Over time this poop ends up forming into a ball attached to the bottom of the rabbits butt. As anorexia is often caused by pain you may notice your rabbit showing other signs such as hunching, refusing to move or increased respiration. Hence, grass hay should be provided in multiple sections so that all rabbits have easy access to food. In addition to an appropriately sized enclosure, rabbits need time out in a large area (a room in the house) to get some exercise during the day. This will often cause the elderly rabbit to be reluctant to move around. A person is considered to be underweight if they have a body mass index (BMI) of under 18.5. While diet and lifestyle are the most frequent causes of obesity in rabbits, there may be other conditions that have contributed to the weight gain. They are more likely to become ill or otherwise unwell. Follow the Bunny Lady and her bunny partner Elusive and they seek to educate rabbit caretakers and make sure everyone is able to have a happy and healthy bunny in their home. It also includes bagged rabbit treats. When you take your pet out of the cage, make sure it gets enough time to be active. This article brings you the 3 best rabbit foods for weight gain along with a weight gain guide for your rabbit. No fat, with a visible spine, hips and ribs that feel sharp when touched. link to Why Do Rabbits Breathe Fast and When is it Dangerous? Anorexia in rabbits is a symptom of an underlying condition, the most common causes are dental disease and gastrointestinal disorders. A rough and unclean surface can be a contributing factor, but the primary cause of this condition is the weight of the rabbit’s body on its hock and feet. e.g. Hay that is green and leafy (as opposed to golden) will have the highest protein/fat values; second cut grass hay is usually higher than first cut. I use and recommend Oxbow’s Garden Select rabbit food. Even if their diet has changed, a sedentary rabbit in a small cage is likely to have many of the same health problems. When you 2 or more rabbits, the dominant one might guard the foods and prevent the other from eating. UNDERWEIGHT RABBITS. To get a more accurate idea of whether or not your rabbit is overweight, you should gently feel along their sides and chest. GI Stasis is a condition that occurs when a rabbit’s gut slows down or stops completely. Building the muscle mass of any rabbit can pose a great challenge and in adult or elderly rabbit who is suffering from underweight issues can die within a … If your rabbit is severely obese, you can probably tell just by looking. Being underweight is associated with a range of health risks including bone, skin, … Here are some things to consider before breeding your female rabbit: Underweight or overweight-If she’s overweight, birthing can be difficult. There is a thick layer of fat making it difficult to feel the ribs, hips and spine. Add the new diet with the old one to help your pet in getting used to it. Problems associated with obesity run far deeper than just carrying around a little extra weight. The symptoms of fatty liver disease can come on quickly, so be prepared to take fast action: The excess weight that obese rabbits carry can put a lot of extra strain on their joints. The idea is to put your rabbit on a healthy diet and help them lose 1 to 2 ounces of weight per week until they reach their goal weight (which will vary based on rabbit breed and size). “High dietary fat and the development of osteoarthritis in a rabbit model.”. Oxbow is a well known and respected brand that supplies food for rabbits and other small animals. Is your rabbit underweight? This is much more common in obese rabbits than in rabbits at a healthy weight. Without intervention, gastrointestinal hypomotility can result in GI stasis. Diagnosis. It will look like your rabbit has a double chin. A very thin fat layer. In order to do this effectively, you’ll need to find the best weight gain food for your rabbit. Giving the rabbit 3 to 4 hours of exercise is ideal, but at least 1 to 2 hours a day is necessary for their health. Meredith, A. These can be signs of more serious conditions, such as fatty liver disease, and should be treated as an emergency. You can also help your rabbit lose some weight by encouraging them to be more active and engaged. