There are many diseases that are typical for rabbits.
Knowing and especially recognizing these typical diseases can help you to help your pet quickly and safely in case of emergency.
In this article we present you 16 typical rabbit diseases and also show you how prevention and treatment can proceed.
Disease 1: Abscesses
Abscesses are inflammatory swellings that are painful and reddened.
They can be filled with pus and exert considerable prere on the surrounding tie, depending on their size.
They occur mainly in the area of the face or mouth, but can appear on the entire body, for example, as a result of a bite injury.
Due to the dense fur, they are usually difficult to see directly on the back or abdomen. A close examination is therefore essential.
How to recognize abscesses
Abscesses are often noticed only by chance. It is best to check your rabbits daily. Look closely at the mouth area as well.
If you notice reddened and swollen areas or if your pet suddenly jerks away when touched, it could be an abscess.
This is what you should do in case of rabbit abscesses
If you notice an abscess or suspect that your rabbit is suffering from one, consult a veterinarian immediately.
Since such an inflammation in the mouth can impair eating and drinking on the one hand, and on the other hand can have serious underlying causes, early treatment is of crucial importance.
Disease 2: Flatulence
Rabbits have an extremely sensitive digestive system.
They need to eat many small meals and plenty of roughage, such as grasses and hay, to avoid problems. If the feed is highly flatulent, if there is too little fiber or too much starch, there may be disturbances that manifest themselves as painful flatulence. The food ferments then too strongly. Excessive amounts of gases are formed. These exert prere and not infrequently cause the appetite to decrease.
How to recognize flatulence in rabbits
Rabbits suffering from flatulence cannot burp, and farting is usually not audible to humans either.
They usually adopt a protective posture and sit hunched over. The abdomen is bloated and hard. However, a stomach overload or an intestinal obstruction can also be responsible for this.
As a layman, the causes are indistinguishable from each other.
This is what you should do in case of flatulence
Consult a veterinarian, even if you only suspect flatulence.
The clarification is crucial. Subsequently, an agent to dissolve the gas may be administered.
In addition, an antispasmodic can be used. Tea and herbs that are beneficial for digestion are also recommended. Warmth and exercise will help your rabbit feel better quickly.
Disease 3: Bladder stones and kidney stones
Rabbits have a physiological peculiarity: they absorb all the minerals from food.
What is not needed or immediately consumed is excreted by the kidneys and bladder.
However, this only works if sufficient fluids are consumed and there is no disease or genetic predisposition to kidney stones.
If this is the case, minerals are deposited in the kidneys and urinary bladder, first becoming sludge and finally semolina. Over time, this can lead to the development of one or even several stones. In addition, your rabbit can be very quiet. Appear exhausted and weakened.
This is what you should do if you have bladder stones or kidney stones
If stones in the bladder or kidneys are suspected, consult a veterinarian immediately.
Because if a stone is lodged in front of the outlet in such a way that urine can no longer pass, life-threatening conditions can occur within a few hours.
In addition, the animal suffers from considerable pain. Already this requires immediate examination and treatment.
Disease 4: Chinese flatulence
China disease – also known as RHD – can be recognized by the extreme symptoms when it is severe.
The disease is highly contagious and can be transmitted from animal to animal but also by parasites or by remaining pathogens on objects.
A vaccination is therefore advisable in any case, as well as for myxomatosis. It is an infection caused by viruses and is accompanied by heavy bleeding.
Only in mild cases and with early treatment there is a chance of survival.
How to recognize Chinese disease in rabbits
RHD stands as an abbreviation for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus.
This virus causes considerable bleeding. This can cause your rabbit from the nose. Bleeding from the anus. In addition, there is fever, loss of appetite and fatigue.
If you observe such symptoms in your animals, immediate action is required. For the effects of the disease increase within a short time.
This is what you should do in case of Chinese disease
An immediate visit to the vet should also be made at night or on the weekend, because it is an emergency.
Through the treatment of symptoms and appropriate medication, the overall condition can be improved and the organism is strengthened. In the best case, the immune system fights the pathogens and recovery occurs.
However, it is better to have your rabbits protected by vaccination.
