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Signs that Your Pet Rabbit May Be Sick!

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Just as kittens need the proper kitten care in order thrive and be happy a rabbit needs proper care as well. Just like dogs and cats, rabbits are companion animals that rely on their owners for food, shelter and of course, medical care. Rabbits are animals too and just like dogs and cats can contract diseases, get infections or become injured. When you get a pet rabbit one of the first things you should do is find a veterinarian that accepts rabbits as patients (because rabbits can live up to twelve years old you may also want to look into pet rabbit health insurance…yes, it does exist!). Though not as demanding or popular as dogs and cats, rabbits are pets too and should not be viewed as "disposable." They actually thrive when properly cared for and enjoy being members of the family!

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Emergency Rabbit Situations

If you notice that your pet rabbit is not feeling very hoppy (sorry, I couldn't resist), it is very important that you are pro-active and immediately try to determine what the problem may be. Just like any other animal, rabbits can require emergency medical care…if the situation warrants it. The first thing you should do if you notice that your rabbit is ill is to STAY CALM! Getting upset won't help the situation and by no means will it make your bunny better. Below are some signs that your rabbit is most likely ill and should see a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Excessive Salivation

So your bunny is foaming at the mouth…what in the world is going on? Well, dental disease is the number one reason rabbits salivate excessively. In fact, excessive salivations means that…in simple terms…your rabbit has a tooth ache, is in pain, and needs medical attention as soon as possible.  Other signs that your bunny needs to see the dentist include eating difficulty (which will cause your rabbit to lose weight quickly), and constant wet fur around the mouth and neck area. Poisoning will also cause excessive salivation (if you can rule poisoning out, then your rabbit most likely has dental disease).


My Bunny has the Runs!

If your pet rabbit's stool is profuse, watery, or bloody, make an appointment with the veterinarian as soon as possible as diarrhea can be very serious. Your bunny has something called "flora" in his gastrointestinal tract and when it is disrupted (usually by disease) diarrhea usually sets in. If you do not treat your pet rabbit's diarrhea, he can become dehydrated and possibly go into shock so again, it is very important that you take your bunny to the veterinarian. By the way, for those of you who are interested in the exact definition of flora, here it is: the aggregate of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms normally occurring on or in the bodies of humans and other animals: intestinal flora. Isn't learning fun!?

Blood in Bunny's Urine

When blood is visible in a human, dog or cat's urine, it is a sign of disease. Well, the rabbit is no exception! Possible reasons that your bunny's urine has blood in it may be bladder stones, uterine disease (females), bladder cancer and even trauma.  If the blood in your rabbit's urine is accompanied by straining during urination, frequent urination, weakness and or lethargy (bunny depression) then you must take your rabbit and a sample of his urine to the veterinarian for diagnosis.


My Bunny is HOT!

Dogs, cats and yes, even rabbits are susceptible to heat stroke. It is a fact that rabbits tolerate the cold weather better than they do hot weather. One hot and humid day is all it takes for your bunny to go into heat distress. Signs of rabbit heat stroke include labored breathing, lethargy, and obviously, an elevated body temperature. If you believe that your rabbit has heat stroke then you should take him or her to the vet as soon as possible. Obviously, it is very important that you get your rabbit out of the heat as quickly as you can and wrap the ears in a cool, wet, towel (this will help to lower your bunny's temperature as you drive to the vet…hopefully, a friend of family member can drive with you and lend a paw).  Heat stroke is a SERIOUS situation and should be treated immediately.


Whether you have a kitten, cat, dog or rabbit…all require the proper care in order to be happy and healthy. It is a fact that pet rabbits are becoming quite popular (they are number four…right behind cats, dogs and birds). If you are planning on adding a rabbit to your family it is very important that you do your bunny homework as many rabbits become victims of neglect because their owners truly didn't know how to care for them. Don't be a bunny neglecter; learn all there is to know about pet rabbits BEFORE bringing one into your home. ALL PETS deserve to be happy and healthy in their forever, loving homes!


Emma on November 29, 2016:

My bunny is not walking around to much and i think something is really wrong. He is not eating or drinking and He is normally hopping around and greeting me. Do you think he could have a heart attack?

