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Why Is My Rabbit Losing Weight? (The Top 7 Causes Explained)

Why Is My Rabbit Losing Weight? (The Top 7 Causes Explained)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Have you observed that your fluffy bunny is losing weight despite having a strong appetite and regular meals? Then you’ve probably asked yourself: why is my rabbit losing weight?

There are a variety of reasons why your furry friend may be losing weight, ranging from health issues to stress. In this article, we’ll look at the top seven reasons for rabbit weight loss and offer some advice on how to keep them happy and healthy.

So take a seat, grab a carrot or two, and let’s hop into it.

Cause for Weight Loss in Rabbits

Weight loss in rabbits has several potential causes. Some of them are more serious than others, so it’s important to visit a vet to establish the cause and the best course of treatment.

The most prevalent reason for rabbit weight loss is gastrointestinal stasis. GI stasis is the event when a rabbit’s digestive system slows down or stops functioning entirely.

Rabbit or mucus enteritis is another common culprit that can cause rabbit weight loss. Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can cause enteritis in rabbits.

If you noticed, both conditions have underlying causes, which we’ll further explore.

1 – Lack of Proper Nutrition

Because rabbits are herbivores, their diet should consist mostly of hay, fresh vegetables, and water. Hence, it’s best to keep their diet as natural as possible.

Many pet owners, however, tend to provide commercial feeds to their pets that are mostly lacking the key nutrients that rabbits need. Inadequate nutrition can result in weight loss and several other health problems.

A high-quality diet that matches your rabbit’s nutritional needs is a must. If you suspect that your rabbit is losing weight due to a lack of proper nutrition, please consult a veterinarian.

Vets can help you in creating a nutritious diet plan for your furry friend to help it get back on track to a healthy weight.

2 – Stress and Anxiety

Rabbits can also start losing weight whenever they suffer from stress and anxiety. A stressed rabbit will eat less or stop eating entirely, than a relaxed rabbit.

Several factors may trigger stress and anxiety among rabbits. Those include a new pet in the house, loud sounds, or changes in their routine.

If your rabbit is exhibiting signs of stress and anxiety, such as hiding more frequently or being less active, try to reduce their stress levels by providing it with a quiet place to hide.

When you think your rabbit is stressed, make sure that its food and water are conveniently accessible to encourage it to eat and drink water, avoiding malnutrition.

3 – Infections

As pet rabbits begin to lose weight, one of the most common reasons behind it is an infection, whether caused by parasites, viruses, or bacteria. Unfortunately, an infection caused by microorganisms that shouldn’t be inside your rabbit’s system is indeed a culprit.

When it comes to parasites, the GI nematodes are the most prevalent ones that infect rabbits. These microscopic worms inhabit the gastrointestinal system and can induce weight loss by harming your rabbit’s gut lining, interfering with nutrition absorption.

Another common infection in rabbits is pasteurellosis caused by the bacteria Pasteurella multocida. This infection frequently begins in the lungs and then spreads to other organs, causing inflammation and tissue damage.

Fever, coughing, trouble breathing, fatigue, and weight loss are some of the symptoms of this infection.

Infections, regardless of the cause, need professional medical intervention from a veterinarian.

4 – Medical Conditions

Various medical conditions may affect your rabbit’s sudden weight loss. These medical conditions include gastrointestinal diseases, dental problems, and even cancer.

Gastrointestinal diseases are the most common health problems that can cause weight loss in rabbits. These diseases reduce the rabbit’s appetite and lead to diarrhea, which, if left untreated, may result in severe malnutrition and even death.

Dental disorders are also common in rabbits. Their teeth are extremely sensitive and can easily break or acquire diseases.

Dental disorders cause rabbits to lose their appetite, which leads to gradual weight loss.

Cancer in rabbits is less common but can cause severe weight reduction. Cancer cells are notorious for stealing vital nutrients that cells need to maintain a healthy body.

Unfortunately, there’s no proven method to avoid cancer in rabbits, and it often leads to death. Early detection and treatment are essential for the best chance of survival.

5 – Poor Housing Environment

As you might expect, a poor housing environment can cause your rabbit to lose weight. This is because your rabbit isn’t able to get the exercise it needs.

If your rabbit’s cage is too small, it won’t be able to move around to stay healthy. This will lead to a reduction in muscle mass.

Reduced muscle mass translates to weight reduction and other mobility issues your rabbit may experience.

If you suspect that your rabbit’s weight loss is due to a poor housing environment, make sure to provide it with a bigger cage or enclosure. You also need to give your rabbit up to 4 hours of supervised time out of its cage every day.

These measures ensure your fluffy friend gets the exercise it needs to stay in shape.

6 – Overfeeding

Overfeeding may seem to result in obesity rather than weight loss. You’re partly correct for having the same thought.

However, obesity due to overfeeding also leads to health problems, such as heart disease, respiratory ailments, and digestive issues. Anything that affects your rabbit’s health affects its appetite, which will ultimately lead to weight loss.

If your rabbit is overweight, you should limit its food intake and make sure that it gets enough activities daily. You should discuss your rabbit’s nutrition and weight loss goals with a veterinarian.

7 – Genetics and Old Age

Rabbits tend to inherit the health problems their parents had. Poor health, like with a human being, leads to weight reduction.

Old age also affects your rabbit’s muscle mass. As your rabbit gets older, it becomes less active, leading to muscle atrophy.

Again, reduction in muscle mass translates to weight loss.

As aging is a natural process we cannot avoid, the best way to support your pet as it enters this stage is to adjust its diet by providing more protein and calories.

Consult your vet for healthier alternatives and activities you can give your aging rabbit.


My rabbit is losing weight but still eating, is it ok?

Immediately consult a vet if your rabbit is eating but still losing weight.

How can I help my rabbit gain weight?

It’s crucial to know the underlying cause of why your rabbit is losing weight and focus on treating this problem before attempting to adjust its diet.

What’s the best diet for my rabbit to gain weight?

Food rich in calories and protein can help your rabbit gain muscle mass, increasing its weight.

Where can my rabbit contract parasites?

Your rabbit can contract parasites from contaminated food and water or even unsanitary living conditions.

Can I deworm my rabbit?

Yes, but you need to see a vet first for a proper prescription.

Can I have my rabbit vaccinated?

Absolutely. Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease are infections caused by viruses rabbits can contract. The best way to prevent these infections is through vaccination.

Why does my rabbit keep on hiding?

If your rabbit is frequently hiding, it might be suffering from stress and anxiety.

Are loud noises bad for my rabbit?

Rabbits are prey animals in the wild; hence, loud noise can easily stress them out because they associate it with predators.

Can stress kill my rabbit?

Yes. A stressed rabbit may lose its appetite, resulting in weight loss and malnutrition, eventually leading to death if no intervention is made. Furthermore, rabbits have a fast heart rate. Startling or stressing them may lead to a fatal heart attack.

Final Thoughts

Weight loss is indeed a concerning condition your rabbit may experience and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

While there are several reasons why your rabbit may have shed some unnecessary pounds, they still need prompt attention from a vet to ensure they’re in good health.

From medical causes to poor housing environments, understanding the possible causes of weight loss in your rabbit will help you identify any issues early on.

It’ll allow you to take appropriate measures to care for your beloved pet and get it back on track with its health.

If you’ve noticed any changes in your rabbit’s behavior or health, it’s always best to consult with a professional.

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