Rabbits are some of the cutest, most playful pets you can bring home. They are easy to handle and don’t require extensive exercising or fancy food options to thrive.
However, your rabbits will lose their hair, and it can be quite scary for first-time owners.
Hair loss, or shedding/ molting, is a completely natural part of your rabbit’s yearly cycle.
It helps them maintain their coat health and leaves them looking fluffy and adorable.
Hair loss should only become a cause of concern throughout the year, or the fur doesn’t regrow. Let’s find out why these things happen!
What Causes Rabbits to Lose Their Fur
Your rabbit may be simply losing its hair because of seasonal shedding. All rabbit breeds shed off their fur and grow a new coat each year.
It is nothing to worry about and can be considered a sign of good health!
The problem arises when you rule out natural causes and notice that your rabbit’s fur loss is an ongoing issue.
You might have noticed your bunny looking rather naked in some spots across its little body.
This abnormal hair loss, also called alopecia, could be caused by different kinds of infections, infestations, or other health issues.
We have discussed them below to help you better understand why you’re finding rabbit fur all over your home.
Parasite infestations are quite common in most pets, especially outdoor ones.
This applies to your rabbits too. Ticks and fleas can cause severe itching on your rabbit’s fur.
This leads to your bunnies scratching their fur repeatedly, causing fur loss. The most common parasitic culprits that lead to fur loss are:
- Fur mites
- Mange mites
- Ear canker mites
Luckily, getting rid of these parasites is quite easy. If the infestation isn’t too severe, you have probably caught it early on and can treat it at home.
You will need flea sprays, tick medication, and other vet-recommended products to get rid of this infestation.
Make sure whatever anti-parasite products you use are safe for lagomorphs.
These products are fast-acting and impressively effective. So, your rabbits will be itch-free in no time, and the fur will grow back quickly.
Is your rabbit losing fur under its chin or around its mouth? It could be because of dental problems!
When fur loss is restricted to just the dewlap, it is usually because of molar spurs or abscesses.
These dental problems make the rabbits drool, and the saliva sticks to their fur.
The drool is acidic, causing the skin to burn and making the dewlap itchy and sore.
The itchiness will have your rabbit chewing and scratching their dewlap, resulting in loss of fur.
If you reside in a warm, humid city, your rabbit’s fur is prone to developing bacterial skin infections.
This is mostly a cause of their fur not staying sufficiently dry due to the damp air.
Moisture will build up in the fur, particularly around the hindquarter region just above the tail, and irritate the skin.
The irritation can cause their skin to become brittle, stinky, and prone to flystrike, leading to the spread of bacterial infections.
The best way to ensure your rabbit’s fur isn’t susceptible to these infections is by keeping them in a dry habitat.
Do your best to check their fur regularly for any signs of infection and get it treated quickly.
If left untreated, bacterial infections can become life-threatening in a matter of 12 hours or even less.
Pregnancy (Could be False!)
Nest building is one of the major reasons why female rabbits pull out their own fur. They are trying to create a safe, cozy spot for their babies to grow well.
Rabbit owners should keep in mind that nest building doesn’t always mean your bunny is pregnant.
If she hasn’t been around any male rabbits or is spayed, then it could be a false pregnancy that causes this nest-building behavior.
Pregnancies leading to hair loss usually aren’t a cause of concern. Your pregnant bunny will quickly regrow the fur she pulls out.
She will be in perfect health condition, along with her babies!
However, if your rabbit isn’t pregnant, it is best to get her checked out by a vet to ensure there isn’t a serious health problem.
Overgrooming by Fellow Rabbits
If you have many rabbits living within the same enclosure, they are likely to form close bonds.
Bonded rabbits often groom each other as a sign of affection and to keep themselves clean.
While grooming their bonded companions is common in rabbits, overgrooming is not.
If one of your rabbits is being overgroomed, it can result in patchy fur and hair loss in certain areas of the body.
Since overgrooming is generally caused by stress or boredom, you can easily manage it at home without rushing to the vet.
Try to keep your rabbit’s home environment as calm and stress-free as possible.
Notice if there are any particular stress triggers that are causing them to overgroom, and eliminate them to keep your rabbits calm and happy.
You can also get some new toys to counter the boredom. Extended running time and leaving them free to explore can all help in breaking the cycle of overgrooming.
While this is rather uncommon in rabbits, hormonal imbalance can also be the reason behind your rabbit’s fur loss.
If the vet suspects that your rabbit is facing hormonal problems, they will take a blood sample and send it to a laboratory.
The lab will conduct thyroid checks and other endocrinal checks to ensure everything is well.
Difference between Normal and Abnormal Shedding in Rabbits
Normally, rabbits shed their fur every three months. It is known as molting, and the process occurs all over the rabbit’s body.
As the shed hair falls out, new, regrown fur will take its place, following a distinct pattern.
When your rabbit is shedding normally, it will start to lose fur from its neck, which is followed by shedding down its back, past the stomach, and to the tail.
The entire process can take between 2-6 weeks.
During this time, your rabbit may lose fur in patches or clumps, resulting in bald spots.
This is nothing to worry about, as you’ll quickly see new fur replacing the lost hair!
However, if you notice certain patches on your rabbit’s body where the fur isn’t regrowing, your bunny might be facing abnormal shedding.
Patchy hair loss can be a result of overgrooming, stress-based alopecia, or poor health. This is categorized under abnormal shedding and requires medical attention ASAP.
Your rabbit’s fur is a window to its health. If the fur is patchy and forlorn-looking, it is a major sign of an underlying condition that needs to be treated.
These conditions can range from being mildly irritating to life-threatening.
Therefore, it is best to make an appointment with your vet and get your rabbit checked out before the symptoms get worse.
Also, it would be best if you kept in mind that natural shedding or molting is a seasonal phenomenon in rabbits.
If you notice your bunny losing excessive amounts of fur all through the year, it is probably due to poor health, and they require a trip to the vet.
Your rabbits could be losing fur for numerous reasons. It can be something completely natural and harmless, like molting, also known as seasonal shedding.
Or, it could be a sign of a worrying health condition.
Alopecia is quite common in mammals and can be easily treated with the help and guidance of a professional vet.
If you notice your rabbit losing hair throughout the year or having a patchy coat of fur, waste no time and head to your vet immediately.
Your vet will do a thorough check-up and conduct any tests needed to determine the cause of your rabbit’s alopecia.
Once the cause has been identified, they will recommend an effective treatment plan to ensure your rabbit enjoys a healthy and happy life moving forwards.
All the best to you and your bunny!
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