WEIGHT LOSS IN RABBITS

It’s been over 6 weeks since Aurora was rescued from the corridor at Ang Mo Kio. I’m sure folks are missing her very much! She is doing very well under the care of her foster mama Stella. Her weight gain is slow but her appetite and energy level is up. Just look at those pretty bright eyes! They definitely chased the morning blues away!

Aurora’s recovery had been challenging as she was found to be extremely malnourished. While her situation was due to negligence from her past owner, we have encountered loved rabbits who have experienced sudden weight loss. Today, we will like to share some common causes and solutions to help owners battling such issues:

1. DISEASE PAINS
Health issues like toothaches, parasites, heart diseases, organ infections and cancers can cause pain and loss of appetite. Respiratory diseases can also hinder smell and reduce appetite. In such cases, immediate vet assistance is required to ensure prompt and effective treatment.

2. IMBALANCED DIET
Rabbit should be fed a diet of 80% hay, 15% vegetables and 5% pellets. Not feeding sufficient hay or feeding too much vegetables can actually lead to low calories intake leading to weight loss. Also, insufficient water intake can also reduce weight and result in dehydration.

3. STRESS ELEMENTS
Rabbits are nervous animals and if there are new stressors in the environment, they may not eat well. This can include another pet (eg. rabbit, dog etc), humans (eg. newborn, visitors) or simply loud noises (eg. parties, renovation). It is best to relocate the rabbit to a calmer space.

4. INSUFFICIENT ACTIVITIES
Rabbits who are under-stimulated can either lose muscle mass or gain fat. It’s important to achieve a balance by giving the rabbit a bigger space to roam in. Elderly rabbits may require pain relief while given a modified space (carpet, lower litterbox etc) to improve their mobility.

An underweight rabbit can have a boney exterior, dull and rough coat, lethargic behaviors and very tiny and dry poo. Owners should look out for these signs and seek help promptly. The condition can often be resolved through medical intervention follow by life style changes to improve diet, environment and exercise. We hope these tips helps!