or a relocation of their cage, they may respond by urinating wherever they please, or spraying to mark their territory.
If the reason for urinating all over your home is related to confusion, or inappropriate urination, this may be a result of too few litter boxes. If there are not enough litter boxes spaced out in your rabbit’s play area, they may be more inclined to conduct their business where they find it the most convenient.
Setting up a number of options is important when it comes to litter boxes. Making sure the litter boxes are cleaned regularly is something else to keep in mind. If a litter box is filled with urine and feces, it becomes uninviting for a rabbit, especially if they share the space with other rabbits. As a result, they may find a cleaner place to use the bathroom.
What Are Some Ways to Stop Your Rabbit from Urinating So Much? If Your Rabbit is Urinating Frequently, or Inappropriately, there are a Variety of Reasons Why They May be Doing This. This Also Means There Are a Variety of Solutions. Adjusting Their Living Space May Help the Issue Go Away, However, the Problem May be Serious Enough that Your Pet Needs Medical Attention.
If your pet is suffering from polyuria and polydipsia, then it is recommended to seek veterinary advice. These conditions are usually a result of a medical condition. These medical conditions should not go untreated for the health of your pet.
When you begin to notice excess urination in your pet, you will want to begin observing. Your veterinarian will want to ask you questions about the patterns you have seen, so you want to be able to give them accurate answers. They will want to know what changes have happened in the urination patterns of your pet, as well as the drinking patterns.
After conducting a thorough evaluation and consulting with the owner, a vet will then typically conduct blood tests as well as urinalysis. This will help your veterinarian determine your pet’s kidney and liver function, as well as any presence of diabetes.
Your vet will look for bladder or kidney stones and may suggest radiography or sonography should they find it appropriate. If these are found, your pet may need to stay at the clinic for the day for removal.
The treatment will vary with each health condition.
With diabetes, your veterinarian will look for the underlying cause. If weight is the issue, a plan will be established for a healthier diet.
If bladder stones are present, surgery or a change in diet may be the solution, depending on the severity.
If it is determined that your pet is suffering from kidney and liver disease, your rabbit will likely need to be hospitalized for fluid therapy. An examination will need to be done afterwards to see if the condition is able to be reversed.
Once the veterinarian has examined your pet, a treatment plan will be established. This may include…
- Providing an environment for your rabbit that
feels safe and stress-free.
- It should offer your pet the resources it requires; materials to chew, hay, a place to hide for security, material for nesting and digging, and toys.
- Making sure there is always clean, fresh water available in a bowl that is large enough for a full day’s worth of water.
- Providing a healthy diet to your pet.
- Taking your rabbit in for a check-up every year
- Avoiding overcrowding in the environment
If behavioral issues are to blame for the excessive urination, there are other preventative measures available.
Make sure each rabbit in your home has their own territory. This will prevent them from fighting over common areas.
Make sure there are enough litter pans for each pet. There should also be enough litter pans for the amount of space the rabbits have available. If there are not enough litter pans out, the rabbit may forget where they should go and use furniture, a corner, or a rug instead.
If they are not making it into the litter pan, limit their space for playing so they are right near their litter pan. Slowly expand the play area as they are using their litter pan correctly. If you notice an accident, make their play area smaller again to teach them where they may go.
If Your Rabbit is Urinating too Much, it May be a Result of an Underlying Medical Condition, or a Behavioral Problem. By Paying Attention to the Patterns of Your Pet, As Well as Their Environment, You Should be Able to Determine if the Habit is Territorial or Medical. If it is Medical, it is Always Best to Seek the Help of a Veterinarian. Trying to Adjust the Environment Will be Beneficial in the Case of Territory Marking.
Although excessive urination can be bothersome due to the inconvenience it poses in your household, it is important to pay attention to this habit.
Overall, excessive urination should not be too hard to treat. Making adjustments to better suit your pet will help behavioral issues, while a trip to the vet should get the other conditions squared away.