Rabbits are alerts and quite energetic animals. They are usually slim and have an average muscle-toned body. They also tend to get obese very quickly if not provided with a balanced diet.
As a pet parent, keeping a check on their regular meals is a necessity. But, even if your rabbit is eating well, you may notice a sudden change in their behavior. Suddenly, within a short period, your rabbit may seem underweight.
Why is my rabbit losing weight?
Due to specific health issues, infections, and poor nutrition, a rabbit may start losing weight. Weight loss does not happen in a day or two. It is a gradual process. But within a short time, you will notice distinct changes in muscle loss.
The ideal weight of a rabbit
Every different species of rabbit has different weights. The maximum weight of a pet rabbit is five-eight pounds. Although rabbits are smaller in size, their weight also depends on the length of the body.
For example, a rabbit with a body length of 40cms will approximately weigh 4 to 5 pounds. A rabbit losing weight will have a bodyweight of 1 pound or lesser than that.
Symptoms of losing weight
Weight loss in rabbits may not have distinctly visible symptoms in just a day or two. You may gradually feel the change when you carry your rabbit after a long time. Some signs of losing body weight are:
- The prominent feel of backbone and bones in thighs and ribs.
- A flat stomach instead of a curved and smooth one
- Loss of fur from the skin and dull color of the coat than usual
- Not passing enough fecal matter.
- Not performing regular activities.
11 Reasons for a rabbit losing weight
A rabbit may lose its weight due to various reasons. Ranging from old age, poor nutrition, health issues to stress, the reasons may vary. Let us discuss the reasons in detail as follows:
A rabbit likes to eat different types of food items in their meal. But hay is the primary and significant ingredient. Fruits and herbs make up a minor part of the meal. But not providing them the required balanced diet makes them lose weight in due course of time. It can lead to the following conditions:
Although rabbits find fruits delectable, it is vital to provide them in a limited quantity. They encounter stomach issues by eating fruits in a vast amount. Likewise, eating more herbs and other vegetables than hay results in an upset stomach. Thus, leading to loss of weight due to eating a toxic and high quantity of food.
A rabbit tends to get obese whit frequent eating habits. In contrast, lack of sufficient food also deteriorates its health. Rabbits who do not have the provision of a balanced meal lose their body weight. Prolonged lack of adequate food leads to a skeletal rabbit.
An inappropriate diet also leads to the production of less fecal matter. Ingesting body fur with other food items also makes the body discharge harder. Constipation results in loss of appetite and, in turn, loss of body weight.
Parasites may enter the body while grazing in the soil. Rabbits are often let loose in the outdoor environment. They tend to ingest soil, which also contains parasites. These parasites enter the digestive system and disrupt natural functioning. Hence causing digestive issues and leading to loss of weight.
Change of habitat:
A sudden change in living conditions can also result in gradual weight loss. Either the hutch is not spacious enough, or maybe too large that initiates loneliness. Lack of a close companion or separation may also lead to stress. In such situations, your rabbit may not want to eat its regular meal. A combination of all may have a consequence of weight loss.
Incompatible hutch partner:
As a pet parent, you should also look into your rabbits’ activities. If more than one rabbit is staying together in a hutch, they may not necessarily be compatible. A dominant one may eat the food of the recessive one. As a result, one may start gaining weight, and other loss of its natural weight.
A change in weather conditions may not be suitable for your rabbit. It might take some time to adapt to new weather conditions. Rabbits have a consistent weight throughout the year, irrespective of weather. But a sudden change may need some time to adjust.
Extreme weather conditions may not suit the body instantly. But a rabbit grows more fur in winter to keep the body warm. Similarly, it loses the excess coat in the summer to relieve the heat. Loss of hair will show reduced body weight.
Losing weight is a natural process as a rabbit approaches old age. Reduced quantity of food and lack of activities will lead to a decrease in birth weight. It is vital to take care of an old rabbit. Ensure to provide more pellets in their diet to help them revive and stay healthy.
If you notice a gradual decrease in body weight, underlying health issues may be a reason. You must consult a doctor for a thorough check-up if you are unable to find a logic behind it. Health problems like genetic diseases, dental issues, or internal injury require a veterinarian’s interference.
If your rabbit has recently undergone surgery, it may lead to loss of weight until the time they revive. A strict food habit during recovery time, medicines, and lack of immunity during the period leading to weight loss.
Rabbits should neither be overweight or underweight. They must maintain a consistent weight throughout. It ensures natural commute and involvement in activities. If you notice your rabbit losing weight, make sure to visit a doctor.
Early investigation of the reason will help in amending the external issues. It will also help in early treatment with a balanced meal and sufficient water. A healthy rabbit will have a slim body and enthusiastic nature.