If you’re concerned about your rabbit losing weight, there can be many different causes. If your rabbit has lost 10 percent or more of their regular bodyweight, this can be a reason to speak to your veterinarian.
For the most part, the most common reason your rabbit is losing weight is that their appetite has decreased. The fewer calories they eat, the more weight they will lose.
Why Is My Rabbit Losing Weight?
There are many different reasons your rabbit is losing weight. Causes include parasites, a kidney infection, a more serious disease like cancer, or simply because they are getting older.
If you’re thinking why is my rabbit losing weight? the first thing to do is to see if you notice any other changes in behavior or symptoms of illness.
Is my rabbit too skinny?
One of the simplest ways to know if your rabbit is too skinny is to look at their ribs. If your rabbit’s ribcage sticks out too much, they are probably under their recommended weight.
To determine if their ribcage sticks out too much, compare their ribs to your closed fist. If the ribs feel like the knuckles of your hand, then they are underweight.
Here are a few reasons your rabbit is losing weight or is underweight:
Rabbit losing weight and muscle mass
If you’re concerned about your rabbit losing weight and they are also losing muscle mass, this condition is called cachexia and you should speak to your rabbit’s doctor immediately.
The symptoms of cachexia in rabbits may include:
- Decreased stool production
- Tooth grinding
- Hunched over posture
- Bad bread and drooling
- Loss of appetite
- Abnormal breathing
In addition, a rabbit losing weight may be the result of dental disease, poor quality food, digestive issues, central nervous system disorders, muscular or nervous system diseases, or physical injuries.
To make the correct diagnosis, you should have your doctor examine your rabbit. Here are a few things to consider.
Rabbit losing weight and digestive issues
If your rabbit is losing weight and also experiencing digestive issues like diarrhea, there might be a connection.
There are two different types of rabbit poop. Normal rabbit poop should be round and not too soft. They are dry and crumbly. Ceceotrope pellets are smaller and oblong.
In addition to traditional rabbit poop, your rabbit will also poop cecotrope pellets that are smaller than traditional rabbit poop. They are not perfectly round and are often stuck together.
Rabbits need to redigest these cecotrope pellets as part of their digestive process. They cannot digest all of the nutrients from their food the first time they eat it. They eat their poop so that they can get these missed nutrients the second time they eat them.
If your rabbit is not eating their cecotrope pellets, they may have a diet that’s too high in protein. Rabbits should eat grass hay, a small number of pellets, and a leafy green salad every day. They should not eat alfalfa hay if they are over a year old.
Your rabbit may also experience diarrhea due to a virus, environmental stress, or a diet that is too high in carbohydrates or lacking in fiber. In rare cases, your rabbit can have parasites that can cause digestive upsets.
Rabbit losing weight or underweight?
If your rabbit is not losing muscle and doesn’t appear to have digestive issues, there could be other reasons why you’re noticing this with your bunny.
Is your rabbit losing weight or simply underweight? If they were malnourished when young, they may never reach their potential weight goal. Your rabbit should maintain the same weight throughout its adult lifespan.
So, if they are simply underweight, rather than losing weight, this may not be a cause for concern.
Rabbit losing weight and stress
Has your rabbit’s lifestyle changed recently? Loud noises from children or other pets can startle and stress your rabbit. Is their cage in a location where they’re exposed to loud noises from the street or a neighbor’s dog barking?
Has your rabbit lost or gained a hutch mate? Rabbits are social creatures and like company. But, if they are paired with a more dominant rabbit, they may be being bullied.
The larger rabbit might be hogging the food. Or, it may even be attacking the rabbit if it tries to eat.
If you’re wondering about a rabbit losing weight as they age, this may be a normal part of the aging process. As rabbits get older, they may have a decreased appetite.
If your senior rabbit is losing weight and they experience no other symptoms, you might try offering them more pellets. They will still need to have fresh hay, freshwater, and fresh greens every day.
You can also look for extruded nuggets that are intended to feed senior rabbits. This type of rabbit nugget has been made especially for the dietary needs of senior rabbits.
They should be given at least one tablespoon of pellets per kilogram of body weight per day. Senior rabbits may need more than this if they are experiencing weight loss.
Rabbit losing weight and dental diseease
Be aware that some rabbits experience dental disease. If your rabbit is eating less, preferring different types of foods or showing swelling around their mouth or jaw, they should be seen by a veterinarian.
They may have developed sores or abscesses in the mouth. Or, it’s possible they are experiencing improper tooth wear or have overgrown incisors or molars. A veterinarian can examine your rabbit to see if this is a cause of weight loss.
Conclusion : Why is my rabbit losing weight?
So, as you can see if you’re concerned about your rabbit losing weight, it’s important to see what other types of symptoms they’re experiencing.
- Weight and muscle loss
- Diet change
- Digestive issues
- Dental issues
Take note of any changes in their diet, how much water their drinking, their behavior, and their living situation. Then, you can contact your rabbit’s doctor and provide as much detail as possible about what’s going on. This will allow your vet to best determine why your rabbit is losing weight.