Common health problems in Rabbits
Sadly, domestic rabbits sometime become unwell. Many of the problems they get can be serious, therefore it is always important to seek the advice of your Vet if your rabbit is showing any signs of illness or is behaving abnormally. Here is a list of the most common problems and the signs you might see associated with them. Remember, quick treatment is very important in most cases, so always speak to your Vet straight away if you have any concerns.
Signs are a hard lump, swelling or pocket under your rabbit’s skin.
Hay or any other foreign object under the skin that become infected
Tooth, gum, or eye infections
Bites or other wounds that become infected
Arthritis is a condition where there is inflammation of the joints or swelling in joints. It is more common in older rabbits, and those which are overweight. There are a couple of types of arthritis that rabbits can develop.
Signs of Arthritis include:
Lameness one or more legs while hopping
Lifting or dragging a leg
Trouble pushing upright from a lying down position
Bladder sludge and stones:
These can occur in all rabbits of all breeds and all ages. It is not known why some rabbits develop this problem and some rabbits do not. It is also not known why some rabbits only develop bladder sludge and others develop stones. One of the recognised causes of this problem is too much calcium in the diet.
Signs of bladder problems include:
Urinating more frequently (often outside the normal area where your rabbit usually urinates)
Straining to urinate
Blood in the urine
White or grey creamy urine
Sore skin around the back end and on the underside of your rabbit
Depression and loss of appetite
Uterine, ovarian, and mammary cancers in female rabbits and testicular cancer in males are common in rabbits that have not been spayed or neutered. This is why we recommend neutering of rabbits.
Signs can include abnormal lumps or swellings, weight loss, reduced appetite and blood in the urine.
This is very common in rabbits and problems arise when your rabbit’s teeth do not line up, and so they overgrow and develop sharp points on them which cause pain and discomfort in the mouth of the rabbit. It is usually caused by an improper diet and there is also a genetic basis to it. The condition is life threatening and quick treatment is very important.
Drooling when trying to eat
Difficulty drinking from a water bottle
Not eating or drinking
Matted faeces around rear end
Runny eyes or nose
This can be fatal if not treated. Diarrhoea can cause a rabbit to become severely dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to many additional serious medical problems. Diarrhoea in its true form is actually quite rare in adult rabbits. It can be caused by an incorrect diet and also by some infections.
Signs of Diarrhoea:
Watery or soft droppings
Droppings matted around the tail of the rabbit
Gastric Stasis or Ileus:
This is the term used when a rabbit’s digestive system stops functioning.
Signs of Gastric Stasis are:
Small or no faeces
Not eating or drinking
Sitting in the corner of the hutch, inactive
Blockage in the stomach or intestine from hair, food or foreign bodies.
Gas buildup from vegetables or other foodstuffs
A common problem if your rabbit is unable to wear its nails down on a hard surface. Overgrown nails can cause discomfort when walking, so always keep an eye on them and ask your Vet to trim them or show you how to trim them if they are growing too long.
These are also very common in rabbits, and have many causes including dental problems, blocked tear ducts, allergies and infections. Early assessment and treatment is vital to increase the chance of a rabbit recovering from a respiratory problem.
Runny nose- sometimes a white discharge
Increased respiratory sounds
Raising the chin up high when breathing
It is important to remember that this list does not include all illnesses that rabbits can get. Feeding your rabbit a healthy diet and keeping him or her in a healthy environment with regular check-ups by the Vet can help reduce the risk of these problems. Always speak to your Vet if you have any concerns.
For further information you can ask our Vet at http://www.gaeludyr.is/spurou-dyralaekninn.html