Rabbit Diseases: You Should Watch Out for These Symptoms in Your Rabbit

Every owner wants their animal to be doing well – but how do you actually know whether a rabbit is healthy or ailing? We have put together a checklist of symptoms for you to watch out for. If you are not sure whether your rabbit is sick, a visit to the vet is always recommended.

Signs of Disease in the Rabbit:

  • The rabbit sits indifferently in the enclosure and does not move at all or less than usual;
  • The rabbit is limping or appears to be suffering from an imbalance;
  • The rabbit loses a lot of weight within a few days (fluctuations of 100 grams within a week are still considered normal);
  • The rabbit suddenly looks emaciated.

Tip: If the rabbit doesn’t stay on the scales, you can weigh it in its transport box. You can then determine the weight of the box and subtract it from the total weight

  • The rabbit is salivating and the area around its mouth is smeared and unclean;
  • It refuses to eat and drink or eats and drinks smaller amounts than usual;
  • The rabbit stopped touching hard food.

Tip: Broken teeth sometimes straighten themselves with sufficient gnawing material, but should be kept in mind and, if necessary, shown to a veterinarian.

  • The eyes are cloudy, red, or watery;
  • The eyes are puffy;
  • The rabbit sneezes continuously;
  • The breathing sounds are clearly audible (rattling in the lungs, loud inhalation, and exhalation);
  • The rabbit is showing signs of breathlessness (wheezing or frantic gasping for air);
  • The fur in the anus region is dirty and smeared with feces;
  • The rabbit droppings are liquid or mushy;
  • The fur has bald spots;
  • The rabbit tears out tufts of fur with its teeth;
  • Small bumps or swellings can be felt on the animal’s body;
  • The face looks disproportionate, asymmetrical, or is puffy;
  • The ears are swollen and/or reddened;
  • The rabbit has wounds on its ears;
  • Crusts or crusts form on rabbit ears;
  • The rabbit is constantly scratching itself;
  • Whitish-yellow, unpleasant-smelling fluid (pus) collects in the ears;
  • The rabbit grinds its teeth continuously and does not come to rest;
  • It tilts its head permanently or shakes it frequently;
  • The stomach is hard and looks bloated;
  • When touched, the animal flinches in pain.

Tip: Frightened animals, in particular, should always be carefully examined if possible in order not to inadvertently interpret any signs of pain (e.g. violent flinching) as fear).

Rabbits are most comfortable in large groups but should be kept in pairs at least. Always make sure that all animals appear for feeding and eating if you have several rabbits. In the long run, checking the food bowl is not sufficient to ensure that all animals have consumed food and that no animal refuses to eat. Many rabbit diseases can still be treated well if they are recognized in time – so you should check your animals regularly and watch out for the first signs of disease.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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