Has your rabbit started acting differently recently? Have you noticed weird behaviors or concerning health developments? Your rabbit could be sick. Different symptoms can mean different problems, but all of them are cause for concern.
How do I know my rabbit is sick? Sick rabbits may show symptoms like lethargy, runny stool, hiding, or losing fur. If your rabbit is showing unexplained symptoms, you should call or go to a veterinarian for help.
Why Is My Rabbit Shaking?
There are several reasons why a rabbit may shake. One of the causes not to worry about is the hiccups, which causes them to shake and have small spasms each time they hiccup. This may seem scary, but the hiccups won’t hurt them any more than hiccups would hurt a human. As long as the hiccups last less than 20 minutes, everything is fine. You may want to consider what you have fed your rabbit recently in case something your rabbit is eating is causing the hiccups.
The more serious reason why a rabbit might shake is that the rabbit is in pain. Rabbits are prey animals, so they won’t show pain or weakness for fear of being attacked. Rabbits may shake when they’re trying to contain pain or when they’re in so much pain they can’t stand it. The only way to tell what kind of pain your rabbit is in is to slowly feel their body to see if they react to you touching any particular part of them. Try feeling for injuries or feeling their stomach to see if they have severe gas.
Why Is My Rabbit Lying Down So Much?
Before you get worried about your rabbit lying down, remember that rabbits are crepuscular, which means they are only active at dawn and dusk. A rabbit who has always laid down all day and all night but is perfectly fine and active during twilight probably doesn’t have anything wrong with it. However, a rabbit who is suddenly lying down when it used to be active may have health issues.
Make sure it isn’t too hot in the house. Rabbits are comfortable at lower temperatures, and can suffer from heat stroke at temperatures as low as 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If your rabbit has suddenly started lying down all the time, it may be too hot for your rabbit to safely hop around and be active. Try turning the temperature down to keep it comfortable.
If your rabbit has suddenly stopped eating and is lying down in its litter box, it may be experiencing gastrointestinal distress. This could be constipation or gas due to something your rabbit has eaten. Take note of any diet changes you’ve made recently and make sure your rabbit hasn’t eaten anything you didn’t know about.
Why Is My Rabbit Losing Fur?
Before you get worried about your rabbit losing fur, remember that most rabbits shed at least twice a year. This means that they will quickly lose fur and then grow it back. If your rabbit is shedding all year round, they may have a genetic disorder that prevents their body from tracking the seasons and the daylight cycle. It may also be too hot for them in your household or they may get too much artificial light.
However, if your rabbit is losing fur and revealing red spots or rings underneath, it’s very possible your rabbit may have ringworm. This is a serious disease that can be passed along to humans or other animals by contact with the infected area or with any of the fur that the animal has shed. You should take your rabbit to the vet immediately and clean their enclosure and everywhere that they have shed to remove as much fur as possible. You or your other animals may still catch it because of how contagious the disease is.
Why Are My Rabbit’s Teeth Crooked?
A rabbit’s teeth should never be crooked; in healthy rabbits, the front teeth should meet neatly when the rabbit’s mouth is closed. If your rabbit previously had straight teeth and suddenly has a crooked tooth, it’s possible it got injured. This may be because of a fight with another animal, chewing or pulling on a metal enclosure, falling, or being hit with something. It’s important to address crooked teeth because dental health is very important to a rabbit’s overall health. You may have to have the tooth adjusted and trimmed to fix it.
In some cases, rabbits may have a genetic history of crooked teeth, called genetic malocclusion. These rabbits may not present symptoms right away, but over time their teeth may begin to grow in crooked and out of shape due to genetic issues with how the tooth regenerates. This disease is very expensive to treat, as rabbits with genetic malocclusion will need to have their teeth trimmed frequently to keep their teeth healthy.
Why Is My Rabbit Hiding?
Rabbits often hide to cover up sickness or pain. Rabbits will hide especially if they are suffering from GI stasis, a dangerous disease where their digestive system stops running, causing death in as little as a day. If your rabbit is hiding, check to see if its eyes are bulging and it is grinding its teeth. These symptoms also point towards GI stasis. Take your rabbit to the vet immediately if you are seeing all of these problems together, as GI stasis has to be treated as soon as possible.
