Most common diseases in rabbits

If you have a rabbit or are planning on adopting one, you should inquire about various things so that you can ensure that he has a good life. You should keep in mind that your domestic rabbit, well cared for and in good health, can live between 6 and 8 years.

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So, if you want to enjoy your friends with your long ears for years, keep reading this new article from YourCatCareguide and get the basic knowledge about the problems and diseases most common in rabbits , to know when to take and take your friend to the veterinarian.

It may also interest you: Most common diseases in hamsters

Types of diseases and basic prevention

Rabbits can suffer from diseases of very different origins, like any living thing. We then classify and describe the most common diseases according to their origin – bacterial, fungal, viral, parasitic, hereditary and other health problems.

Most of the diseases of the rabbits are specific to their species , which means that they do not spread among different animal species. That way, if you have another animal that lives with your friend will skip, you do not have to worry (in principle) about possible contagion of serious diseases.

In order to prevent the most common diseases and problems , you should follow the vaccination schedule indicated by the veterinarian, maintain good hygiene, provide adequate and healthy food, ensure exercise as well as a good rest, ensure the rabbit is stress-free , check your body and hair frequently, and observe your behavior so that, to the smallest detail that seems strange in your individual behavior, contact the veterinarian.

By following these guidelines, you will easily avoid health problems. Should they arise, you can detect them in a timely manner, making your hair’s recovery quicker and more effective. Next, we will expose the most common diseases of rabbits according to their origin.

Diseases of viral origin

  • Anger: This viral disease is spread all over the world, but it is already eradicated in many parts of the world because effective vaccination is mandatory in many parts of the world. Many mammals, including Oryctolagus cuniculus, are affected by this disease If you have your rabbit vaccinated, avoiding possible contacts with animals that appear to be sick with rabies, you can rest easy. In any case, you should know that there is no cure and that it is best to avoid prolonging the suffering of the infected animal.

  • Rabbit haemorrhagic disease: This disease is caused by a calicivirus and is transmitted very quickly. In addition, it can be infected both directly and indirectly. The routes of entry of this infection are nasal, conjunctival and oral. The most common symptoms are nervous and respiratory signs, in addition to anorexia and apathy. As this virus manifests very aggressively causing seizures and nosebleeds, infected animals usually die within hours of the onset of the first symptoms. Therefore, it is best to prevent this disease following the vaccination schedule that the veterinarian indicates. Generally, an annual bivalent vaccine is administered to the rabbits that covers this disease and myxomatosis.
  • Myxomatosis: The first symptoms appear 5 or 6 days after the infection. The animal gains lack of appetite, inflammation of the eyelids, inflammation of the lips, ears, breasts and genitals, besides the swelling of the nose with transparent nasal discharge and pustules around the mucous membranes. There is no treatment for this disease, and the ideal is to prevent it with the appropriate vaccines in the spring and summer, and summer is the time of year with greater risk. The vehicles or transmitters of the virus that cause this disease are hematophagous insects, which means that they feed on blood, such as mosquitoes, flies, ticks, lice, lice, etc. Rabbits can still be infected by contact with other already sick individuals. Sick animals die between the second and fourth week after the infection.