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. If your rabbit is attached to their original, smaller cage, you can attach an ex-pen to the front, so you can expand your rabbits space without taking away an area they may view as their home. Obesity is dangerous for our rabbits because of the many health problems that can result from the extra weight. If your rabbit is not eating their hay despite having it available, then they might be a picky bunny. (2012) Preliminary investigation to establish prevalence and risk factors for being overweight in pet rabbits in Great BritainVeterinary Record 171, 197. If your pet is burning up more calories than usual (by living in a hot environment, exercising more, or becoming excited over nearby female in heat), eating a new food that may not be as digestible or eating less food(and therefore fewer calories), it can lose weight. close topic reply to this topic. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. This will give your rabbit some space to move around even when you are not home during the day. I had to learn how to feed Tenshi a much healthier diet, and work with her to help her lose weight and become a healthy and active rabbit. Fat accumulation in the body can also put a lot of pressure on a rabbit’s lungs, making it more difficult for them to breathe. The main cause of obesity in rabbits is an unhealthy diet. Some bunnies tend to be very territorial and will attack other rabbits who enter their area. Urine scalding is a skin irritation that occurs on a rabbit’s bottom and legs when a rabbit cannot fully clean the urine off. Weight gain in rabbits can be caused by: Diet and exercise. Causes of underweight in bunnies Reduced food intake and decreased appetite, often occasioned by a medical condition or such as a dental, cardiovascular, liver, pancreas or kidney disease, arthritis, cancer among others. If these bones are difficult to find because of a thick layer of fat, then you need to help your rabbit lose weight. On the other hand, if you can feel their ribcages, that means they are underweight. The same for decreased calorie intake. These foods are widely available, so you should never forget to include them in the daily food intake of your pet. When giving a treat to your pet, consider providing it only in smaller amounts. Many pet rabbits are fed a diet with too many pellets. But when a rabbit stops eating, especially obese rabbits who already have a larger store of fat, the liver can start to panic, and fat begins to build up causing the rabbit to become very sick. That is because the greens are not high in calories because of their increased water content. Rabbits are social creatures and can easily get lonely and depressed. Rather than giving your rabbit a whole bowl full of their pellets, limit them to ¼ cup a day (or about 1 tablespoon per pound of your rabbit’s ideal weight). Pollock, Christal DVM. Too many sugary treats (including carrots) can cause rapid weight gain in rabbits, and they can be the cause of an imbalance in the gut, making the rabbit more likely to suffer from a digestive related disease or condition. The same for decreased calorie intake. Overweight rabbits may breathe or pant more heavily than healthy rabbits. This is a gross and deadly condition where a fly will lay eggs on the rabbit, preferring areas that are dirty. Drewniak,A. My shelter occasionally gets in rabbits that are super thin, sometimes bordering on emaciated. But excess greens lead to weight loss, not weight gain. First, you might be wondering how to know if your rabbit is fat. › Forum › DIET & CARE › Proper diet for an underweight rabbit? This occurs when excess calcium forms hardened stones or sand-like sludge in the bladder, making it difficult and painful for the rabbit to urinate. If nothing is done about these conditions, they can lead to a much more serious bladder or kidney infection. The spine, hips and ribs can be felt, but are rounded and not sharp when touched. A couple ways to help rabbits gain weight are the following: Increase portion of daily pellets or free-feed if necessary. What to feed an underweight rabbit? They may require specific amounts of high-quality pellets and homemade ground-pellet slop. There are many reasons a rabbit may be underweight. Underweight rabbits might not handle babies well and eat them because of … However, malnutrition in rabbits can occur due to a multitude of reasons. If you are currently giving your rabbit a fruity rabbit food mix, you will want to transition them over to plain timothy-based pellets. Machan,J.J. You can also help you rabbit get more exercise by getting puzzle toys that encourage them to forage for their food. It is especially a danger for obese rabbits, who often have an imbalance of bacteria in their gut, and have extra fat putting pressure on their sensitive digestive tract. If your rabbit is a long haired rabbit, this will not be an accurate way of determining if your rabbit is too fat. House Rabbit Society. These can include increased metabolism. Fresh Foods. It happens due to diseases, including