Rabbit Health

Raising Healthy Rabbits

Making sure your rabbit is in perfect health is a fundamental part of your rabbit's overall welfare.

As a pet rabbit owner it is your responsibility to ensure your rabbit is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Healthy Rabbit

Rabbits feel pain in the same way as other mammals, including people. So with that in mind the following links and pages have been created so you can quickly find solutions to any problems you may be having with your rabbits and be one step ahead, learning all you can before any injury, illness or disease occurs.

Fundamentals of Rabbit Health

Vet Advice

Vet Rabbit Health Check

Take your rabbits for a routine health check at your vets at least once each year.

For more on vet advice click here...

Rabbit Vet Advice

Ensuring you have a competent and 'available' (meaning not to far away and emergency services are provided), VET is vital to, not only the health and well-being of your rabbit but also to your piece of mind!

The following areas of health care should be covered by a good rabbit-savvy vet: 

Home Rabbit Health Check

It is your responsibility to check your rabbits daily.
The basic areas to check are:

  • Eyes
  • Nose
  • Rear End

Check your rabbit for signs of illness or injury every day, and ensure your rabbit has fresh water daily and access to hay & grass as this will help prevent a lot of common diseases such as dental and gut disease.

Check that your rabbit is eating every day and that they are passing plenty of dry droppings. If your rabbit’s eating or drinking habits change or the number of droppings gets less or stops, talk to your vet straight away as they could be seriously ill.

For a more detailed rabbit health check routine, check out vet advice page...


This is a vital part of rabbit health and vaccinations against Myxomatosis and Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (VHD) should be given to all bunnies whether indoors or outdoors.

Vaccinations stimulate the rabbits body to produce antibodies to particular diseases so that they become immune.

Most pet insurance companies require the above vaccinations as part of the policy agreement.

Rabbit boarding facilities also check each rabbit's medical record as diseases are spread very easily among rabbits.

If you are showing your rabbits at events and competitions, vaccinations are also a requirement and you will need to show proof of medical history.

Note: At the moment vaccinations are only available in the UK (as far as I know) the USA, Europe, Africa & Oceania have not made them part of standard practice yet. However, contact your local vet to see if the important vaccinations are available.

Most UK rescue centres including the RSPCA vaccinate all rabbits as part of normal procedure.

For more important information on rabbit vaccinations such as why they are vital, what they do and how much they cost, visit the vet advice page...


Micro-chipping is always a good idea, especially for rabbits kept outdoors as they are masters of escape.

With a micro-chip they can be easily identified and treated quickly if they are injured and returned to you if they are lost.

See more on micro-chipping on the detailed vet advice page...

Neutering for Rabbit Health

Unless your rabbits are intended for breeding you should get them neutered. There are many benefits including the following:

The main reasons for neutering rabbits:

  • Prevention of accidental pregnancies and the elimination of false pregnancies in does which can be stressful and damaging to their fur where they pull it off to make a nest.
  • Less aggressive territorial behaviour including less attacks on other rabbits and less growling, biting and scratching done to you! Plus the elimination of urine spraying in bucks.
  • Decreased male sex drive - the female gets a break and both rabbits have increased relaxation and calmness.
  • Less chance of uterine cancer in does.
  • Easier litter training, a bonus for indoor rabbits.

There are many other reasons too.

Visit our All About Neutering page to find out more...

People often have a lot of questions when it comes to deciding on neutering their rabbits or not.  Find answers to some common questions such as:

  • Is neutering rabbits safe?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What care do rabbits need after an operation?
  • How long do I wait before introducing neutered rabbits together?

Visit the All About Neutering page to find out more...

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Rabbit Diseases

Common Problems
Unfortunately rabbits can succumb to many different diseases, illnesses and problems.

I have written an overview on most of the illnesses and diseases that rabbits get including symptoms & treatments for many including:

  • Abscesses
  • Bladder stones / sludge (calculi)
  • Bloat
  • Coccidiosis
  • Constipation
  • Dental disease (malocclusion)
  • Diarrhoea
  • E. Cuniculi (Encephalitozoon Cuniculi)
  • Ear mites (canker)
  • Enteritis
  • Eye infections (runny eyes)
  • Fleas
  • Flystrike
  • GI (gastro intestinal) stasis
  • Hairballs
  • Heat exhaustion (heat stroke)
  • Myxomatosis
  • Obesity
  • Pasteurella
  • Pneumonia
  • Skin mites (mange)
  • Sore hocks
  • VHD (Viral Haemorrhagic Disease)

and much more.

Visit the 'rabbit diseases' page for detailed information.

Domestic Rabbits

Some breeds are more susceptible than others and are particularly prone to inherited disorders and diseases. Show rabbits and some meat and fur rabbits have been bred with exaggerated physical features which can cause them to suffer and reduce their quality of life. 

