In some cases, an aging or ill rabbit might need special dietary plans. Signs of pain (sitting in a hunched position), Loud stomach gurgles, or no sound coming from the stomach at all, A.M. Brunner,C.M. If your pet rabbit is losing weight and they have diarrhea or their poop seems small and oblong, they may be experiencing digestive issues. link to Caring For a Rabbit Before and After Neuter or Spay Surgery. Even if their diet has changed, a sedentary rabbit in a small cage is likely to have many of the same health problems. Rhubarb should also be avoided (toxicity). Your vet will be able to help you determine the ideal weight of your rabbit, and they will be able to help you safely develop a diet plan that will help your rabbit slowly lose their excess weight. You can give the outside of the cauliflower, broccoli stalk etc as treats. Problems associated with obesity run far deeper than just carrying around a little extra weight. 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. Decreased appetite is the leading reason for weight loss in bunnies. But the primary reasons are the ones discussed by Dr. Susan Brown: The most common reason for weight loss is decreased appetite and, thus, a reduced intake of calories. If nothing is done about these conditions, they can lead to a much more serious bladder or kidney infection. Overweight and Underweight Rabbits This article discusses two of the more common liver diseases in rabbits: hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver) and toxic liver damage. If you need to put pressure on your rabbit’s chest in order to feel their ribs through the fat, that’s an indication that your rabbit is overweight. You can test if your rabbit is obese by feeling for their ribs, spine and hips. These can include increased metabolism. Underweight rabbit? An overweight rabbit will have a rounded butt and chest with sagging folds of fat. Underweight rabbits might not handle babies well and eat them because of … Pollock, Christal DVM. The spine, hips and ribs of the rabbit are easily felt and are somewhat sharp when touched. This will often cause the elderly rabbit to be reluctant to move around. The extra weight that obese rabbits carry can end up putting a lot of stress on their feet. These foods are high in sugar that can lead to obesity, especially if given in excessive amounts. Asked for a longer treatment with meloxicam, and vet says that meloxicam can cause … Dry Food. This will give your rabbit some space to move around even when you are not home during the day. https://www.petmd.com/rabbit/conditions/digestive/c_rb_cachexia The primary cause of obesity in rabbits, especially pet is poor diet and lack of exercise. If these bones are difficult to find because of a thick layer of fat, then you need to help your rabbit lose weight. 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. These can be signs of more serious conditions, such as fatty liver disease, and should be treated as an emergency. This topic has 19sd replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 3 months ago by Pawprints903 . Decreased appetite is the leading reason for weight loss in bunnies. 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. Rabbits breathe much faster than humans do. 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). A good-quality rabbit diet must be available at the local store. To get a more accurate idea of whether or not your rabbit is overweight, you should gently feel along their sides and chest. As a rabbit becomes obese, they will start to have a lot of difficulty keeping themselves clean. If they are severely underweight they may have no fat layer at all protecting their body, and making it difficult or impossible for the rabbit to regulate their body temperature. While the exact cause of these conditions is not understood, having an appropriate diet and exercising daily are the main ways to prevent your rabbit from developing them. Owners may also overfeed treats. The main cause of obesity in rabbits is an unhealthy diet. While it is okay to give your rabbit the occasional treat, you want to avoid giving them more than a tablespoon in a day. Some bunnies suffer from malnourishment in the first few years of their lives. The easiest way to tell if the ribs stick out too much (if they are too prominent it means your rabbit is underweight) is to compare feeling your rabbit's ribs to your closed fist. If your rabbit is severely obese, you can probably tell just by looking. 