Disease 5: Intestinal obstruction
Intestinal obstruction is a serious problem that can lead to death within a short period of time. The blockage causes sections of the intestine to die and thus poisons the body.
Unfortunately it is not easy to recognize.
Because it could also be a temporary constipation with reduced fecal output.
As a layman it is not easy to recognize. Therefore you should act quickly in any case. Have an examination carried out.
How to recognize an intestinal obstruction in rabbits
Your rabbit will defecate less and then not at all in case of intestinal obstruction.
The abdomen is bulging and hard.
The animal ames a crouching posture and may appear apathetic. In addition, it no longer eats. Pain sensitivity to touch is also possible.
If there is already an intestinal obstruction, fever may also be present.
This is what you should do in case of intestinal obstruction
Constipation or complete intestinal obstruction is a life-threatening emergency.
Therefore, consult a veterinarian or a veterinary clinic immediately.
If there is only constipation, fluids and laxatives along with relaxing and antispasmodic medications can help.
In the case of intestinal obstruction, however, surgery may be necessary. Immediate treatment is a matter of life and death in any case.
Disease 6: Diarrhea
Due to their sensitive digestion and often incorrect feeding, rabbits can quickly develop diarrhea. The feces will be soft or liquid. Is weaned in large quantities. In addition to a too rapid change of feed, laxative foods can also be responsible for this, as well as stress, parasites or an infection.
In case of diarrhea, a lot of fluids and nutrients are lost, which can quickly lead to a general weakening.
Especially in young, old or pre-diseased rabbits, critical and life-threatening conditions can occur in a short time.
How to recognize diarrhea in rabbits?
The soft to liquid feces is a clear sign. This can be accompanied by a very strong, unpleasant odor.
Also blood admixtures are possible. In addition, the fur in the area of the anus can stick together. A weakened general condition. Loss of appetite often accompanies diarrhea in rabbits.
This is what you should do in case of diarrhea
See a veterinarian first to have the diarrhea examined and stopped.
The supply of liquid can take place by an infusion, if the rabbit is already dehydrated.
In addition, the cause of the diarrhea is clarified, which is crucial in case of parasite infestation or infection, in order to initiate the right continuing therapy.
Disease 7: E. Cuniculi – torticollis disease
E. Cuniculi is also known as torticollis, as crooked posture is a common sign of the infection.
The pathogens are carried by most rabbits.
An outbreak is to be feared however only with a weakened immune system.
In addition to a sloping neck, there are numerous other symptoms that cannot always be clearly identified as E.C. indicate a known disease. This makes it difficult to detect and diagnose the infection without proper examination.
How do you recognize E. Cuniculi in your rabbit?
– crooked head – signs of paralysis – convulsions – eye disorders – impaired coordination – shortness of breath – drooping corners of the mouth – difficulty in ingesting food and water
The rabbit affected by the fungus seems clumsy in its movements and can injure itself more often. In addition, the overall condition is weakened.
What should you do in case of E.C. undertake?
Go immediately to the vet, because immediate treatment with an appropriate remedy is essential.
The cure takes a long time even then. However, many rabbits recover almost completely with appropriate therapy. Can live a normal life afterwards.
Disease 8: Rabbit Sniffles
Rabbit rhinitis is a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract.
The disease is not comparable to a cold or a common cold in humans, because in rabbits it can be fatal.
It is therefore all the more important that you recognize rabbit sniffles early and have them treated. Because only then are good chances of survival.
A therapy with antibiotics, strengthening means and if necessary even infusions against a possible dehydration are advised.
How can you recognize rabbit colds??
Rabbit rhinitis usually starts with dry sneezing and clear nasal discharge.
As a result, the frequency of sneezing may increase. In addition, the discharge changes, becomes milky and sticky. This is a purulent nasal secretion, which indicates the bacterial infection. Shortness of breath, sticky and crusty fur around the nose, fever, loss of appetite and fatigue are common symptoms.
This is what you should do in case of rabbit sniffles
Have the rabbit rhinitis examined by a veterinarian at the first suspicion of it.
