A rabbit can lose weight for any number of reasons, but mostly it happens due to aging or physiological malfunctioning.
If your baby bunny is shedding pounds, you must figure out the cause in order to fix the problem.
In this article, we will discuss all the possible reasons behind weight loss in a bunny and what can be done to stop it.
Signs of Weight Loss in a Rabbit
There are many apparent signs to identify whether a bunny is becoming skinny or skinnier than before.
To make sure your pet doesn’t become dangerously thin, you need to pay attention to the following signs and take corrective measures accordingly.
- Dry and dull coat. A healthy rabbit typically has a lush, super soft layer of fur, but that changes when it begins to shed kilos.
- A pushed-in tummy. Like all living creatures, rabbits exhibit weight loss in the form of an imploded or pressed-in abdomen. If your baby bunny’s belly doesn’t begin to bulge out even a little bit after the last rib cage, know that it is losing mass.
- Protruded upper body bones. Another common and easily noticeable sign of weight loss in rabbits is prominent torso bones. In a skinny rabbit, you will be able to see the ribcage sticking out. On top of that, the pelvis and backbone will be projecting out.
- No fecal pellets: Fecal pellets are oblong feces that a rabbit consumes after egesting to get any inadequate nutrition. Producing fecal pellets is a natural phenomenon among rabbits and a sign of healthy wellbeing. When a bunny stops excreting oblong poop, it might be losing weight.
- Lethargy: Weight loss can often lead to a lack of energy in rabbits, which results in inactivity and unwillingness to move/play.
If you spot any of the mentioned signs in your bunny, improve their diet and consult your vet if need be.
Possible Causes of Weight Loss in a Bunny
Once you know that your little friend is getting skinny, it’s time to figure out why that’s happening and what you can do to fix the problem.
A rabbit can shed pounds for a host of reasons; let’s go over each in detail to get a better idea of weight loss in rabbits.
Bunnies tend to stop eating or begin to eat less than usual when suffering from gut-related issues, such as diarrhea or constipation.
A rabbit typically gets diarrhea for any of the two reasons.
- Improper diet- meals with excess carbs or insufficient fiber can lead to diarrhea in rabbits.
- Virus in the digestive tract- when a microorganism inhabits a rabbit’s gut, it creates digestive problems in its host, which eventually leads to weight loss.
Your bunny may also experience constipation and, as a result, might stop eating, in which case it’ll begin to get skinny.
Constipation in rabbits can occur because of any of the following reasons.
- Improper diet- like diarrhea, constipation happens when there is a nutritional imbalance in a rabbit’s diet.
- Stasis- a condition characterized by slow digestive movement in a rabbit. In some cases, stasis may stop digestion altogether. Resultantly, a bunny stops eating and stays inactive.
Rabbits can face another gut-related problem in which they stop producing fecal pellets, as mentioned above.
If your bunny stops expelling round, sticky oblong stool, then it might have issues in its digestive tract.
Consult your vet for an in-depth investigation.
More often than not, digestive problems in a bunny can be treated by adjusting the diet.
To ensure you are providing your furry friend with the right balance of nutrients through their diet, talk to your vet.
Like most living creatures, rabbits can lose weight due to dental problems because they could be having difficulty eating.
Naturally, when a bunny eats less, it will shed pounds and become thin.
If you notice that your little fellow is not eating much, especially when you haven’t changed their diet, you should examine their bunny mouth to see if there’s any swelling or redness.
If they are in pain, they will protest against you trying to open their mouth to the point of becoming aggressive, which is a pretty clear sign of a dental complication.
Take your pet to the doctor immediately to get all of its dental problems treated.
Rabbits are prone to get stressed over most things because of their high-strung personality.
Because they belong close to the bottom of the food pyramid (because they are prey), they consider every creature bigger in size as a threat.
This tendency to get worked up over every encounter with a dominant animal, such as dogs, leads to a tremendous amount of stress in a rabbit’s life.
It means that the more interaction your fur buddy has with other animals, the more stressful they will get.
And ultimately this will cause them to lose weight.
If you have other pets, such as dogs or cats, try to keep them away from your rabbit’s hutch, at least initially.
Once your bunny has acclimatized to its new surroundings, you can introduce the two species.
But even then, keep a barrier between the pets, and don’t leave them unsupervised.
Losing weight with age is a natural and common phenomenon in rabbits.
No matter how healthy your tiny friend has been throughout their life, they will lose weight as they grow old.
To counter the weight-loss due to aging, you can increase your fur buddy’s diet or give them supplementary food to make up for the lost kilos.
That said, be sure to talk to your vet before increasing your bud’s calorie intake because, with age, rabbits can get dull and inactive, which means they would burn fewer calories than before.
So, if your increase their food supply and they consume it, they might go towards obesity.
If a bunny has ever been malnourished in the early stages of life, it can lose weight in later years because the body will make up for the lack of nutrition of the past.
This means the food your fluffy child eats now might not help them sustain a healthy weight because it will compensate for the past malnutrition.
Perhaps the most straightforward reason behind weight loss in all living creatures, poor diet is a common contributor when it comes to shedding kilos in bunnies.
If you have not been paying attention to your little bunny child’s dietary needs, the chances are that you will notice weight loss in them sooner or later.
To save your bunny from getting dangerously skinny, be sure that you give it all the necessary nutrients.
To get a better idea of a bunny’s dietary needs, talk to your vet and, if possible, ask them to give you a meal chart for your little one.
Medical Condition: Cachexia
Cachexia is a fairly common medical condition among rabbits that causes them to lose fat along with muscles.
If left untreated, it can lead to a bunny’s death.
Some symptoms of Cachexia include
- Unsteady breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Frequent teeth grinding
- Bloated stomach
If you think none of the causes mentioned earlier are responsible for the weight loss in your bunny, look for the symptoms of Cachexia to figure out the reason.
If you still cannot understand why your rabbit keeps getting thinner, reach out to an expert.
Summer Weight Loss Or Molting
Rabbits develop a thick coat of fur during the winter to survive the chilly season. This extra layer of bunny skin can make a rabbit appear bigger.
Come summer and the hippity-hopping animal will lose the added coat- this process is known as molting.
Molting can cause a bunny to appear thinner, forcing bunny parents to think their child has lost weight when in reality, that’s not the case.
The loss of winter coat doesn’t mean weight loss-it’s merely a sign that a bunny doesn’t need extra fur once wintertime has passed.
If your little bunny-bun suddenly turns slim after the winter season, don’t worry too much; it’s all part of the natural process.
That said, if your pet keeps getting skinner even after many summer months have passed, you might want to visit your vet.
Extreme weight loss is never a good sign, even if it appears to be natural. In such a case, seeking a professional veterinary opinion is essential.
Post-surgery complications can cause loss of appetite in your rabbit, which will eventually result in weight loss.
If the weight reduction isn’t too drastic, you don’t have to worry too much.
However, if your little bun-bun becomes too skinny too fast after an operation or medical procedure, you should go to the doctor.
Being a bunny parent isn’t easy, especially when it comes to dealing with health problems because your fluffy kid won’t use words to tell you about their pain.
But in the case of weight loss, you don’t need verbal confirmation from your little one; you can notice it yourself.
Once you are sure your rabbit has gotten skinnier, take the necessary measures to counter the problem.
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