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. This means that surgeries will almost definitely last longer, requiring more anesthesia. Adult rabbits: Adult rabbits sometimes face a big challenge as they reduced activity and perhaps due to painful arthritis can cause lose weight. link to Why Do Rabbits Breathe Fast and When is it Dangerous? They may require specific amounts of high-quality pellets and homemade ground-pellet slop. The basic rabbit smells you might encounter. That is because the greens are not high in calories because of their increased water content. She helps to socialize the rabbits and educate volunteers on the care and behavior of these small mammals. While not life threatening, this can be a painful condition for rabbits. Overweight rabbits may breathe or pant more heavily than healthy rabbits. In most cases, obesity can be reversed with a healthy diet and some daily exercise. A rabbit’s heart is relatively small compared to the size of their body, so adding extra weight can but a lot of stress on the heart and cardiovascular system. Your email address will not be published. (2012) Preliminary investigation to establish prevalence and risk factors for being overweight in pet rabbits in Great BritainVeterinary Record 171, 197. Before making any changes to your rabbit’s diet, you should consult your rabbit savvy vet for advice. If undetected, this can be fatal for rabbits within a 48 hour time period. Many of those conditions include pain that makes it hard for a rabbit to eat. In most cases, underweight rabbits benefit from increasing their consumption of the fiber-laden foods, particularly grass hay, while the leafy greens to a lesser extent. Getting a larger cage for your rabbit will immediately increase the amount they can move around during the day. The rabbits are left with a whole bowl full of pellets during the day. “High dietary fat and the development of osteoarthritis in a rabbit model.”. Poopy butt puts rabbits at an increased risk of being the target of fly strike. Diagnosis. Some rabbits will also sit around all day because they are depressed or bored. I am a lifelong rabbit lover and have been specializing with rabbits at my local animal shelter. Urine scalding is a skin irritation that occurs on a rabbit’s bottom and legs when a rabbit cannot fully clean the urine off. Avoid all types of sugars, seeds, fruits, nuts, cookies, table scraps, and commercial treats for rabbits. 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. 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. A dewlap is a pocket of fatty tissue underneath a rabbit’s chin. Crisco,M.G. If you cannot feel the ribs at all, or if it is very difficult, that is an indication that your rabbit is obese. The causes for obesity in rabbits include being caged too often, along with excessive feeding habits. Also, they must contain 14 to 17 percent protein and fiber of between 12 to 24 percent. A couple ways to help rabbits gain weight are the following: Increase portion of daily pellets or free-feed if necessary. If it looks like the rabbit has a noticeably small head on a large body, this is an indication that they are overweight. It is very difficult or impossible to feel the hips, spine and ribs. Possible Causes of Underweight Dogs. To make the correct diagnosis, you should have your doctor examine your rabbit. It is much more likely for an overweight rabbit to suffer from digestive conditions than rabbits at a healthy weight. You want to get a cage that is three to four times the full length of your rabbit. Viewing 19 reply threads They should be proportional. Thus, while you can use it moderately as an excellent calcium source, it must not make up most of the bunny’s diet. 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. 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 … Long fur can easily cover a healthy rabbit and make them appear to be obese, even when they are not. Caution Over Diet Changes. If there are 2 or more bunnies, you must be mindful of the possible social problems. Oxbow is a well known and respected brand that supplies food for rabbits and other small animals. Some additional liver diseases are briefly mentioned toward the end of the article. When fed right, your pet will not require salt sticks and vitamins. It also includes bagged rabbit treats. Parasites are among the most common causes of malnutrition in rabbits. Fattening up underweight rabbit-bloated stomach! Over time the joints might become inflamed and cause painful arthritis. Here are some things to consider before breeding your female rabbit: Underweight or overweight-If she’s overweight, birthing can be difficult. Overweight rabbits may not show any interest in mating and can have a hard time becoming pregnant if mating does occur. Caution Over Diet Changes. If your rabbit is a long haired rabbit, this will not be an accurate way of determining if your rabbit is too fat. 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. Surgery is exponentially more difficult to perform on an overweight rabbit. For humans, we know that obesity is linked to a multitude of health problems and complications. Make a fist with your hand and then feel the knuckles. Weight Gain Diet for Underweight Rabbits. Usually this occurs as the result of a Urinary Tract Infection, when a rabbit is constantly dribbling a little bit of pee. 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. Some of these arise from physical limitations of overweight animals such as joint issues, reduced activity, and difficulty grooming. A diet rich in fiber decreases dental and other related health issues. 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. Leafy hay, such as alfalfa does not encourage GI motility. 