gastrointestinal, dental, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, metabolic, and cancer. Their pellets meet all the highest standards for fortified rabbit foods, including a very high percentage of fiber, which is good for a rabbit’s digestion. Important: As an Amazon Associate and an associate to other companies I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Bunnies are quite easy to keep active and healthy. ‘Eat less, move more’ – this simple formula really does work. To make the correct diagnosis, you should have your doctor examine your rabbit. The most effective way of increasing your rabbits weight is by adjusting its diet. Often times they're strays found foraging around that someone let loose. They can also get bored and depressed if they are left in a cage all day with no toys to play with or chew on, leaving them with nothing to do but eat and sleep all day. Accessed at: https://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/171/8/192.short. They may suffer from chronic diarrhea, heat stress in hot weather, splayed legs, and arthritis in later years. Rabbits don’t need very many pellets on a daily basis, a common symptom of many rabbit illnesses, then check out my article on picky rabbits. Rabbit's digestive systems are very efficient at squeezing every last bit of nutrition out of their food so a rabbit generally only becomes underweight if there is an underlying medical condition causing the problem. Switching your rabbit to a healthy pellet mix and limiting their daily pellets and treats will help your rabbit slowly lose the extra pounds. Weight Gain Diet for Underweight Rabbits. Overweight rabbits may not show any interest in mating and can have a hard time becoming pregnant if mating does occur. This includes sweet fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, bananas, and carrots. The rabbits are left with a whole bowl full of pellets during the day. Some additional liver diseases are briefly mentioned toward the end of the article. They can end up gaining weight as their lifestyle becomes less active. Look at them from the side and from above to see if they are visibly obese. Increasing the number of processed pellets in the diet for underweight rabbits is not a great idea. Hay that is green and leafy (as opposed to golden) will have the highest protein/fat values; second cut grass hay is usually higher than first cut. For this reason, if your male rabbit is starting to form a dewlap under his chin, they are likely becoming overweight or obese. Establish a “target” weight prior to breeding according to the specific breed standards of your rabbit … Metabolic disorders such as organ failure or disorders associated with cancer can also bring this type of weight loss. Moreover, a diet that consists of fresh veggies and greens rather than grass hay will be extremely dangerous for your pet. Natural ways to gain weight includes eating right, getting … Surgery is exponentially more difficult to perform on an overweight rabbit. Caution Over Diet Changes. Alfalfa hay is not recommended for most adult house rabbits, as it is too high in calcium content and calories, but can be offered free choice to young, pregnant or underweight rabbits. Cats that are underweight Cat or have lost weight usually are not receiving enough calories. Rabbits don’t need very many pellets on a daily basis. The fat build up can make it difficult for doctors to read rabbit X-rays, as it can get in the way and be hard to identify when reading the radiographs. Most cages sold in pet stores and many sold online, are much too small for rabbits. Rabbit enclosures should be large enough for a rabbit to make three full hops along the length of the cage. The veterinarian will be able to rule out a possible pregnancy in an unspayed female rabbit. Rabbits are crepuscular animals, which means they are most active during the dawn and dusk hours of the day. They should be proportional. While it is okay to give your rabbit the occasional treat, you want to avoid giving them more than a tablespoon in a day. Another name for Pododermatitis is bumblefoot, and it is caused by obesity due to the sedentary lifestyle of rabbits. In the end my sweet bun was able to shed the weight and lived to be 13 years old. So if you make their out-of-cage sessions for the times when they are naturally more active, it will encourage them to move around more and get exercise. Underweight rabbits may be physically incapable of breeding successfully. Also, they must contain 14 to 17 percent protein and fiber of between 12 to 24 percent. Continued inappetence may immediately lead to a life-threatening condition. Courcier, EA., Mellor, DJ., Pendlebury, E., Evans, C., Yam, PS. There should not be a significant