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Signs That Your Bunny Is Ill

July 1 2019

Rabbits are very adorable and fun little pets. However, just like people, they are susceptible to illness, injury, and disease. Floppy can’t really communicate to let you know she isn’t feeling well, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for symptoms. Read on as a McHenry, IL vet lists some signs that your pet bunny is sick.

Change In Appetite

A change in appetite is an almost universal warning sign with our animal companions. If Floppy is eating more or less than usual, she may be ill. Changes in your bunny’s water consumption can also be a red flag.


Bunnies are very curious and playful. Even if Floppy is on the lazy side, she should still be alert and respond to stimuli. If your cute pet is just sitting listlessly in her cage, she could be sick.

Teeth Grinding

While many of the symptoms on this list apply to several kinds of pets, teeth grinding is one we usually see in rabbits. Floppy sometimes does this to cope with pain, so consider it an emergency.


Drooling is another sign that something is going on with your bunny. This is often an indication of dental troubles, which are not uncommon in rabbits. Swelling on the mouth or face is another red flag.

Respiratory Problems

Coughing, wheezing, sneezing, and/or difficulty breathing are definitely warning signs for bunnies. You may also notice discharge coming from Floppy’s cute little nose.

Tummy Troubles

Rabbits can’t vomit, so digestive issues are very painful and dangerous for them. Diarrhea and constipation are definitely warning signs for bunnies. You may notice your pet’s stomach seems hard and/or bloated if this happens.


Bunnies are often quiet by nature, but they often do speak up if they are ill. If you notice your animal companion making sounds, she could be sick.

Unusual Posture/Positions

If Floppy is ill, she may tilt her head, sit in a stiff or hunched position. Your pet may also move with a wobbly, disoriented gait.

Change In Behavior

Floppy probably won’t be very cheerful if she isn’t feeling well. If your furry buddy seems grumpy, withdrawn, or depressed, she may be sick. If you see any of these symptoms, or any other warning signs, in your bunny, contact us, your McHenry, IL vet clinic, right away. The sooner an issue is caught and treated, the better!

Our Advice on Signs That Your Bunny Is Ill in 2024

How can changes in appetite indicate illness in pet bunnies?

Changes in appetite in pet bunnies can signal underlying health issues. A decreased appetite may indicate dental problems, gastrointestinal discomfort, or systemic illness. Conversely, increased appetite could point to metabolic disorders or hormonal imbalances. Monitoring your bunny’s eating habits is crucial as it provides insight into their well-being. Any significant deviation from their regular eating pattern should prompt a veterinary evaluation to promptly identify and address potential health concerns.

What role does lethargy play as a potential sign of illness in rabbits?

Lethargy in rabbits is a significant indicator of illness. Rabbits are naturally active animals, so a sudden lack of energy or decreased interest in their surroundings often suggests an underlying health problem. Causes of lethargy in rabbits may range from pain, such as dental issues or gastrointestinal discomfort, to infectious diseases like respiratory infections or gastrointestinal stasis. Additionally, metabolic disorders and systemic illnesses can also lead to lethargy. Prompt veterinary attention is crucial if you notice lethargy in your rabbit, as it can help identify and address the underlying cause before it worsens.

How do digestive issues manifest in rabbits, and why are they particularly dangerous?

Digestive issues in rabbits often manifest as diarrhea or constipation. Diarrhea may result from dietary indiscretion, bacterial infections, or stress, while constipation can occur due to inadequate fiber intake or dehydration. These issues are dangerous for rabbits because their unique gastrointestinal anatomy makes them prone to severe complications like stasis, where the digestive system slows or stops entirely. Gastrointestinal stasis can lead to severe pain, dehydration, and potentially fatal complications like intestinal blockages or bacterial overgrowth. Prompt veterinary intervention is essential to manage and treat digestive issues in rabbits to prevent further complications.

In what situations might vocalizations from a rabbit indicate illness?

Vocalizations from a rabbit can indicate illness when they deviate from their usual behavior. Rabbits are typically quiet animals, so sudden or frequent vocalizations, such as squealing, whimpering, or teeth grinding, may signify pain or discomfort. Additionally, loud thumping or grunting noises could indicate distress or fear. Changes in vocalizations and other signs like lethargy or changes in appetite should prompt a closer assessment of the rabbit’s health. Consulting a veterinarian is crucial to determine the underlying cause of the vocalizations and provide appropriate treatment to address any potential health issues.

What are some unusual postures or positions a sick rabbit might exhibit, and what do they signify?

Sick rabbits may exhibit unusual postures or positions, such as tilting their head, sitting in a stiff or hunched position, or moving with a wobbly, disoriented gait. These behaviors can signify underlying health issues, including neurological problems, pain, or musculoskeletal disorders. Head tilting, for example, may indicate an ear infection or vestibular disease, while a hunched posture may suggest abdominal discomfort or gastrointestinal issues. Observing and recognizing these abnormal postures is crucial for prompt veterinary evaluation and appropriate treatment to address the root cause of the rabbit’s illness.