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. Alfalfa is also a good way to increase protein levels whilst still providing plenty of fibre. “Body Condition Scoring the Rabbit.”, Praag, Esther van. This includes sweet fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, bananas, and carrots. However, the skin in that area of both male and female rabbits is elastic, and can therefore get very large when a rabbit is putting on weight, even on male rabbits. Rabbits don’t need very many pellets on a daily basis. It is a very uncomfortable condition for rabbits, who generally prefer to remain clean. The most effective way of increasing your rabbits weight is by adjusting its diet. Amy Pratt is a lifelong rabbit owner who has been specializing with rabbits at the Humane Rescue Alliance. If you are currently giving your rabbit a fruity rabbit food mix, you will want to transition them over to plain timothy-based pellets. This article brings you the 3 best rabbit foods for weight gain along with a weight gain guide for your rabbit. Overweight rabbits may not show any interest in mating and can have a hard time becoming pregnant if mating does occur. In order to do this effectively, you’ll need to find the best weight gain food for your rabbit. You want to make sure your rabbit doesn’t lose weight too quickly though, since rapid weight lose can cause other health problems in rabbits (such as fatty liver disease). Natural ways to gain weight includes eating right, getting … e.g. 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. This article brings you the 3 best rabbit foods for weight gain along with a weight gain guide for your rabbit. ANSWER: Weight Gain Diet for Underweight Rabbits Hay. Anorexia in rabbits is a symptom of an underlying condition, the most common causes are dental disease and gastrointestinal disorders. Meredith, A. 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. Many pet rabbits are fed a diet with too many pellets. Without intervention, gastrointestinal hypomotility can result in GI stasis. In the end my sweet bun was able to shed the weight and lived to be 13 years old. Some dwarf breeds are more prone to obesity because their small size makes it easy for them to overeat. The rabbit will be rounded on the sides around their bottom and abdomen. If you’re considering breeding your female rabbit, be sure she’s in good health. If you notice sores on your rabbits heels, you may need to provide them with softer flooring (wire cages are particularly bad for rabbit feet), and rub vaseline on their hocks to help them heal. These foods are widely available, so you should never forget to include them in the daily food intake of your pet. But it’s not always that simple, especially for those bunnies that have long fur coats, hiding their body shapes. For example, the animal's body may start using lean muscle for energy in order to carry out its daily functions. Many pet rabbits do not have a balanced diet, and live in enclosures that are too small for them to get enough exercise. Accessed at: https://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/171/8/192.short. The other major cause of obesity in pet rabbits is the sedentary lifestyle that they often live. Rabbits spend a lot of time cleaning themselves every day. Most cages sold in pet stores and many sold online, are much too small for rabbits. It will look like your rabbit has a double chin. Causes of obesity in rabbits. Weight loss may lead to a decreased muscle mass, which is usually a result of inadequate experience due to reduced mobility, pain when trying to move, lethargy, or simply because you kept the rabbit in its cage for a long time. Rabbits Losing Weight Due To Digestive Issues. Free-choice or overfeeding of pellets is one of the primary causes of obesity in rabbits. This is, of course, more of a problem for pet rabbits because it puts these gentle giants at a higher risk of becoming overweight and obese. Minimum of 1 cup vegetables Select 3 different types of dark green or dark yellow Rabbits are social animals and require some time with people or other rabbits to be happy. (2012) Is obesity a problem in pet rabbits?Veterinary Record 171, 192-193. You can give the outside of the cauliflower, broccoli stalk etc as treats. Even in a large enclosure, a bored rabbit might sit around all day. These mushy droppings get stuck to the rabbits bottom. For this reason, if your male rabbit is starting to form a dewlap under his chin, they are likely becoming overweight or obese. Being underweight is associated with a range of health risks including bone, skin, … If you need help, don’t hesitate to consult a veterinarian. 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. While you limit their pellets, you want to make sure they have access to unlimited grass-based hay (such as timothy hay). Bread is really not good for bunnies and really should never be fed. 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. They may suffer from chronic diarrhea, heat stress in hot weather, splayed legs, and arthritis in later years. › Forum › DIET & CARE › Proper diet for an underweight rabbit? Despite that, it is important to be aware that there are... My name is Amy and I am the Bunny Lady! 