Sick Rabbit?


12 Years
Oct 1, 2007
Medina, OH
I have a 3 yr old New Zealand Rabbit that lives in a hutch outside. I have old hay in the hutch for bedding. It isn't moldy, just too dry to be fed to horses. I noticed that she hasn't eaten anything since yesterday and seems very sad. Definitely not feisty like normal. Nor did she have any interest in running around when I let her loose for a while. She has been fed her rabbit feed and the weeds I normally pick from the grass for her. She has eaten the weeds for a couple of years and no we don't chemically treat. While it has been about 40-50 at night, I'd think she is staying pretty warm inside of the hutch.

I know nothing of where she was born or came from. She was left by the renters at our old house. We got her when she was a few months old.

Any idea on what can be wrong with her?
Tons of things but the most important is to get food and fluids in her now. I'm not sure what else is appropriate for rabbits but for guinea pigs we'd dissolve pellets in warm water or juice with no sugar added and syringe feed this pellet slurry every few hours until they were eating on their own. Within hours of not having food the digestive tract of animals like guinea pigs, rabbits, and horses can start to shut down and they will die. You have to keep things going in.

As for the cause of her deciding not to eat she could have a tooth problem, respiratory infection, bladder stones, poisoning from a weed you didn't identify correctly, spider bite... who knows... It would take a much more detailed physical exam with more symptoms than just inactivity and loss of interest in food to diagnose the problem.
Rabbits don't get cold unless exposed directly to rain/snow and wind. If she has a roof and wind block or an inside box to get into, she will be fine and no hay is needed. It will just get nasty from her pooping on it. Wire floors are nice because they keep things sanitary.

How is her poop? Normal looking? Has she been going? Rabbits can get a fur blockage like cats. I do agree with Akane, not eating and looking sick is a serious sign with these guys because in the wild that means they would get eaten, so they don't show those signs until they are really sick. Here is an article I found on the fur block that might help.
Has your female rabbit been spayed? Has she ever been pregnant?

Reproductive cancers are very common in unspayed, never bred female rabbits. I'm not saying your rabbit has cancer, but not eating is a serious symptom in rabbits and I would urge you to get her to a vet ASAP.
put her on oats and fresh parsley, oats are easy to digest and parsley makes them want to eat. Do that for a couple days to see if there's a difference. Also give her unflavored Pediatlye to drink, this will give her a boost. Put her water/pedialyte in a bowl instead of a bottle if she is using a bottle...this will make it that much easier for her to get to if she's weak.
Does she have a nasal discharge or runny stool? I would take away all feed/hay/grass ect. except for the oats and pedialyte for a couple days.
Spaying/Neutering a rabbit does not extend thier lives.
Thanks again for the replies. She was dead by the time I woke up Tuesday morning. We were going to take her to the vet but she died before we could.

The poop in the outside cage looked fine. Monday night I brought her and sat on the couch with her. She peed and drank a bit of water but didn't want anything to do w/food or parsley.

I have had a couple of rabbits in the past that were anywhere from a year to 4, that have died too. One day they are fine, the next, they are gone. I read that they can have digetstion issues so I made sure Raspberry had the same food and something to chew on like alfafa. I am really torn as to what happened to her.

My DH suggested maybe the target shooting we did Sunday afternoon stressed her out too much.

Then we had a rabbit once that lived 10 years!

No she was never fixed and never bred.

No nasal discharge.

I've already told the family no more bunnies until I am an expert on them!

It bothers me terribly because she was such an awesome rabbit.
That's not what the House Rabbit Society says.

That's also not what my vet says, but I suppose she could just be in it for the money.

I'm very sorry you lost your rabbit, lfoose.
That's not what the House Rabbit Society says.
That's also not what my vet says, but I suppose she could just be in it for the money.
I'm very sorry you lost your rabbit, lfoose.

These are quotes from the house rabbit society...

"Altered rabbits are healthier and live longer than unaltered rabbits. The risk of reproductive cancers (ovarian, uterine, mammarian) for an unspayed female rabbit stands at is virtually eliminated by spaying your female rabbit. Your neutered male rabbit will live longer as well, given that he won't be tempted to fight with other animals (rabbits, cats, etc.) due to his sexual aggression."
My reply= Yes, the way they word it is making it a true statement. When you take out the ovaries, uterous and mammary glands is does virtually eliminate the risk of these cancers...because you removed those parts. lol They're also implying that a neutered buck will live longer, but thier reason is because it won't get killed while fighting due to sexual aggression, not because it is saved from testicular cancers. I've had plenty of bucks and does live for several years and I breed. Obviously if you make your does have litter after litter after litter the poor thing is going to keel over. Responsible breeding is a key factor.

"Avoidance of obnoxious behavior. Unneutered male rabbits spray, and both males and females are much easier to litter train, and much more reliably trained, after they have been altered"
My Reply= Not all bucks will spray, and those that do can be trained not to. Believe it or not I get sprayed by does more often then bucks and it maybe happens a couple times a year at most. I litter train my hares (because of their cages it makes it more sanitary) and none of them are altered. Many people who show use litter boxes and none of thier rabbits are altered.

Altered rabbits won't contribute to the problem of overpopulation of rabbits
My Reply= respondsible ownership helps too...obviously a buck and a doe will make babies. It surprises me how often people don't realize that.

Altered rabbits can safely have a friend to play with. Rabbits are social animals and enjoy the company of other rabbits. But unless your rabbit is altered, he or she cannot have a friend, either of the opposite sex, or the same sex, due to sexual and aggressive behaviors triggered by hormones.
My Reply= Some rabbits just can't have companions...just like dogs, cats, etc. They just don't like other rabbits and it has nothing to do with being altered. A rabbit can have a companion and not be altered, just needs to be of the same sex or you'll have babies. I know someone who shows and retires her does into a very large horse stall once they're past show/breeding prime.

These are all just my opinions. I don't agree with some of the info put out there by the House Rabbit Society just because they word it like "this is the way and there is no other way", when really they should be telling people the truth on both sides so pet owners can make a respondsible educated decision on their own.
Although spay and neutering has become a much safer procedure for rabbits if it's your only rabbit I feel it's completely unneccesary.
But these are just my thoughts
I like to share my opinions
Sorry you lost her
It's never easy to lose a pet. I really dout you did anything wrong and if you've done shooting before she was probably used to it. My rabbits are used to vehicles, children, shooting etc...just so that loud noises won't startle them.
Rabbits are a lot of fun to have, good luck in your search for a new rabbit friend!

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