Rabbit Health Risks: What to Look Out For

Hello everybody! Welcome back to this week’s blog post.

Last week we covered the differences between adopting a house bunny or buying one from a breeder or pet store and which option was right for you.

This week, I would like to introduce you to the world of bunny health! Now, just like anything that concerns a house bunny, they are slightly different than a cat or dog when it comes to their health. Rabbits do have different, more specific, needs than a cat or dog and with that comes some different things to look out for.

Of course, there a diseases like cancer, arthritis, health and liver problems, obesity, etc. that can occur in any animal and are things you should look out for in any pet, but there are a few diseases that pose a real issue to rabbits that you wouldn’t have to worry about when adopting a dog or cat. For the most part, rabbit diseases are not fatal and can be taken care of with medication and treatments. Most rabbits can live up to 10 years or so, so if you make sure to stay on top of your rabbit’s health, house bunnies can remain healthy and live for a very long time!

Before we go through these diseases, the first thing you should keep in mind is that, since they are prey animals, rabbits do not like to show weakness to any form of life, including you. Out in the wild, an injured rabbit might just be dinner to a nearby predator, so rabbits tend to hide that they are in pain or sick. Many rabbit owners have no idea their rabbit is sick or in pain until it’s too late, so it is really really really important to take your rabbits to the vet regularly in order for them to be examined. I myself make sure to take my two babies to the vet every six months. You should not wait till your rabbit is displaying pain or acting funny to finally take them to the vet! There might be something going on with your bunny that they are not letting you know and vet visits are essential when caring for a bun.

So the first health issue that is common with a bunny is eye infections. It’s not uncommon for house bunnies to get dust, hay, etc. in their eyes that causes irritation or infection. If you notice your rabbit is wiping at their face constantly or that their eyes are red and watery, you might need to take them to the vet to get eye drops to kill off the infection. The same goes for ear infections. Rabbits are known to get ear infections easily (you can tell if they are shaking their head back and forth as if trying to get something out of their ears or scratching at their ears). Again, a simple vet visit and some medicine can clean that right up.

Second health issue to look out for in rabbits has to do with their anatomy. Rabbits have incredibly brittle and fragile bones and it’s easy for them to break something if they happen to fall from a tall height or move in a wrong way. This is why it’s important to never carry your bunny in your arms if they have a tendency to want to move! One fall can result in a broken leg, or even a broken back. Making sure to keep an eye on your bunny and keep them away from taller heights is a great way to make sure your bunny doesn’t experience the pain of any broken bones!

The third health issue that we will discuss today is the most serious one when considering a house bunny. The disease is called Gastrointestinal stasis (or GI stasis). This occurs when a bunny’s stomach and other digestive organs stop functioning properly. A rabbit’s digestive system is incredibly sensitive and they require a diet that is rich in vitamins, fiber and water. Rabbits are in need of hay and water constantly in order to keep their stomach working properly, as well as exercise in order to help process all of the fiber they are taking in each day. GI stasis can occur if something goes wrong with a rabbit’s digestive system and can prove fatal if not treated in time. There are a few symptoms that are rabbit has GI stasis such as lack of eating, drinking, fatigue, erratic fecal patters, etc. Take you bun to a vet immediately if you have suspicions that your rabbit has GI stasis.

I hope this quick overview of rabbit health risks helps you in making sure your house bun is healthy and happy! Remember, when in doubt, take them to the vet! I’ll also include some helpful links below if you would like more information about house bunnies health!

Have a great day!

Helpful Links Below:

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  • Billie Jo Parker

    It is interesting to think about how rabbits hide their pain. Before reading your post I didn’t know rabbits did since, but it makes sense since they are prey animals. I never really knew that rabbits had brittle bones either, but I am definitely going to keep this in mind when I go to hold or carry a rabbit.

  • Joseph Doll

    This was an interesting read, my cousins used to have bunnies but I never knew anything about them really. Do bunnies commingle with other pets like a dog or a cat? Do you take them for walks or do they pretty much just stay inside? Can you teach them tricks?

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