Rabbit has diarrhea: causes and treatment

If your rabbit is suffering from diarrhea, you should not delay a visit to the vet for too long. The animals have a sensitive digestive tract and can also become easily dehydrated if the diarrhea is left untreated. Here you can find out everything about possible causes and treatment of the disease.

If a rabbit has diarrhea, it's best to get to the vet immediately - Shutterstock / Tyler Olson

If a rabbit has diarrhea, it’s best to get to the vet immediately – Shutterstock / Tyler Olson

Diarrhea is very troublesome for rabbits. The animals are very sensitive. The disease irritates your intestinal mucosa and can inflame it, and the skin around the anus also easily becomes inflamed due to sticky remains of faeces.

You should therefore take your rabbit to the vet after 24 hours at the latest so that they can investigate the causes and treat your pet properly. What reasons can rabbit diarrhea have?

What Causes Rabbit Diarrhea?

Feeding errors are the most common cause of diarrhea in rabbits. Dry food from the trade, a lot of grain, treats and sweets such as yoghurt drops, too much fruit or root vegetables put a strain on the sensitive digestive tract of the animals and cause problems. Poor quality, unclean or rotten hay can also result in diarrhea.

Fresh green fodder should be the main food for rabbits, but they will not benefit from a too quick changeover. As soon as you introduce new foods to the rabbit diet, you should introduce them slowly. This means that you initially feed only a little of the new food to the usual food and gradually increase the proportion.

Vegetables and green fodder must not be contaminated with pollutants such as fertilizers, car exhaust fumes or pesticides. Therefore, always rinse it well before your pet eats it, but also dry it well afterwards, because water residue and too moist food can also cause diarrhea. Digestive problems can also occur if the clumsy noses have tooth problems or if they wolf down the available food too quickly due to a lack of food.

Sometimes parasites are the cause of the disease

If everything is fine with the rabbit diet and your long-eared bat still gets diarrhea, parasites can also be a cause. Mites, yeast fungi, giardia, coccidia or worms not only cause problems for dogs and cats, but also for rabbits. If you are unsure why your rabbit may be having diarrhea, collect a sample of feces from the cage and bring it with you to the vet. He carefully examines the sample and can thus find out whether and which parasites have caused the digestive problems.

If neither pathogens nor misfeeding are to blame, your pet may have accidentally poisoned itself by chewing on poisonous plants or plastic. Some rabbits, especially those with white fur or white spotted animals, are also particularly prone to digestive problems as they often suffer from the hereditary megacolon disease. The large intestine is enlarged so that the food is not digested well. The disease can also be caused by stress.

Here is an overview of the possible causes of diarrhea in rabbits:

  • malnutrition
  • diet change too fast
  • feed too wet
  • infections
  • parasites
  • poisoning
  • stress
  • megacolon

Treating diarrhea in rabbits: what helps?

If the diarrhea is mild, you can first try slowly introducing your rabbit to a healthier diet. However, if there is no improvement within 24 hours or if the condition worsens, it is best to take your pet and a stool sample to the vet.

However, if you have other symptoms of illness such as listlessness or refusal to eat, you should not hesitate for a second and call the veterinary emergency service immediately, as this can be life-threatening. The doctor then stabilizes the circulation with infusions and gives medication to stop the diarrhea. Depending on the results of the stool test, he will also prescribe other medications to treat the cause.

In severe cases, the long-eared bat must be treated as an inpatient, with minor symptoms you can usually nurse your animal back to health at home. Wipe away the remains of the faeces on the anus regularly so that the skin there does not become inflamed and change the food gently. Also make sure you drink enough fluids. In addition to water, lukewarm, diluted fennel and chamomile tea are also suitable.

Can you protect rabbits from diarrhea?

With species-appropriate rabbit nutrition, you can already do a lot to prevent digestive problems. You can also protect your rabbit from parasites as best as possible by keeping the cage clean and cleaning it regularly.

Otherwise, the following applies: Always keep a close eye on your long-eared cats so that you can quickly identify changes in behavior, problems with the food and symptoms of illness and call the vet for help in good time.

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