Domestic rabbits are becoming more and more popular as animals to have at home with us, but to really take good care of them, we must know aspects of their health, which can be very delicate. There are various diseases that rabbits can have, some very common in the field and, on the contrary, others much more common in the home. If you see any warning signs in the health of your rabbit, do not hesitate to go immediately to the vet to assess it.
From UNCOMO we want to guide you so that you know what are the most common diseases in domestic rabbits and so that, thus, you have more knowledge to take good care of this small mammal at home.
What are the most common diseases of rabbits – summary
The most common diseases in rabbits are, without a doubt, those related to the digestive system, which occur from the mouth to the end of the intestines. The digestive problems in rabbits They can occur because we offer an inadequate diet (nutrition problems) or, for aspects that do not have to do with what it eats, but with its environment, the state of health of different organs of the animal or other aspects. These are the most frequent diseases in rabbits, which we will explain better later.
- Intestinal hypomotility.
- Tooth overgrowth.
Apart from these health problems, there are others related to different aspects of your health that we will also address later.
Gut hypomotility in rabbits, a deadly disease
Although it is one of the most common diseases in rabbits and is one of the most serious, it is not well known among people who have one of these animals at home, especially if it is the first time. The intestinal or digestive hypomotility is a problem in which the normal movement of the intestines (peristalsis) stops happening, that is, the intestines stop moving, there are no longer muscular contractions that move in the food and that facilitate its digestion and the absorption of nutrients. This can happen, mainly, for two reasons or causes:
- 6 hours without eating: rabbits are always eating, as they cannot go without food for many hours. Specifically, around 6 hours without eating they begin to suffer a reduction in movement in the intestines, until they stop completely, and this produces a series of secondary problems that can lead the rabbit to die in no time.
- A lot of sugar and little fiber: When rabbits have an inadequate diet for them, such as excess carbohydrates or sugars and little fiber (precisely, rabbits need plenty of fiber and just sugars), the intestines begin to fail and hypomotility occurs .
For this reason, it is very important to offer a diet suitable for the rabbit’s needs, reducing treats as much as possible, and allowing it to always have food at its fingertips and not be without eating for several hours. If we detect that the rabbit does not move and we know that one of the two factors indicated above has occurred, it is likely that it is beginning to suffer from this problem and must be taken care of. veterinary emergencies. There they must give him a shock treatment with strong fluid therapy, among other care, to avoid his death.
Overgrowth of rabbit teeth
These small mammals are rodents, that is, they are always biting or gnawing on food or objects in order to wear down their teeth. This is because they need to have strong teeth that allow them to chew through the tough fibers of the large amount of daily vegetables they must eat. A) Yes, your teeth are strong and grow throughout your life to ensure good teeth and that, in the event of serious wear on them, this is not a problem, because if they were fixed and durable teeth like ours, they could easily lose their functionality.
In fact, rabbit teeth grow very fast, about 1mm a week, and when they do not wear them down they suffer serious problems, something that is common in domestic rabbits and rare in field rabbits. For example, they may suffer what is known as tooth overgrowth or overgrowth of teeth, which causes a dental malocclusion, deviating the jaws, preventing the animal from eating normally (they can even reach stop eating completely) and injury to the chin or gums. In addition, it is common that if the rabbit’s guardian does not realize this, an infection appears in the wound, further worsening the animal’s health. Finally, if left untreated, the rabbit can die of starvation or infection.
How to avoid overgrowth of rabbit teeth
It really is a very easy problem to avoid, offering adequate food to the rabbit so that it can feed well and wear teeth correctly (hay and other vegetables are essential, such as green leaves of carrots, cabbages, etc., avoiding giving many tubers, soft roots, seeds, sweets or feed; of which you have to offer reduced quantities to the animal), as well as observing his teeth almost daily. Apart from foods that serve to wear down his teeth, you can give him some objects, such as toys for rabbits, to gnaw on.
In case of detecting any symptoms of this type of problem, go to the vet as soon as possible for him to check it, trim his teeth and apply cures if necessary (with antibiotics, antiseptics, fluid therapy if he no longer ate, etc.). We recommend these other oneHOWTO articles on What rabbits eat and on How to take care of my rabbit’s teeth so that you can learn more about these rodents’ teeth and their diet.
Diarrhea in rabbits
The diarrhea are dangerous in rabbits because they can dehydrate very quickly. Diarrhea can appear for different reasons, such as spoiled food that may contain some intestinal parasites, such as bacteria, fungi or viruses, or because of problems with some recent changes in your diet or because of nervousness and discomfort.
Diarrhea in rabbits can lead to swelling in the belly, loss of appetite, loss of vivacity, increased thirst, apart from the loose or liquid stools that you can see on the ground. An important fact to keep in mind is that whenever you see a stain on the straw or the floor of its cage and you have doubts as to whether it is diarrhea or vomiting, think that it will always be diarrhea because rabbits cannot vomit. The severity of diarrhea in rabbits varies depending on the cause of the problem, the general health of the rabbit, etc. If your rabbit suffers from diarrhea, give him plenty of fresh water so he doesn’t get dehydrated, keep him somewhere where it won’t get cold, and go to the vet immediately.
The main causes of diarrhea in rabbits are:
- Diet with excess protein.
- Diet high in carbohydrates and low in fibers.
- Sudden change in diet.
- Coccidiosis in rabbits.
For more information, here we explain what to do if my rabbit has diarrhea. Then we go on to see other diseases of rabbits less common but are also seen in veterinary consultations.
Distemper or cold in rabbits
For a rabbit to catch a cold is rare compared to people, but it can happen that a rabbit catches a cold, whether it is a field animal or if it is in a house, and this problem is also known as distemper. It can appear at any time of the year and you will notice it quickly because you will see that it has nasal and eye discharge, plus numerous sneezes, watery and puffy eyes …
You can catch a cold due to poor hygiene or sudden changes in temperature, drafts, etc., which lower your defenses. You have to avoid catching a cold as it can lead to something more serious, such as pneumonia. If you see that your rabbit does not improve in two or three days, go to your veterinarian, then this type of distemper is not so dangerous, but accumulated mucus in your nose can make you short of breath and there may also be accumulation of bacteria, both on the nose and on the eyes. To prevent this from happening, be very demanding with hygiene and do not expose your rabbit to sudden changes in temperature or drafts. That his cage is in a dry and warm place.
Scabies in rabbits, a very contagious disease
There are different types of scabies in rabbits, for example, the one that occurs in various parts of the body, more generalized, or the one that takes place in the ears, that is, auricular scabies. Scabies in rabbits is a disease caused by mites and is very contagious among rabbits. Therefore, if you have several and detect any symptoms of scabies, you have to separate them.
You will see symptoms such as redness on the skin, small wounds, constant scratching, peeling, scabs … These signs can be localized or generalized, depending on the type of scabies and its progress. If you notice symptoms, you should go to the vet immediately, because if you don’t act quickly, your rabbit could get worse until it suffers from secondary diseases.
Learn more about this rabbit disease with this other oneHOWTO post about Scabies in rabbits: symptoms and how …