A nasal wash can identify the exact pathogens. Then the best treatment can be found. You can support this with food rich in vitamins and minerals, warmth and rest.
Disease 9: Coccidiosis
Coccidia are parasites that can infect the intestines or the liver and kidneys. They can be responsible for abscesses in the body and ensure that food can no longer be properly digested.
Untreated, an infestation leads to the death of the animal within a few days.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of coccidiosis are often not clear, which can make the diagnosis much more difficult. However, there are changes that must be clarified in any case by a veterinarian.
How to recognize coccidiosis in rabbits?
Intestinal coccidiosis causes significant digestive disturbances, which can manifest as flatulence and diarrhea, but also constipation.
– Loss of appetite up to complete cessation of eating – Weight loss – Dull coat – Apathy – Bloated, hard belly – Gentle posture
What to do about coccidiosis? The disease can only be cured with the appropriate medication. Can be cured with a comprehensive treatment.
Diagnosis and therapy must be carried out quickly and at an early stage. Because the mortality rate is high if the right measures are not taken.
So act immediately if you notice the symptoms described or if you fear infection for any other reason.
Disease 10: Maggot infestation
Strictly speaking, a maggot infestation is not a disease, but it can be the result of an illness or injury, cause considerable damage and even lead to death.
Because the maggots can eat deep into and even through tie and destroy muscle mass or even penetrate into the abdominal cavity. Due to the rapid hatching time from the fly eggs. The large number can thus cause fatal conditions within a few hours. The danger is especially in summer. Very high in unhygienic conditions.
How to recognize a maggot infestation
In case of wounds as well as diarrhea and thus sticky fur, flies lay eggs in the fur or directly in the open wound. You will be affected by the smell. Attracted to the heat. In warm ambient temperatures, maggots hatch very quickly from eggs and feed on feces and tie. They let themselves in the fur. Observe on the skin.
What you should do in case of maggot infestation
Go to a vet immediately! The wound must be rinsed out. All maggots are read. Depending on the depth and extent of the tie damage, additional surgical cleaning may be necessary.
In the case of very deep wounds that reach into the abdominal cavity or have already damaged large parts of the musculature, euthanasia may also be necessary.
Disease 11: Stomach overload
Stomach overload can occur when your rabbit eats too much or eats food that swells up very much, such as pressed pellets.
Foreign bodies blocking the exit to the intestine can also be responsible for it.
So it does not have to be a simple "overeating". The condition should still be taken very seriously. Because organic damage and even death are possible.
Therefore you must act quickly if you suspect a stomach overload.
How to recognize a stomach overload in rabbits?
The abdomen is hard, greatly enlarged in circumference and may appear bulging.
Also possible are cramps, relieving posture, pain and apathy. Your rabbit will not eat any more food. May grind its teeth. These are clear signs of pain.
Despite the thick and full belly, there is hardly any defecation because the digestive tract is overloaded or there is a congestion of food in the stomach and intestines.
What do you have to do in case of stomach overload? This can only be treated by an expert. With rabbits experienced veterinarian help.
If it is an occlusion, even an operation may be necessary. Therefore, it is better to prevent such a condition.
With the right food and daily checks of the animals, such problems can be avoided, the risk of them can be minimized or complaints can at least be noticed early and can be treated quickly.
Disease 12: Myxomatosis
Myxomatosis is a viral disease that is often fatal within ten to 14 days.
Preventive works a vaccination, which should receive also rabbits in pure housing in each case. The infection shows itself very clearly in an acute course. Is therefore comparatively easy to detect.
Nevertheless, quick action is required to increase the chances of survival. For these are usually small even with appropriate therapy. However, the earlier the treatment starts, the lower the risk is.
How can you recognize myxomatosis?
– eyelids – nose – mouth – lips – ears – genital area
In addition, the affected animals are apathetic, eat little to nothing and drink. Their general condition therefore deteriorates rapidly. You become visibly weaker.
Even otherwise healthy and vigorous rabbits often die within about two weeks.
What do you have to do in case of myxomatosis?
Veterinary treatment is essential. The earlier this begins, the better the chances for a full recovery.
However, it is better to prevent myxomatosis.