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. Rabbits are social creatures and can easily get lonely and depressed. You can help your rabbit lose weight and become a happy and healthy bunny again. close topic reply to this topic. Observe their actions when it comes to food. It is usually caused when a rabbit suddenly becomes anorexic and stops eating (a common symptom of many rabbit illnesses). Establish a “target” weight prior to breeding according to the specific breed standards of your rabbit for greatest success. But in reality, healthy babies come in all shapes and sizes. When the liver is functioning normally, it will store some fatty acids to use for energy. 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? Because obese rabbits tend to be less active, they have an increased chance of developing bladder sludge or bladder stones. While the ideal enclosure size will vary based on the size of your rabbit, for an average sized, five pound rabbit, you’ll want an enclosure size of at least 4ft by 2ft. By putting your rabbit onto a healthy diet and encouraging lots of exercise, you can help your rabbit become healthy again and live a long life. If diet changes are needed, then they must be done one at a time. What Are The Different Colors of Rabbits? ‘Eat less, move more’ – this simple formula really does work. ANSWER: Weight Gain Diet for Underweight Rabbits Hay. Lesieur-Brooks,J. 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. Obese rabbits put a lot of extra weight on this area, which causes blisters or sores to develop. You can also have climbing areas inside their enclosure and other fun toys to encourage more movement. 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). Determining the exact cause of malnutrition will help veterinarians prescribe the right home care plan for every bunny. Sugar or honey – one rabbit owner I know added sugar or honey to her rabbit’s food to get them to gain weight. House Rabbit Society, Sandi Ackerman, The Perils of Bunny Obesity; PetEducation.com, Obesity-Related Health Problems in Rabbits; Underweight rabbits. You can also plan exercise times at the beginning and end of the day. Many rabbits are kept in cages that are too small for them, and are given very little time out to exercise and socialize. All rabbits have a risk of becoming obese if they have a poor diet or sedentary lifestyle, but there are some that have a greater risk than others. When giving a treat to your pet, consider providing it only in smaller amounts. Look at them from the side and from above to see if they are visibly obese. Hence, grass hay should be provided in multiple sections so that all rabbits have easy access to food. Similarly, if a female rabbit’s dewlap becomes extra large, especially if they have been spayed, this is an indication that your rabbit may be overweight. Similar to feeling the ribs, you should gently touch your rabbit along their spine, shoulders and hips. A rabbit that is underweight will have sharp or protruding spine, hips, and ribs. But it can also happen when the rabbit is too fat to clean themselves properly. I would suggest if she feels bony you should get her checked out by the vet as their back teeth can get over grown and cause them not to eat so well. Bunnies are quite easy to keep active and healthy. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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. There are many layers of visible fat, and the stomach sags. As rabbits get older they lose muscle mass and may develop arthritis. Obesity can also cause … Do it for certain foods like fresh greens, mustard greens, dandelions, collards, and a teaspoon of sliced turnip, parsnip, and carrot. A sleep-related breathing disorder that causes breathing to sporadically stop completely while the rabbit is sleeping. There are other risk factors “associated with this problem are … The resulting BMI number indicates where you are on a scale of underweight to obese. Is your rabbit underweight? If you don’t have enough time to spend with your rabbit, you should consider finding them a partner rabbit to bond with. “Congestive Heart Failure in Rabbits.”, Schulman, Jackie Ph.D. “Obese Rabbits at Risk.”. You can also help you rabbit get more exercise by getting puzzle toys that encourage them to forage for their food. Do something if you notice the other is not getting enough food because the dominant rabbit prevents it from eating well. 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. Establish a “target” weight prior to breeding according to the specific breed standards of your rabbit … But the good news is that rabbit obesity is often solved by correcting your rabbit’s diet and encouraging more exercise. 