Rabbits may also be hiding more mundane things such as small injuries or other discomforts or illnesses. Being as gentle as possible, remove your rabbit from their hiding spot and check their body for injuries as well as checking their stomach and hindquarters for evidence of digestive issues. If nothing appears to be wrong with your rabbit, it may just be overwhelmed and need some time to recover. Give your rabbit a little bit of time to rest in a dark place and see if it comes out later feeling better.
Why Is My Rabbit’s Poop Runny?
Rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems and can only eat certain things safely. If your rabbit has eaten anything out of the ordinary recently, whether because you tried a new food or because it got into something forbidden, it may have an adverse reaction. Runny poop is typically an indicator of gas buildup. If you notice your rabbit’s poop is runny, make sure it’s getting enough hay to keep its digestive system going. If your rabbit has gas, you can try using a solution of simethicone to treat the gas bubbles and help them through it, as rabbits can’t burp or fart to release gas.
Runny poop shouldn’t be confused for what’s called a cecotrope, or “night poop,” which is normally softer and darker than the pellets you may be used to seeing from your rabbit. It will have about one of these a day, and the purpose of this poop is for the rabbit to eat it and reabsorb the nutrients it missed the first time its food was digested. It will then poop normally for the rest of the day.
Why Won’t My Rabbit Eat?
A rabbit not eating could be a sign of many things, as rabbits may refuse to eat or be unable to eat due to a variety of pains or gastrointestinal issues. It’s very important to figure out and treat the cause of this quickly, as rabbits can die without food in as little as 8-12 hours. One way to trick an upset or sick rabbit into eating is to wave hay in their face until they get angry enough to take a bite. They may then keep eating, which will help solve the problem. Once a rabbit starts eating again, any digestive issues usually sort themselves out.
Your rabbit may have overgrown molars, which usually present as sharp edges on the teeth that cut and scratch the inside of its mouth. If its mouth is hurt in this way, it may refuse to eat because of the pain. You will need to take your rabbit to the vet to have its teeth ground down and to have pain medication prescribed until its mouth is healed so that it will eat.
Rabbits may also refuse to eat when they are experiencing GI stasis, when their digestive system stops moving due to a blockage or a lack of fiber. This is a fatal condition that needs to be addressed immediately. If your rabbit will not eat and is hiding or refusing to move, these may be signs of GI stasis.
Why Won’t My Rabbit Sleep?
Rabbits are very light sleepers that often wake up as soon as they hear something going on. This may make it seem as though they aren’t sleeping because they wake up every time you come near them. However, this is normal and your rabbit probably does sleep as much as it needs to. Rabbits are crepuscular, which means they are active during the dawn and dusk and typically sleep during the day or at night. If you are away during the day and asleep at night, it’s possible you may only see your rabbit while it is awake, and it might appear that it never sleeps.
Rabbits often sleep with their eyes open, using their clear third eyelid to keep their eye from drying out. They may also close their eyes partially and open them whenever they detect something. While some rabbits won’t twitch while they’re asleep, others may twitch occasionally. It’s hard to tell if your rabbit is asleep because even the slightest movement can wake them up. However, rabbits typically will sleep or lay down too much rather than too little if something is wrong.
Why Won’t My Rabbit Poop?
Rabbits have sensitive digestive systems, and small diet changes or accidental snacks can cause your rabbit’s systems to come grinding to a halt. Too much sugar from sources like treats or fruits can cause your rabbit’s digestive system to slow down due to the starches fermenting in its stomach. Eating foods like bread, including bagels, cereal, donuts, or anything made from a grain, can cause a rabbit’s digestive system to stop due to a blockage or an inability to digest the food.
The best thing to do in this situation is to make sure your rabbit is drinking water and to try to encourage them to eat hay. If they won’t eat any hay within a few hours, call a vet immediately. However, if you’re able to get your rabbit to start eating hay, poop should follow. It may be runny or darker than usual until your rabbit flushes out whatever is in its system, but eating will usually solve or improve the problem.