weight loss for a rabbit in the summer. While it is possible that there is an underlying condition causing obesity in a rabbit, most of the time the root cause comes down to diet and exercise. These mushy droppings get stuck to the rabbits bottom. Parasites are among the most common causes of malnutrition in rabbits. When bonding rabbits, you want to make sure you are careful when you introduce the rabbits. If this is a problem you are facing, then check out my article on picky rabbits, which is full of ideas to convince your rabbit to eat their hay. It is a very uncomfortable condition for rabbits, who generally prefer to remain clean. This puts them at risk of a heart attack or heart failure. But it’s not always that simple, especially for those bunnies that have long fur coats, hiding their body shapes. Eventually the area will begin to bald and lose fur, and it’s possible that an infection can result from the urine scalding. You will notice the same on the rabbit’s thighs and spine (forming a triangle), Unusual activity levels (signaling the need for food or water), Pain (seen through your pet’s hunched look, incapability to stretch out, hesitating to move, grinding of teeth, and eyes are partially closed. For instance, when an underweight rabbit eats slowly, this might be important to provide the animal uninterrupted feeding period apart from kids and other animals. If it looks like the rabbit has a noticeably small head on a large body, this is an indication that they are overweight. Elderly rabbits are also at risk. If you don’t have enough time to spend with your rabbit, you should consider finding them a partner rabbit to bond with. In addition, a rabbit losing weight may be the result of dental disease, poor quality food, digestive issues, central nervous system disorders, muscular or nervous system diseases, or physical injuries. After you have consulted with your vet and determined your rabbit’s goal weight, you will want to take steps to improve your rabbit’s diet. A rabbit savvy vet will also be able to check for any underlying diseases. Obese and overweight pets are more prone to a myriad of health issues including skin disease, pododermatitis (inflammation of the feet and/or paws), cardiovascular disease, hypertension, arthritis, gastrointestinal stasis, and bladder sludge just to name a few. There are some other considerations. For example, the animal's body may start using lean muscle for energy in order to carry out its daily functions. It can even be confusing for doctors to get an accurate diagnosis for a rabbit. Rabbits spend a lot of time cleaning themselves every day. Your email address will not be published. Many of those conditions include pain that makes it hard for a rabbit to eat. Supplement a higher protein pellet. Not only do they have painful joints, but they also have a decreasing muscle mass, which makes it more and more difficult for them to move around. Bread is really not good for bunnies and really should never be fed. Many pet rabbits do not have a balanced diet, and live in enclosures that are too small for them to get enough exercise. Rabbits breathe much faster than humans do. Hay that is green and leafy (as opposed to golden) will have the highest protein/fat values; second cut grass hay is usually higher than first cut. There are various reasons why: They start to move around less, either because they are becoming blind, or they aren’t as strong as they were. Often times rabbit will appear to lose weight because they have shed their thicker winter coat, and you are able to see the rabbits body more easily with the thinner, summer coat. Always give it fresh and clean water every day. Alternatively, you can sprinkle your rabbits pellets on their hay so that they will be more active in finding the pellets, and they will be encouraged to eat more hay. If you have difficulty locating these bones, or cannot feel them at all, your rabbit is overweight or obese. Good foods for underweight rabbits? Rabbits can’t fast, especially when they are injured or ill. A sudden stop to eat or reduced amounts of fecal pellets will mean there’s something wrong. If the symptoms are not detected soon enough, GI Stasis is often a deadly condition for rabbits. This makes it a hard task to help obese, elderly rabbits lose their excess weight. In addition, many large rabbits were originally meant to be meat rabbits, so they were bred to gain weight quickly and have a calmer, less active demeanor. When you go for a pelleted diet, then it must be free from nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. It is usually caused when a rabbit suddenly becomes anorexic and stops eating (a common symptom of many rabbit illnesses). But