Kenzi on August 12, 2016:

My rabbit was acting fine this morning but, after a while I relized she has been sitting in the corner for several hours. She is eating and drinking, but I have to bring her it. Can you please

belleart from Ireland on April 02, 2015:

jill, your buns seem fine, rabbit urine can be very thick and varies in colour depending on a few things. other signs of sickness usually happen in their behaviour more than anything, from what I've seen anyway.

jill on April 01, 2015:

I just got three bunnies on monday and one of the males urine looks orange. Im extremely worried about my female I was told she has been breeding but no babies she urined on me and it was red like blood is she sick?? Im worried about my (cotton)

Cygstarz (author) from Maryland on August 27, 2014:

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No. There should be no white stuff coming out of your rabbit's eyes. Let me do some research as to what the problem may be. In the meantime, you may want to contact a vet if your rabbit is "acting" different. Is he or she lethargic? Not eating? Not drinking? If you answered yes to any of these...there is a problem.

on August 25, 2014:

Is it normal for a rabbit to have white goop coming from one of his eyes ??

Lynsey Hart from Lanarkshire on March 04, 2014:

Great hub. My bun has been acting strange recently... A friends bunny was over and started mating with her about 3 weeks ago,but we pulled them apart, so I suspect she may be pregnant. Her tummy is swollen on one side, and she's been tooth purring lots- maybe grinding. But she won't let us near her, and is extremely territorial. Appetite has increased, and she still hops around normally... Going to the vet is pretty difficult- he's at the other side of the city, and she gets very stressed during travel. So if she is pregnant, we don't want to cause unnecessary stress... Looking for a 2nd opinion... Which I appreciate is difficult! Any input would be appreciated. Thanks :-)

belleart from Ireland on November 25, 2013:

Really good hub, it is so important to notice if your bun is sick but I would add that not all sickeness's are accompanied with signs. A few weeks ago I came down stairs getting ready for work and noticed that cocoa wasn't jumping around my feet like she does every morning. She looked fine but her personality just wasn't the same so I woke my partner to tell him to watch her and went off to work. within and hour he had her at the vet being treated for pneumonia-she'd spilled her water on a teddy and slept on the soaked teddy all night. So I think a lot of the time (when there are no symptoms) you just have to recognise when the buns normal behaviour has changed.

Cygstarz (author) from Maryland on June 11, 2012:

Hi Jing! What did the veterinarian say when you took him in for a visit? I do believe you have a reason to be concerned. Not eating and shedding are signs of a problem. There are many reasons as to why your bunny may be sick. Since I can't see him for wouldn't be wise for me to guess what is wrong. If your bunny doesn't get better...I would take him back to the vet....sooner rather than later. Rabbits are known to have the occasional dental again, take him back to the doctor if he is not eating (normally) soon. Good luck!

Jing on June 09, 2012:

I have tons of questions. My bunny is not eating, has been shedding nonstop for over half a year, and always gets slimy poop on his bottom frequently. I fear he has some kind of toothache because he shows a lot of interest in his favorite foods, but he hesitates, nudges, smells, and then slowly chews the food, as if painfully. We went to the vet and got him a timothy hay mixture that we feed to him using a syringe. Is there a way to cure a rabbit's toothache, and is there a reason why all these things are happening to him? Please help.

Barb on March 07, 2012:

If a rabbit is breathing through his mouth it is urgent to get him to a vet and I DO MEAN URGENT. Rabbit do not "pant".

sarah on July 11, 2011:

my bunny is breathing really fast n just wondering why? it is quite warm today could this be the reason?

brianna on May 03, 2011:

honey bunny is always peeing on me and it dark yellow is that nautral for a baby bunny

11 year old kid on February 09, 2011:

i have lots of bunnies but they all breathe fast like all small animals do.+ rabbits are not part of the rodent family, they are leporidae family from lagomorpha order

lllllllllllllllll on August 04, 2010:

this is great info on when i get a bunny

daisybunny from Canada on June 23, 2010:

Great Hub. My bun-bun is always breathing rapidly but my friend said they "Just do that."

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