Why Is My Rabbit Grinding Its Teeth?
There are two types of rabbit teeth grinding, one of which is good and one of which is bad. The good one is called “tooth purring” and your rabbit usually will do it while it is being petted and enjoying itself. If your rabbit likes to cuddle, it may tooth purr while the two of you are curled up together having a quiet moment. This is nothing to worry about, as rabbit teeth are built to endure a small amount of grinding.
However, if the grinding is louder and happens outside of situations where your rabbit might tooth purr, then your rabbit may be sick or injured. You will definitely know the difference between these two types of tooth grinding because your rabbit’s body language will be completely different. Bad tooth grinding is usually accompanied by your rabbit being hunched over, being curled up very small, or having bulging eyes. Rabbit tooth grinding is a very severe symptom and you should take your rabbit to the vet immediately if it happens. It could be an indicator of a number of different illnesses, including GI stasis or serious injury.
Why Is My Rabbit’s Head Cocked to the Side?
The most obvious cause of a rabbit shaking its head or cocking it to the side is an ear infection. Rabbits use their internal ears for balance, so if one ear is infected it may cause your rabbit to become off balance. Ear infections take a long time to treat, but the process is much easier if you catch the infection early and begin treated it as soon as possible. If you notice your rabbit cocking its head to the side or jumping in an uneven pattern, you should contact a vet immediately.
Why Are My Rabbit’s Ears Hot/Cold?
Rabbits use their ears to regulate their temperature, so a rabbit’s ears are a good indicator of how your rabbit is feeling. Very hot ears may indicate a fever, while very cold ears may indicate stasis or other sicknesses. However, each rabbit has its own normal temperature and you should always be aware of this baseline before jumping to any conclusions. Rabbits with longer fur may have hotter ears as they try to regulate their temperature, while rabbits with short fur won’t need to circulate as much hot blood through. Rabbits with lop ears may also have hotter ears than rabbits with ears that stand up.
If your rabbit’s ears suddenly change temperature, you should first check your rabbit’s surroundings. Is it hotter or colder in the house than usual? This is going to be the first possibility. Your rabbit may need to release or retain more heat depending on the temperature of the house. If nothing else has changed, your rabbit may be sick. Monitor its ears to see if the temperature goes back to normal and keep an eye on your rabbit’s other behaviors to see if anything else changes suddenly. If you notice any other strange symptoms, contact a vet immediately.
Why Is My Rabbit Drooling?
Rabbits usually drool due to dental issues that are causing them pain or difficulty closing their mouth. This can be due to malocclusion in either the front or back teeth, teeth that are overgrown or have grown sharp and are hurting your rabbit’s cheeks, or other problems such as abscesses. You may also notice that your rabbit is eating less or will not eat hard foods like some vegetables. This is a sure sign that something is wrong with your rabbit’s mouth.
It’s important to treat mouth problems quickly because of how important eating is to a rabbit’s health. Untreated dental problems can develop into jaw infections, which are very dangerous and difficult to treat. It’s best to address mouth problems early, so if you see your rabbit drooling you should check its teeth and mouth yourself or contact a vet. If you can’t see anything out of the ordinary, wait a day and see if your rabbit is eating normally. If the wetness goes away, it’s possible your rabbit is a messy drinker and got water on itself while drinking normally. It’s best to wipe this off to keep your rabbit clean if this happens frequently.
Why Is My Rabbit’s Nose Running?
A runny nose could indicate a number of problems, some more severe than others. Just like humans, your rabbit could have a runny nose simply because it’s allergy season. Rabbits can suffer from allergies and will have the same or similar symptoms. However, rabbits typically can’t tough it out the way that humans can and need to be treated for their allergies even if they aren’t severe.
Your rabbit may also have an upper respiratory infection, which is very common for younger rabbits and in the winter months. This will cause a runny nose, congestion, and sneezing in your rabbit. An upper respiratory infection can spread and become more severe if left untreated, so it’s important to notify a vet and get on a regimen of doxycycline or a similar drug to treat the symptoms.
