Sickness in Rabbits

How To Recognize Signs And Symptoms That Your Bunny Is Ill

Sickness in rabbits are difficult to spot. Rabbits are prey creatures and therefore tend to hide signs of illness meaning diagnosis can be tricky.  Their health can also deteriorate very quickly if symptoms are left unattended.

Typically a healthy rabbit is active and curious in its surroundings. However, rabbits generally mellow a bit with age. A three-month-old bunny might seem hyperactive compared to a more sedate five-year-old rabbit. Both age groups have different activity level, yet both considered normal.

Therefore, a rabbit parent needs to be particularly attentive to changes, subtle or blatant to catch early signs of sickness in rabbits. A change in your rabbit’s behaviour, activity level and droppings suggest that something is wrong.

common signs that your bunny is ill

Loss of appetite or lethargy

Low appetite and low energy are two significant signs of sickness in rabbits These symptoms may be vague but it they can indicate a number of illness.  If your rabbit refuses its usual fresh food or any of its special treats for more than a day, and seems particularly lethargic, you should seek the vet. Keep track of your rabbit’s daily food intake to catch early signs of illness.


If your rabbit’s stomach is firm, and your pet is not moving around as normal then they could have the extremely dangerous condition known as bloat. This condition is caused by a problem in the gut that causes your rabbit’s innards to fill up with gas. Consult the vet immediately.

Body heat

Rabbits will regulate body temperature using their ears. Hence, very cold or very hot ears could indicate sickness in rabbits such as a fever or drop in body temperature. When coupled with other warning signs, a trip to the vet is imminent.

Sneezing, runny eyes or nose

Sneezing may or may not be a sign of trouble. If sneezing is accompanied by a runny nose and/or runny eyes, consult the veterinarian immediately, especially if there is also a loss of appetite. If the rabbit is sneezing but has no other symptoms and is eating well, the cause may be allergies or even nothing at all. Do keep a close eye out for the development of any other symptoms.

Wet chin or drooling

Rabbit teeth are constantly growing, which is why they are always chewing — to help keep their teeth the proper size. Some rabbits have misaligned (maloccluded) teeth, which do not wear down properly and continue to grow. A rabbit with this condition needs to have his teeth clipped periodically so that he can eat.

With extreme malocclusion, a bunny will need to have his front teeth removed. You can easily see misalignment of the front teeth, but your bunny’s back teeth may need to be checked by your vet. One indication that the back teeth may be a problem is wetness on your bunny’s chin, caused by drooling. Check your rabbit’s teeth during each grooming session.

Loss of balance or a head tilt

Often called wry neck, this is typically an inner ear infection, which can come on suddenly. Although treatment is potentially length, a head tilt can be cured if treatment is begun early.

Change in stools

Healthy digestive tracts will produce large, round pellets. Increasingly smaller and irregularly shaped droppings or droppings strung together with fur (or carpet) may indicate problems.

Persistent loose stools are indication of underlying parasite and bacterial issues which can be contagious. So the affected rabbit should be separated from other pets and have him examined by a vet.

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