How To Tell When Your Bunny Isn't Feeling Well

In the wild, showing any signs of weakness will get you picked off by a predator. So rabbits, like other prey species, do everything they can to hide the fact that something isn't right. As far as they're concerned, pretending that they're fine is their best chance of survival.

This can mean that by the time we see that something is wrong with our bunnies, they can be in a pretty bad way. And by the time they get to a vet, their illness is much more difficult to treat, or they're much more unwell than they would have been, if we'd known about it right away.

At the same time though, there are often some very subtle signs that something is up. And that's what we're going to look at in this post. As bunny parents, one of the most important parts of our bunnies' care, is looking out for these little things that tell us that something isn't right.

First of all, there's the major signs that your rabbit isn't feeling well. If you see any of these things in your bunny, they need to see a vet ASAP (as in phone them now!):

  • Not eating or pooping
  • Maggots on their fur or skin
  • Not wanting to move or looking lethargic
  • Collapse
  • Breathing through their mouth (rabbits should always be breathing through their nose)
  • A lot of blood
  • Diarrhoea

And then there's the less obvious, but still really important things to notice. While these signs / symptoms don't mean that your rabbit needs to see a vet today, they still mean its worth booking a consultation with your vet to get them checked out. These include . .

  • Moving about less that normal (even if you think they're just a tiny bit quieter than normal)
  • Eating a little bit less (again, even if if they're just eating a tiny bit less than normal, this still a sign that something isn't right)
  • Turning down a particular type of food that they would normally enjoy, even if they're still eating everything else
  • One rabbit being 'picked on' by the others in their group (the other rabbits will know that something is up before you do, and they might feel that the unwell bunny is putting all of them in danger. This doesn't sound very nice of them, but it's something they would have to do to survive in the wild.)
  • Not going in their litter tray when they normally would
  • Aggressive behaviours
  • Drinking more water than usual
  • Avoiding you if they would normally like having your attention
  • Grooming themselves excessively (bunnies need to groom themselves quite a lot, but if they're doing it excessively it could be a sign of pain or stress)

This isn't a complete list, but what you really need to know is that any change in your rabbit's normal behaviour could potentially be a sign of them not feeling well. There are of course other factors that can be involved (e.g. a change in their environment or something else that's making them nervous), but it's always worth getting any changes in your rabbit checked out by a vet.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this post was helpful to you and your bunnies!


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