How can I tell if my rabbit is sick?

Detecting illness in rabbits can be challenging because they are prey animals and tend to hide signs of illness until they are quite sick. However, there are some common signs that may indicate your rabbit is unwell. Here are some key things to watch for:
Changes in appetite or water intake: A sudden decrease in appetite or water consumption can be a sign of illness in rabbits. Conversely, increased thirst can also indicate health issues such as kidney problems or dental issues.

Changes in faeces: Pay attention to your rabbit's droppings. Healthy rabbit droppings are round, dry, and firm. If you notice changes in the size, shape, colour, or consistency of your rabbit's faeces, it could indicate gastrointestinal problems or other health issues.

Reduced activity or lethargy: If your rabbit is less active than usual, seems lethargic, or spends more time than usual huddled in one spot, it may be a sign of illness. Rabbits are typically curious and active animals, so any significant change in behaviour should be investigated.

Respiratory symptoms: Wheezing, sneezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing can indicate respiratory infections or other respiratory problems in rabbits. Keep an eye out for any signs of laboured breathing or nasal discharge.

Eye or nose discharge: Discharge from the eyes or nose may indicate an infection or other underlying health issue. Monitor your rabbit for any signs of discharge, including crustiness around the eyes or wetness around the nose.

Dental problems: Dental issues are common in rabbits and can cause significant health problems if left untreated. Watch for signs of drooling, reluctance to eat, or difficulty chewing, which may indicate dental pain or overgrown teeth.

Changes in grooming habits: Rabbits are meticulous groomers, so a sudden decrease in grooming behaviour may indicate that your rabbit is not feeling well. Conversely, excessive grooming or fur pulling can be a sign of stress or health problems.

Changes in posture or mobility: Difficulty moving, limping, or hunching can indicate musculoskeletal problems, injury, or arthritis. Monitor your rabbit for any changes in posture or mobility, and seek veterinary care if you notice any issues.
If you notice any of these signs or any other unusual behaviour in your rabbit, it's essential to seek veterinary attention promptly. Early detection and treatment of illness can improve the chances of a positive outcome for your rabbit. You know your rabbit the best if in doubt get it checked out.

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