How To Tell If A Rabbit Is Sick

How To Tell If A Rabbit Is Sick


Like cats, dogs and humans, rabbits can get sick. Some illnesses in rabbits are easy to spot; others you’ll need a trained eye to catch. For instance, did you know that a rabbit’s ears can tell you what’s going on with their health? It’s true: look for signs like brown or crusty discharge or an unusually strong odor. If you have any doubts about your rabbit’s health, take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible. To find out more about the many ways a rabbit might be ill—and what those symptoms mean—read on!

Their poop is a different color or consistency.

  • The color of your rabbit’s poop can be a good indicator of their health. Healthy rabbit poop is generally dark brown or black in color, but if it’s white or yellow, this could be a sign that your bunny has a digestive problem. If you notice any changes in the consistency of their droppings—from being soft to watery—you should consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible.*

They’re not eating or drinking normally.

If your rabbit is not eating or drinking normally, you should take them to the vet.

If your rabbit’s food bowl is empty for more than an hour, it’s a good idea to check whether they finished their portion and if so, refill the bowl with fresh food. A rabbit that refuses to eat needs urgent veterinary attention as soon as possible. In some cases, this may be due to dental disease or pain from other issues such as gastrointestinal stasis (GI stasis). If your bunny has been unwell for any reason, then don’t forget about hydration – check their water bowl regularly too!

Another indication of illness in rabbits is if they are passing smaller amounts of urine than normal: pale yellow urine indicates dehydration while brownish-red urine indicates a bacterial infection in males only; both need immediate treatment by a veterinarian familiar with rabbits!

They’re not grooming themselves as much.

If you notice that your rabbit is not grooming itself as much, then this may be a sign that they are not feeling well. Rabbits are very clean animals and like to keep their fur clean by grooming themselves. Their fur coats are also waterproof, grow continuously and have two layers. The top coat of the rabbit’s fur is made up of soft hairs which provide insulation from cold weather. The under layer protects against rain and snow as well as from hot summer days (when it grays down).

If your rabbit stops grooming itself, it could mean there’s something wrong with them physically or mentally. It could also mean they aren’t receiving enough attention from their owners which can cause stress on both ends if left untreated for too long! If you notice any changes in how often your bunny grooms itself then please take note so we can help get things back on track again!

They’re having trouble breathing.

A rabbit’s breathing is one of their most important functions. It’s how they get oxygen to their body, and much like in humans, a respiratory issue can be very serious. If you think your rabbit may be having trouble breathing, there are some things you should look out for:

  • They’re coughing or wheezing
  • Their nostrils flare when they breathe
  • Their chest moves up and down more slowly than usual

They seem lethargic, sleepier than usual, or less active.

If you notice that your rabbit is sleeping more than usual, or if they appear to be less active than their usual self, it’s important to take them to the vet.

If you’re uncertain whether or not your rabbit is sick, watch for changes in their behavior as a gauge. If they seem lethargic, sleepier than usual (or simply not moving around as much), this could be an indication that something is wrong with them.

Their ears are unusually warm or cold.

  • Their ears are unusually warm or cold.
  • If their ears are hot, they may have an infection or injury that needs medical attention.
  • If their ears are cold, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem that requires treatment.

If you notice both hot and cold symptoms in the same rabbit, this could mean something is wrong with your pet’s body temperature regulation system as well as one specific area of the body (like the liver).

Their nostrils are unusually dry or runny.

The symptoms of a cold or the flu can be subtle, but they’re still present in most rabbits. The runny nose and sneezing are usually the first signs that something is off. After that, there may be nasal discharge (which looks like snot) and nasal congestion (the feeling that you have to clear your throat). Coughing is another symptom as well as loss of appetite, fatigue and headache. Body aches are also common with both viral illnesses and some bacterial ones. Finally, if your rabbit has a fever or chills (shivering), this could mean more serious problems like pneumonia or systemic infection.

You notice sores, scabs, parasites, limping, or other skin problems on their body.

You notice sores, scabs, parasites, limping, or other skin problems on their body.

A rabbit should be healthy and free of any sores or scabs. Sores can be caused by injuries (e.g., they may have been bitten by another animal), parasites (e.g., mites), allergy symptoms (e.g., fur loss), cancer (e.g., basal cell carcinoma) and more.

You can hear teeth grinding when you’re close to them.

  • You can hear teeth grinding when you’re close to them.

This is a sign of pain or discomfort, and it can be a sign of dental problems, neurological problems, or digestive problems. If your rabbit is grinding their teeth, it’s important to see your veterinarian right away so that the cause can be identified and treated if necessary.

Watch out for any changes in your pet’s behavior

To start, you’ll want to think about changes in your rabbit’s behavior.

  • Has the amount of time your rabbit spends grooming itself changed? This is a good indication that something is wrong if you notice your pet neglecting its coat or hairballs forming more than usual.
  • How does it respond when you approach it? Is it displaying any unusual body language or eye contact for your pet? If so, this may be another sign of illness.

You should also watch out for any changes in how much food and water your rabbit consumes daily as well as how much sleep they get at night—both can be indicators of health issues such as dental disease or urinary tract infections (UTIs).


The best way to ensure that your rabbit stays healthy is by preventing illness in the first place. This means keeping your rabbit’s enclosure clean, limiting stress in their environment, and keeping them away from other sick pets—including other rabbits! With these precautions taken care of, you can help ensure that your bunny never becomes ill. And if they do get sick somehow, hopefully this guide will have helped prepare you to recognize the signs and take action as quickly as possible.

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