Wild Rabbits

Prevent your rabbits from having contact with wild rabbits or areas where wild rabbits have been. Domestic rabbits can easily catch deadly infectious diseases from wild rabbits.


Only use medicines that have been specifically recommended for your individual rabbit by a vet. Some medicines that are used for other animals can be very dangerous to a rabbits health. Consult a vet immediately if you suspect that your rabbit is in pain, ill or injured.


However prevention is better than cure and a good diet and even rabbit supplements may increase rabbit health and prevent many of the above problems.

Symptom Checker

There's a complete quick symptom check chart included in the iRabbit READY System, to help you decide the best course of action if you think you may have sick bunny on your hands.

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Rabbit Behavior During Illness

Check your rabbit for signs of illness or injury every day.

If you are away, or can't be with your rabbits for any reason, make sure this is done by someone who understands rabbits, especially your rabbits, as every rabbit is an individual and each has their own quirky ways!

Rabbit Hiding

Changes in Routine

If a rabbit is not eating or is more quiet than usual, they are  highly likely to be ill or in pain. Check that your rabbit is eating every day and that they are passing plenty of dry droppings. If your rabbit’s eating or drinking habits change, or the number of droppings gets less or stops altogether, your rabbit could be seriously ill.

Stress Effects Rabbit Health

Rabbits that are stressed are much more likely to become ill. Check their environment, make sure they are not being bullied by other rabbits or chased stressed out for any reason, such as being chased by the neighbours cat every time you pop to the local shops.

Over enthusiastic children can stress rabbits too by constantly chasing them or trying to pick them up incorrectly. Learn about correct handling here...

Rabbits tend to hide outward signs of pain so they may be suffering a great deal before you notice anything is wrong. A change in the way your rabbit normally behaves can be an early sign that they are ill or in pain.

Learn more about rabbits' behaviour during illness or injury.

or use this...

Symptom Checker Chart - (Included in the iRabbit READY System). A strange behaviour quick reference chart for determining the possible cause and with links to advice and treatment.

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Rabbit Grooming

Rabbit grooming is important a very important part of rabbit health and not only is it vital for keeping your rabbits clean and healthy but it also serves as valuable 'bonding' time between the two of you.

Many rabbit owners overlook this crucial element and yet it's something which is seen in the animal kingdom over and over. The sense of 'touch' is a major part of bonding. 

rabbit grooming


Ensure your rabbits' coats are kept in good condition by grooming them regularly.

Wool breeds such as Angoras will require extra grooming to avoid matting.

For more tips on grooming visit the dedicated page for grooming here...

Fly Strike

In warm weather it is vital to  check your rabbit's fur and skin around their rear end and tail area twice a day, as urine staining or droppings that are stuck will attract flies, which can lay eggs and cause flystrike, which is often fatal.

Dental Check
Grooming should always involve doing a quick check of your rabbit's teeth. Rabbits are vulnerable to many infectious diseases and other illnesses, especially dental disease.

You should check your rabbit's mouth regularly while grooming. 

Check rabbits teeth

Their front teeth never stop growing and they grow quickly too, so they need to be checked once a week. (Only a vet should correct overgrown or misaligned teeth.)

If you are unsure how to groom your rabbits you can get some tips and advice here...

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Rabbit Health Insurance Reviews

Consider taking out pet insurance to ensure your rabbits are covered if they need veterinary treatment.

By taking out rabbit insurance, your bunny could be covered for any necessary treatment it may need, without the added stress of worrying about how you will pay for it.

Rabbits are cute, playful and part of your family! Like all pets, rabbits can be susceptible to ailments and illnesses which can result in a trip to the vet. If your rabbit is involved in an accident or possibly attacked, there’s a good chance they’ll need treatment and possibly an operation to make them well again.

Here, I review and compare some of the most popular companies with best buy & customer satisfaction reports and visitor recommendations.

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Importance of Rabbit Health When Buying, Rescuing or Adopting

Check a Rabbit's History

Before deciding to buy, rescue or adopt a rabbit, make sure you find out how they have been bred.

Ensure you find out if they have had any illnesses or diseases or if they may be prone to particular health problems.

Find out what diet they have been given and how they have been cared for.

Also check on their background of behaviour, if they are overly aggressive or if they are sullen or timid. It could be that they have been traumatized at some time in their past.

Rabbits can be rehabilitated but you will have to put in a little more effort, patience and lots and lots of love.

You are Checked Too!

Most rescue and adoption centres are very meticulous about rabbit health and they even have a questionnaire to check you understand how important rabbit care really is.

Would you pass? ;-)
Learn more about rabbit adoption here...

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