Heavy Breathing, Drinking Bunny!

by Charlotte
(United Kingdom)

Why is my bunny breathing heavy?

Why is my bunny breathing heavy?

Why is my bunny breathing heavy?
Always Check Their Teeth!
Is Your Rabbit Drinking Too Much?

I bought my little bunny a month ago...


He lives indoors and he's only 14 weeks old.

But he seems to breathe heavily all the time even when he's not doing anything.

I don't know whether this is normal or not as I don't know what his 'normal' breathing pattern is?

He is very friendly and not scared of us. He will come up and nudge us and play with us so I don't think it is that.

However I have also noticed recently that he drinks for long periods of time. Sometimes in excess of two minutes.

Could this be something to do with his breathing?

As I have said before I do not yet know his 'normal' drinking pattern so do not know whether this is normal for him or not.

He is very healthy and happy in every other way.

I have searched online and cannot seem to find any videos or information on a rabbit's breathing pattern.

Would anyone be able to help me?

Many thanks.

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Jul 17, 2016
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Keep a look out...
by: Kerry

Hi Charlotte,

I'm not a vet and hopefully someone with more experience about this can respond but just keep a look out for the following additional signs, as they may indicate a more serious upper upper respiratory problem:

• Watery eyes
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Whistling sound while trying to chew
• Laboured breathing
• Raising the chin up high when breathing


Causes may include:

• Allergies from pollen, dust, dander, cleaning agents
• Blocked tear ducts
• Upper respiratory infection such as snuffles
• Overgrown tooth roots
• Cancer of the lungs (rare)


The excessive water drinking could be related but I'm not sure how as I'm not a vet.

But maybe this will put your mind at rest...

An average sized rabbit should drink from 50ml to 200ml a day and more on hot days of if they are pregnant or nursing.

Have you checked to see if your bunny is actually drinking all the time they are at the water bowl or bottle or are they struggling to swallow the water? If so then they may have a dental problem. Which would also explain the laboured breathing.

A hungry rabbit will also drink more. Have you checked their diet?

This is probably not the case, but there is also the issues of kidney and liver problems, and other possible medical causes of excessive thirst, that are commonly referred to as polydipsia. ('Poly' meaning 'many' and 'dipsia' meaning 'thirst'.)

If in doubt, or you're really worried, or especially if you see your bunny breathing through their mouth then you should take then to the vet straight away.

Good luck. I hope bunny gets better soon :-)

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