Diseases of bacterial and fungal origin

  • Pasteurelose : This disease has a bacterial origin and can be produced by two different types of bacteria: pasteurella and bordetella . The most common factors that favor this bacterial infection are the dry food powder that gives your rabbit the environment and the climate of the place where you live and the stress you may have accumulated. The most common symptoms include sneezing, snoring and too much nasal mucus. It can be treated with specific antibiotics that will be very effective if the disease is not very advanced.
  • Pneumonia: In this case, the symptoms are also respiratory by including sneezing, nasal mucus, snoring, cough, etc. In this way, it is similar to pasteurellosis but is a much deeper and more complicated bacterial infection that reaches the lungs. Your treatment is also done with specific antibiotics.
  • Tularemia: This bacterial disease is very serious because it has no symptoms, the animal only stops eating. It can only be diagnosed with laboratory tests since it can not be based on more symptoms or tests that can be performed on time during the veterinary consultation. By not ingesting any food, the affected rabbit can die between the second and fourth day. This disease is associated with fleas and mites.
  • Generalized abscesses: The most common abscesses in rabbits are nodules under the skin that are filled with pus and are caused by bacteria. You should consult your veterinarian to start a treatment as soon as possible and should do cures to eliminate the bacterial infection and the abscesses themselves.
  • Conjunctivitis and ocular infections: They are produced by bacteria in the eyelids of the rabbits. The eyes are inflamed and abundant ocular secretions occur. In addition, in severe cases the hair around the eyes sticks, the eyes are filled with pimples and secretions that prevent the animal from opening its eyes, and may even have pus. Conjunctivitis can be of bacterial origin and the cause is the irritation produced by distinct allergens such as household dust, tobacco smoke or dust in your bed if it contains very volatile particles such as sawdust. You should apply specific eye drops prescribed by your trusted veterinarian for as long as it indicates.
  • Pododermatitis: Also known as necrobacillosis, it occurs when the environment of the rabbit is moist and the soil of the cage is not the most suitable. Thus, wounds are produced which infest with bacteria that end up producing the pododermatitis in the feet of the infected rabbits. It is a very contagious disease, since the bacteria lodge at almost any point of the small wounds or until cracks in the skin that do not arrive to be wounded. Learn more about this problem in the Expert’s article on calluses on the feet of rabbits , their treatment and prevention.
  • Had: It is produced by a fungus that affects the skin of the rabbits. It reproduces rapidly through spores. In this way, if it occurs, it is difficult to control the contagion of other cohabiting individuals. It affects areas without which they gain a rounded shape and crusts on the skin, especially on the face of the animal.
  • Middle Ear and Inner Ear Diseases: These complications are caused by bacteria and greatly affect the organ of balance in the ear, with the most obvious symptoms being loss of balance and rotation of the head to one side or the other. other, according to the affected ear. These symptoms usually only manifest themselves when the disease is already advanced and, therefore, the tutors only realize the problem late. At this stage, almost no treatment is usually effective.
  • Coccidiosis: This disease produced by coccidia is one of the deadliest for rabbits. Coccidia are microorganisms that attack from the stomach to the colon. These microorganisms live in equilibrium in the rabbit’s digestive system in a normal way, but when very high and low stress levels of the important defenses coccidia multiply uncontrollably and adversely affect the rabbit. The most common symptoms are hair loss, digestive disorders such as excessive gas and continuous diarrhea. In the end, the affected rabbit stops eating and drinking water, which causes him to die.

Diseases of external parasitic origin

  • Scabies: Scabies are produced by mites that form tunnels in the various layers of the skin, even reaching the muscles of the infested animal. That is where they reproduce and lay their eggs from where they hatch new mites that produce more itching, wounds, crusts, etc. In the case of rabbits, there are two types of scabies, one that affects the skin of the body in general and one that only affects the ears and ears. Scabies are very contagious among rabbits and transmission occurs through contact with already infested animals. It can be prevented and treated with ivermectin.
  • Fleas and lice: If your rabbit spends part of the day outside in the garden or in contact with dogs or cats that go outside, you are likely to end up having fleas or lice. The guardian should avoid it by defibrillating mainly the pets that can gain them more easily like the dogs or the cats. In addition, you should use a rabbit-specific anti-parasite prescribed by your veterinarian. In addition to excessive itching problems caused by the parasites, you must take into account that they are hematophagous and that, therefore, they feed on the blood of your pet with your bite. They often transmit many diseases in this way, such as myxomatosis and tularemia.

Diseases of internal parasite origin

  • Diarrhea : Diarrhea is very common in rabbits of any age, but especially in small rabbits. The digestive tract of these small mammals is very delicate and sensitive. Among the most common causes is the abrupt change of diet and the consumption of fresh food poorly washed. In this way, you should ensure that any food is well washed with water before offering it to the rabbit. If you have to change your diet for some reason, you should do it gradually: mixing the food you want to take with the new one, and gradually introduce more of the new and removing more of the previous one. Thus, your digestive system begins by adapting itself adequately to the change without creating problems.
  • Coliform infection: Consists of a secondary infection by opportunistic parasites. When our rabbit already suffers from coccidiosis, for example, this disease causes secondary infections to occur easily. Coliform infection in rabbits occurs thanks to escherichia coli and the main symptom, as well as the most serious problem it produces is diarrhea to be continued. If it is not treated in time with enrofloxacin injected or well diluted in rabbit water, it can end up causing the animal to die.

