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Posted in Rabbit Health | 1 comment

3 Common Illnesses in Rabbits

There are so many forms of rabbit illnesses that can affect your pets. From the simplest ones to the most fatal, we always have to be watchful of them. Being a pet-owner, we have to be responsible enough to know about the different forms of common rabbit illnesses, what causes them, what the symptoms are that we should watch out and even how to treat them. It is part of being a responsible rabbitry owner, to make sure that we provide our rabbits with their basic necessities like proper housing, good grooming, proper diet and handling so that we can prevent them from acquiring different forms of rabbit illnesses. There are a lot of rabbit illnesses that are known to affect our herds, but for now, let us concentrate on three among the many common ones.


Rabbit’s teeth that are constantly growing and they need to chew on hay and twigs so that they can keep their teeth at a comfortable length. But when the growth happens to rapidly or rabbits are not given items to chew on to wear the teeth down, malocclusion can occur because the teeth are too long. It can sometimes be hereditary because some rabbits are born with crooked teeth. Overgrown  teeth can cut into the mouth and cause infection. Rabbits may also stop eating and become anorexic because it is too painful for them to eat. When you rabbit shows an interest in food but does not eat, then you know that there is something wrong and you should check if there is any sort of dental issue.  Drooling and grinding of their teeth can be a sign of this form of rabbit illness. Providing rabbits with a constant supply of long and fibrous hay or grass, rabbit-safe twigs and even leafy greens to chew on is your from of prevention from this type of rabbit illnesses. When you cannot keep the malocclusion at bay, you can have the teeth trimmed at the vet or even have them surgically removed. But this is costly and not practical for most rabbitry. Rabbits with malocclusion should not be used for breeding.

photo credit: Dallas Krentzel via photopin cc

photo credit: Dallas Krentzel via photopin cc

Pododdematitis or “Sore Hocks”

Unlike dogs or cats, rabbits do not have pads on their feet. Cages without a solid bottom are usually the cause of damaged feet while constant moisture, prolonged confinement, obesity and overgrown nails can exacerbate the situation. Rabbits with sore hocks have raw, inflamed feet with callouses or abscesses. This can lead to them having seriously infected ulcers when not treated immediately. To treat this form of rabbit illnesses, you have to fix their housing situation and provide them with proper flooring. Also, exercise and nail-trimming can keep the situation at bay. Topical ointments can also help with this.


photo credit: vtbrak via photopin cc

photo credit: vtbrak via photopin cc

Respiratory Infections

This form of rabbit illness can be transmitted from one rabbit to another and is usually a result of stress, malnutrition or bacterial infection. Allergies and environmental irritants can also be a cause of respiratory infections. Of all the rabbit illnesses that come in the form of bacterial infection, pastuerella is the most frightening one as it affects the respiratory system and is very contagious. Symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, runny nose or eyes and fever indicate infection. Some develop ear infections and exhibit head-shaking and head tilt. A rabbit-safe antibiotic is your bet for these types of rabbit illnesses that is after vets have done culture and sensitivity to determine the kind of bacteria causing the infection.

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  • Dallas Krentzel

    FYI, that photo is of a springhare skull, which is a South African rodent in the family Pedetidae (order Rodentia), and not a rabbit or true hare (order Lagomorpha). Springhares and rabbits are sort of similar, but their similarities are convergent… Springhares are more closely related to rats, mice, and squirrels than to rabbits and true hares.

    You’re welcome to use the photo though.