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. Understand the risks your rabbit can face if it is overweight. Important: As an Amazon Associate and an associate to other companies I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. The arthritis tends to be especially bad in joints that work to support the weight of the rabbit, such as in the feet and knees. When you get a buddy for your pet, you will soon find the lonely one getting more and more active that facilitates increased exercise. There are many reasons a rabbit may be underweight. Dental diseases which can make eating difficult 2. Increasing the number of processed pellets in the diet for underweight rabbits is not a great idea. This is much more common in obese rabbits than in rabbits at a healthy weight. Some other common causes may include: 1. Some types of hays like timothy and oat hay seem to promote enhanced gastrointestinal motility. Iceberg lettuce has almost no nutritional value so should be avoided. Proper nutrition and adequate water intake are keys to help your rabbit grow healthily and actively. ). There are many different causes for cachexia (and weight loss) in rabbits. The rabbit will end up sitting in their urine for long periods of time, causing a skin rash and irritation. 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. 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. Continuously giving them will only result in unhealthy weight loss. This is a gross and deadly condition where a fly will lay eggs on the rabbit, preferring areas that are dirty. The rabbit will frequently feel easier to move when a rug or any other soft but heavy material is on the smooth floor like tile or wood. Professionals will use the Body Condition Scoring (BCS) chart to determine if a pet is obese or underweight. Type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed in children. 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. My shelter occasionally gets in rabbits that are super thin, sometimes bordering on emaciated. Not only does this mean that you will have to do a lot of extra work to keep your rabbit’s butt clean. Likewise, they might help in preventing hairball issues. The same for decreased calorie intake. I prefer to get an ex-pen enclosure for my rabbits. If the symptoms are not detected soon enough, GI Stasis is often a deadly condition for rabbits. 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. During this time you want to monitor your rabbit and watch for any rapid weight loss or refusal to eat. 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. You should be able to touch each of these bones easily, but they should be rounded with a layer of fat, and not sharp to the touch. The symptoms of heart disease in rabbits include: Obese rabbits are more likely to have soft cecotropes (called cecal dysbiosis). Cats that are underweight Cat or have lost weight usually are not receiving enough calories. Some of the common causes of being underweight includes improper nutrition, intensive physical exercise, heredity issues, chronic illness, side effects of medications, physiological issues. Subscribe to the Bunny Lady e-Newsletter and receive a FREE pdf guidebook going over all the basics of rabbit care. Aside from the underlying health problems, it is necessary to search for the factors which may be contributing to the eating behavior of rabbits. Depending on how you buy your hay you may find that nutritional information is displayed on the packaging as it is for pellets. Bad Teeth: Your dog may have poor dental health or may be suffering from canine periodontal disease, which makes it difficult for them to eat. But some rabbits suffer from malnourishment early in life. Machan,J.J. 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. Their appetite will naturally start to wane as they move around less. Obese rabbits can also suffer from sleep apnea. Supplement a higher protein pellet. Barn dried grass such as Readigrass is both palatable and slightly higher in nutritional value than standard hay. Some dogs may require more, some less. Weight gain in rabbits can be caused by: Diet and exercise. Eventually the area will begin to bald and lose fur, and it’s possible that an infection can result from the urine scalding. Feeding pellets as the main food instead of hay/vegs is a major cause of molar spurs. If not, these health issues involve the accumulation of toxins within the body, which affect the vital organs, especially the brain. Good foods for underweight rabbits? (9 Posts) Add message | Report. Bread is really not good for bunnies and really should never be fed. The skin is right up against the bone with little fat or muscle in between. There is a thick layer of fat making it difficult to feel the ribs, hips and spine. Likely there will be a loss of muscle mass and there may be concave areas around the rabbits behind. There are many reasons baby rabbits can become underweight, the biggest common factor is obesity. The pellets that the rabbit receives on a daily basis should be a plain timothy based mix, no extra fruity pieces! Hi guys, yet another problem with Mugwumps- feel like I've been spamming this board lately! Some bunnies tend to be very territorial and will attack other rabbits who enter their area. Causes. The main cause of obesity in rabbits is an unhealthy diet. 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. A rabbit that you can feel but not easily see the ribs on is typically a three. Like with humans, obesity in rabbits puts them at an increased risk of heart disease. Empty the bowl and refill it daily.
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