the good news is that rabbit obesity is often solved by correcting your rabbit’s diet and encouraging more exercise. A sleep-related breathing disorder that causes breathing to sporadically stop completely while the rabbit is sleeping. There may be some extra folds of fat and the bottom will start to become rounded on the sides. I am here to make sure all of you rabbit lovers have everything you need to care for your fluffy little bundle of joy. Rabbits Losing Weight Due To Digestive Issues. Other health issues (s… These foods are high in sugar that can lead to obesity, especially if given in excessive amounts. Infectious diseases, particularly the ones associated with the upper respiratory system, making it hard for the rabbit to smell foods that contribute to reduced appetite. (9 Posts) Add message | Report. Thus causing them to be even more reluctant to move than before, and worsening the problem. Underweight rabbits may be physically incapable of breeding successfully. Inadequate water can also reduce a rabbit’s food intake. Bread is really not good for bunnies and really should never be fed. It prevents a number or dangerous health conditions that could develop later in life, and it can solve a number of... Why Do Rabbits Breathe Fast and When is it Dangerous? Minimum of 1 cup vegetables Select 3 different types of dark green or dark yellow Feeding pellets as the main food instead of hay/vegs is a major cause of molar spurs. The rabbit will end up sitting in their urine for long periods of time, causing a skin rash and irritation. Lesieur-Brooks,J. There are other risk factors “associated with this problem are … House Rabbit Society, Sandi Ackerman, The Perils of Bunny Obesity; PetEducation.com, Obesity-Related Health Problems in Rabbits; Underweight rabbits. You can also have climbing areas inside their enclosure and other fun toys to encourage more movement. Amy Pratt is a lifelong rabbit owner who has been specializing with rabbits at the Humane Rescue Alliance. So be sure to introduce them in a neutral area and see if they are a compatible pair first. You will also want to make sure your rabbit is getting enough attention. Likely there will be a loss of muscle mass and there may be concave areas around the rabbits behind. Though it is reasonable to think that a less-active bunny will gain extra weight, the unexpected happens sometimes. While not life threatening, this can be a painful condition for rabbits. You want to get a cage that is three to four times the full length of your rabbit. Leafy hay, such as alfalfa does not encourage GI motility. ANSWER: Weight Gain Diet for Underweight Rabbits Hay. Crisco,M.G. Heart disease is difficult to detect in rabbits until it reaches an advanced stage. Establish a “target” weight prior to breeding according to the specific breed standards of your rabbit for greatest success. You should be able to easily touch the ribs of the rabbit, and the ribs should feel rounded to the touch with a thin layer of fat, and not sharp (sharp ribs are an indication of an underweight rabbit). Obesity by itself may not cause a rabbit to stop eating and develop ileus but because of all the other problems that can be associated with obesity, it is definitely a major player in the ileus game. It gives them a fair amount of space and actually makes clean up easier too. The first thing to do is check your rabbit’s profile. Also, you must never give apple seeds, rhubarb, potatoes, and tomato leaves. Exercise is particularly important, as it will get the juices flowing through the rabbits body, encouraging them to drink and urinate more frequently. Below are some of the causes of why a rabbit is losing weight: 1. If your pet rabbit is losing weight and they have diarrhea or their poop seems small and oblong, they may be experiencing digestive issues. The same goes for our pets. If not, these health issues involve the accumulation of toxins within the body, which affect the vital organs, especially the brain. Iceberg lettuce has almost no nutritional value so should be avoided. The causes for obesity in rabbits include being caged too often, along with excessive feeding habits. If undetected, this can be fatal for rabbits within a 48 hour time period. (9 Posts) Add message | Report. Dental diseases which can make eating difficult 2. Some bunnies suffer from malnourishment in the first few years of their lives. The spine, hips and ribs of the rabbit are easily felt and are somewhat sharp when touched. While you limit their pellets, you want to make sure they have access to unlimited grass-based hay (such as timothy hay). The key is giving them a well-balanced and healthy diet. 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