Diseases of hereditary origin

  • Excessive growth of the teeth or shortening malformation of the upper and / or lower jaw: It is a hereditary problem that occurs by excessive growth of the teeth, either the upper or lower incisors, which eventually move the jaw or jaw back problems of space. This causes your rabbit to fail to feed itself well, and in severe cases, you may starve to death if you do not visit the veterinarian regularly to cut or grind your teeth. Your food should also be made easier when you find that you do not eat alone. Find out more about how to act if there is an abnormal growth of your rabbit’s teeth .

Other common health problems in rabbits

  • Stress: Stress in rabbits can be caused by several problems in their environment. For example, the fact that they feel lonely or lack affection, the changes in their environment, in the home, and in the companions with whom they live. The fact that you do not have enough space to live, poor diet or lack of exercise can also produce stress on your eared rabbit.
  • Colds: Rabbits also constipate when exposed to excessive drafts and moisture. This happens more often if your rabbit is stressed or has low defenses. Symptoms include sneezing, abundant nasal discharge, swollen and tearful eyes, etc.

  • Inflammation and Suppurative Wounds of the Skin: It is easy that when living in a cage, even if it is only for a few hours of the day, it is verified that the rabbit has some inflamed zone or even some wound. You should be aware and check your long-legged, furry friend’s body every day, as these inflammations and wounds usually swiftly begin to ooze pus. This greatly weakens the health of the rabbit, and may even die from an infection.
  • Intussusception of the eyelids: It is a problem in which the eyelids fold inwards. In addition to being a major nuisance for your pet, the problem ends up producing irritations and suppurations in the tear ducts and even infects them and can cause blindness.
  • Hair loss and ingestion: Hair loss in rabbits usually occurs due to stress and lack of nutrients and vitamins in your daily diet. For these reasons, they often eat the hair that falls. That way, if you detect that this is happening to your friend, you should take him to the vet to realize what is wrong with your diet or what is stressing the rabbit and thus correct the problem.
  • Red urine: It is a food deficiency of the rabbit that causes this color in the urine. You should review your diet and balance it, as there is a high probability that you are offering too much greens or that you lack any vitamin, vegetable or fiber. It should not be confused with blood urine, as this is a more serious problem that requires immediate action on the part of the veterinarian.
  • Cancer: The cancer that most commonly affects rabbits is that of the genitals, in both males and females. For example, in the case of rabbits, those who are not sterilized are 85% more likely to have cancer of the uterus and ovaries by age 3 years. At 5 years, this risk is over 96%. Sterilized rabbits and rabbits can live with tutors for a period of 7 to 10 years without problems when they live in adequate and healthy conditions.
  • Obesity: In domestic rabbits, obesity or excessive weight is more and more frequent, being caused by the type and amount of food they receive and the little exercise they practice daily. Find out more about this pet health problem in our article on obesity in rabbits, their symptoms and diet .
  • Insolation: Rabbits are more accustomed to the cold than to the heat because they come from areas with lower temperatures than most of the year. That is why some breeds of rabbits can withstand temperatures well up to -10 º when they have shelter. However, if temperatures are around 30 ° C they are too high. If they are exposed to this climate without water and without a cool shelter to regulate their temperature, they can easily suffer from sunstroke and die in a short time with a cardiac arrest. They may also die of dehydration, but cardiac arrest is likely to occur first. The easiest symptoms to see are the continuous panting and check that the rabbit stretches the 4 legs so that the belly touches the floor and refresh a little. If you detect this behavior, should lower the temperature of the animal by taking it to a cooler and ventilated place and applying some fresh water to the head and underarms. Meanwhile, try to refresh the area of ​​the house where the rabbit is so that by placing it back in the cage, the place already has a normal temperature.

This article is purely informative, in we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.

If you want to read more articles the less common the more common diseases in rabbits , we recommend you to enter our section on Other health problems .

    Emily Harris

    Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-pI am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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