You can achieve this by vaccination. Since the infection is highly contagious and can occur in various ways, animals kept only indoors must also be protected by regular vaccinations.
Disease 13: Parasites
Parasites can infest fur and skin, bite, sting or burrow into the top layers of skin.
These are mites, fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and biting flies. These are also called ectoparasites.
Endoparasites are organisms such as worms or protozoa. They infest the animal internally.
Common complaints are then problems in the area of digestion. This can weaken the animal to the point of extreme underweight.
How to recognize parasites?
– dandruff – flea droppings – itching – redness – hair loss – swelling
If, on the other hand, it is worms or protozoa, common signs are:
– Diarrhea – weight loss – loss of appetite – apathy – hard, bloated abdomen
The consistency, quantity, color and odor of the feces can also change. In addition, worm eggs or segments may be visible.
What you have to do in case of an infestation with parasites?
Veterinarians can ensure that the parasites are eliminated by appropriate means.
In addition, drugs can be useful to build up the health condition. Parasite repellents can prevent infestation or at least reduce the risk of infestation.
Disease 14: Tumors
Tumors can form anywhere on and in the rabbit's body, and can be benign or malignant.
While malignant tumors can spread and grow on different organs, even benign growths can cause a restriction of important functions. They are to be taken seriously in any case. Need quick treatment.
Lumps and swellings under the skin can also be so-called Grutzbeutel, the distinction is for laymen and without appropriate examination and biopsy, however, not feasible.
How can you recognize tumors in rabbits?? To detect tumors on the internal organs is only possible by limited functions. A worsened general condition is possible.
Accordingly, they are often noticed only very late. This complicates the diagnosis. The treatment.
Tumors that are superficial and can be felt through the skin or even visible as a bump make diagnosis easier.
What you have to do in case of a tumor?
Only a veterinarian can help here.
Usually the doctor will first palpate the growth and, if necessary, perform a biopsy to determine the cell type. The tumor may be removed directly, if possible. The cell type is only determined afterwards by pathology. In addition, imaging procedures are advisable in order to exclude metastases or to be able to remove them surgically at an early stage.
Disease 15: Hypothermia
If rabbit fur is not only superficially damp, but soaked through to the skin, this can quickly lead to hypothermia, even at rather mild temperatures.
Wetness becomes especially dangerous in the cold seasons when your animals get caught in the rain. Then even a short time is enough to cause serious problems.
Circulatory problems, a significant reduction of the immune system and even sudden death are possible. A rapid drying. Warming the rabbit is essential.
How do you recognize hypothermia in rabbits??
Signs of freezing are, as in humans, trembling of the whole body. Rabbits sit crouched, trying to minimize body surface area. They are otherwise calm. Saving energy with it.
The ears and paws feel cold. As a result, the animals can become drowsy. Falling into a cold shock.
What to do in case of hypothermia?
Dry the rabbit's fur with a towel, cellulose or a hairdryer and try to brush it again and again. This loosens it up and the warm, dry air penetrates to the skin.
Increase the room temperature and provide your pet with sufficient fluids and energy-rich food.
If it is a serious hypothermia and your rabbit is no longer responsive, you must immediately consult a veterinarian.
Disease 16: Dental problems
The nail teeth of rabbits grow throughout their life. They must be able to abrade, which is why roughage or high-fiber feed is crucial.
Nevertheless, misalignments, falls or inflammations as well as too hard surfaces can cause the teeth to break off, become too long or crooked and therefore drill into the gums.
An oblique position can also prevent the edges of the teeth from wearing properly. Several problems arise from this.
How to recognize dental problems in rabbits?
– excessive salivation / drooling – difficulty eating and drinking – weight loss – teeth grinding
Bleeding, bad breath, redness and swelling, and purulent nasal discharge can also indicate that there is a problem in the mouth and teeth area.
What you can do if you have dental problems?
If you suspect inflammation, abscess or malocclusion – present your rabbit to a veterinarian immediately.
Teeth may need to be shortened or extracted to achieve freedom from pain and prevent more severe progressions. Because even an inflamed and suppurated tooth root is enough to destroy tie and require a long healing process.