How to tell if your rabbit is sick

You want your pet rabbit to live a full and happy life, so it’s important that you keep a close eye on their health and behavior. Here we have listed a few telltale signs that indicate your bunny may not be well. Keep an eye out for these and take your furry friend to the vet if they start to manifest.

Appetite Changes

Is your rabbit not eating as much as usual? Changes in appetite can often mean your pet is not feeling well, since rabbits tend to have voracious appetites. If your rabbit seems uninterested in their food, even when you try to give them a treat, there may be something wrong.

Tip: Look to see if your rabbit is leaving food behind after meals, and if their behavior is unusual, monitor their eating. You’ll want to do this from a distance, though, so you don’t affect their behavior with your presence.

All sorts of health problems could be affecting your rabbit’s appetite, such as poor dental health, breathing troubles, lack of energy, or a simple viral infection. You won’t know what the root issue is, most likely, until you take your furry friend to the vet.

Changes in Posture

You should also be paying attention to your rabbit’s posture. Is he or she stiff as a board or are they hunched over? These could be signs that they are sick. Of course, some rabbits will simply behave oddly from time to time for no apparent reason. It doesn’t mean that they are sick, but if this behavior persists and has no discernable cause, then prepare your rabbit carrier and take your fluffy friend for a check-up.

Look for more obvious indicators of sickness too, such as limping. The experts at Golden Totally Goldens explain: “An injury of some kind can cause erratic posture. You might not see the injury, but you could notice the signs when your rabbit isn’t moving properly. Watch your rabbit if you suspect they are injured to see if their erratic posture is only happening occasionally or consistently.”

Odd Waste Appearance

Anyone trying to keep an eye on their rabbit’s health should be checking their waste. You know what your pet’s waste normally looks like, so if it is discolored, you should be able to tell. Blood in the urine or feces is usually a sign of an internal problem. Hemorrhoids, anal tearing, constipation, and cancer can all cause bloody feces. If urine is cloudy or some odd color, it can be a sign that your pet isn’t getting proper nutrients or has a serious health problem of some kind. Your rabbit may not be showing any other symptoms or signs of illness, but discolored or odd-looking waste is a really good indicator that your bunny needs to be taken to the vet.

Dental Issues

If your rabbit is suffering from dental problems, then those issues will probably show up as drooling or swelling. The face or mouth could swell if your rabbit has a tooth or gum infection. states that it’s not uncommon for rabbits to suffer from dental disease; your rabbit could be exhibiting symptoms from a problem they’ve had since birth, like overgrown teeth. For any temporary problems, though, you should be looking for abnormalities in how your rabbit eats and in their facial appearance.

Dental disease can be a result of poor grooming. Your rabbit may have trouble cleaning themselves and may have a dirty bottom as a result of dental health problems. Look for weepy eyes and diarrhea as well, which could indicate poor nutrition and could be related to dental disease of some kind.

Respiration Problems

One of the more noticeable kinds of symptoms are those related to respiratory disease. If your rabbit starts to cough, sneeze, wheeze or have shortness of breath, then that could indicate that there is a respiratory problem occurring. Your rabbit may also be mouth breathing or could have flared nostrils as a result of respiratory distress or disease.

Rabbits suffering from these kinds of problems are not likely to be very active and may not eat much food. They may become lethargic and not act like themselves, so look out for any signs to indicate a respiratory problem. You can put your ear close to your rabbit’s mouth or nose to hear his breathing and try to determine if you hear anything erratic or odd.


If you notice any of these signs, there is a good chance that your rabbit is feeling ill and needs medical help. Take your pet to the veterinarian right away or call the vet to get a professional assessment. You can give us a call on 01-282-1909 or email us at

The sooner you do something about your rabbit’s health problem, the more likely you are to make a difference in his health and get him back to his old self.

This is a guest post by Kristin Woodbury, Education Director at House Rabbit Society

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