Runny nose and sneezing may indicate a blocked tear duct, which can cause discomfort and swelling along with infection if left untreated. Especially if your rabbit is showing other symptoms such as hiding or grinding its teeth, it’s important to get to a vet as quickly as possible to treat the illness.
Why Did My Rabbit Gain Weight?
Rabbits typically gain weight when they are being fed wrong, and won’t gain weight on their own unless they’ve found their way into something sugary that you’re not aware of. Rabbits should only be eating about ¼ cup of pellets a day per 6lbs of body weight, with everything else being hay and grass. Pellets are high in nutrients and calories compared to hay, which means that using them as the primary source of food for your rabbit can cause your rabbit to become overweight very quickly. You should also limit the amount of fruits and vegetables you feed your rabbit. While this may sound like the opposite of what you should do, compared to a rabbit’s usual diet even fruit is high-calorie, and the high amounts of sugar can cause them to become overweight if you are giving them too many treats. This goes for store bought treats as well, perhaps even more so because the ingredients aren’t a natural part of your rabbit’s diet the way that fruit is. You can treat rabbit obesity by curbing what you are feeding your rabbit and feeding them just grass and hay. They will return to a normal weight over time.
Why Did My Rabbit Lose Weight?
The first thing to do if your rabbit is losing weight is to try feeding them more calories, assuming your rabbit is eating normally. It may just be that it needs more fruit and vegetables in its diet because it’s not receiving enough hay or the hay by itself is not enough. If this doesn’t solve the problem, your rabbit may have a chronic weight loss problem caused by spinal issues or neuromuscular disorders. Some rabbits may develop a form of anorexia due to anxiety or central nervous system disorders, which will cause them to refuse to eat as much and therefore lose weight. Some diseases will also cause protein loss in rabbits, which will cause them to lose weight no matter how much they eat. These disorders are usually rare, but if your rabbit begins to lose weight unexpectedly and especially if it loses 10% or more of its body weight, you should consult a vet immediately.
Why Does My Rabbit Keep Scratching Itself?
Rabbits can get fleas just like dogs or cats, and this is a very common cause of scratching or itching. If your rabbit has fleas, you’ll notice dark spots of dried blood on its skin left over from flea bites. Never give your rabbit flea medicine made for another animal, as this can cause death. Instead, take your rabbit to the vet to get the proper treatment there. Rabbits may also be scratching at other parasites like mites. If you have more than one rabbit, this may spread between them, so it’s best to get all of them treated.
Rabbits may also scratch due to allergies irritating their skin or contact with an allergen or toxin such as poison ivy. If you notice any redness on your rabbit’s skin where it is itching, consult a vet to find out if it’s simply dry skin or something more serious. If your rabbit is scratching its ears specifically, it may have a type of ear mite called Psoroptes cuniculiis.
Why Is My Rabbit Breathing Hard?
There is an important difference between breathing fast and breathing hard. Most rabbits will breathe quickly when they have been playing or even in quiet moments when their nose is twitching. They may also breathe quickly when they are given fresh air with new scents. However, they will always breathe fairly quietly and only through their nose. You’ll notice a difference if they are breathing through their mouth, which is very bad and the sign of an advanced infection, or if their breath is rattling. You’ll see their sides moving while they are breathing and the breathing will be much louder.
Labored or unusual sounding breathing can be a sign of a respiratory problem like pneumonia, inhaled objects, or even cancer. It’s important to take your rabbit to the vet if you notice heavy breathing that sounds different than its usual fast breathing.
How do I get my rabbit to eat? If you need your rabbit to eat, try offering it snacks it likes such as fruits and vegetables. You can also feed it an emergency solution made from mixing pellets with water.
What do I do if my rabbit is sick? Always take your rabbit to the vet. Don’t attempt to treat your rabbit at home or wait for the symptoms to go away if you don’t see improvement within a day.
What do I do if my rabbit ate something it shouldn’t? Start by monitoring its behavior for any changes. If you notice anything severe, take it to the vet.