Rabbit shots

Do Rabbits Need Shots?

All pet owners want their pets to have long, happy, healthy lives. The same goes for those who own rabbits.

However, there is one concept that can be very complicated for rabbit owners: Vaccines.

Do bunnies require vaccinations? Are they even safe?

These questions pose a real concern for bunny owners. We all want our pets to live healthy lives, but the role of vaccines can be very hard to understand. Luckily, we are able to put together this handy guide!

We’ll investigate what different specialists say about rabbit shots, answer why your bunny must be vaccinated in the first place, and examine various aspects related to bunny vaccination.

Stopping disease is always much easier than curing it. And if you own a dog or a cat, you are certainly aware that regular vaccinations are advised to keep them as healthy as possible. This requires a trip to the vet, where they will also perform a complete exam and health check on your pet.

But what about rabbits? Are rabbit owners required to provide the same type of care?

Do Bunnies Require Vaccination?

Do Bunnies Require Vaccination?
Do Bunnies Require Vaccination?

It really depends on what you mean by the word “need.” Legally speaking, vaccines for rabbits are only required if you reside in Europe or parts of Australia. These parts of the world require vaccinations against two different ailments: Myxomatosis and viral hemorrhagic disease.

This is considered a large issue in these regions due to the commonality among wild rabbits. Both of these infections are very contagious and can easily transfer from wild rabbits to domestic rabbits.

Facing the same reason, these places have elected to make it compulsory for all bunnies, both indoor and outdoor, to acquire these vaccinations.

However, matters can be different in other parts of the world like in the U.S.A. and Canada. Vaccinating pet rabbits is very uncommon in these countries, and sometimes the opportunity might not even be available.

This is because of the rarity of these diseases in these countries. There are rare, short outbreaks of myxomatosis in the U.S.A., and this country hasn’t imposed licensed bunny vaccines against the disease as of yet.

Another instance is that rabbits can acquire rabies but at very low risk. There are no rabies-approved vaccines at least in the U.S., so the answer to “Do rabbits really need rabies shots?” is no.

Is It Fine to Let Your Pet Rabbit Roam Outside Without Being Vaccinated?

If you live in an area where there is no identified ongoing transmission of either Myxomatosis or the RHDV viruses, then it is not considered a high risk to bring your rabbit outdoors. However, most specialists still urged that you take precautions when taking your pet rabbit outdoors since there is always the chance of becoming infected with parasites. However, keeping your rabbit clean and dry is customarily enough.

On the other hand, if you are living in an area where there is an outbreak or known transmission of any of these viruses, then it’s best to keep your rabbit inside your home in their enclosure unless they have been vaccinated.

Both Myxomatosis and the RHDV viruses can easily be spread through contact. There is a chance that your rabbit could catch the disease if it gets in contact with an affected wild rabbit. Even if you are having an entirely closed-off outdoor area, the risk is still there. That’s because diseases can still be spread through insects so it would be safer to keep them indoors.

What Vaccinations Do Rabbits Require?

Once again, it all depends on the location. The country of the U.K. and Australia strongly requires vaccination of rabbits to fight off two different types of diseases: Myxomatosis and viral hemorrhagic disease.

The law can be extremely confusing in other countries as to what vaccines they demand for rabbits, what vaccines are there, and what vaccines are considered illegal.

For instance, the country of Denmark has amended its law multiple times in the last decade. As of this day, not vaccinating your pet rabbit against myxomatosis is considered illegal in Denmark due to the risk of spreading the disease.

In the U.S.A., there is still no vaccination recommended for rabbits that have yet to be confirmed by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Center for Veterinary Biologics.

Because of this, there are no vaccines available either. Furthermore, it is considered illegal to import vaccinations from other countries, and that’s also the reason there are no vaccines available for rabbits in this country.

If you have any particular inquiries about the laws and regulations in your area, it would be better to ask your vet. They are surely familiar and up to date on all laws concerning rabbit vaccinations in your area.

Are There Vaccines Available for Rabbits?

Are There Vaccines Available for Rabbits?
Are There Vaccines Available for Rabbits?

The story comes a little different if you own a rabbit. We already know that there are currently no authorized vaccines available for rabbits in the US. Vaccines are only available in other parts of the world to protect your pet against Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (RVHD).

Both Myxomatosis and RVHD are rare in the US. However, they’re starting to appear as problems in some rabbit populations, especially in the Southwestern United States. If an outbreak occurred in these areas, your vet may be allowed to import a vaccine only if the state vet authorizes it.

At this time, the vaccine that is allowed to be imported is for RVHD2. The vaccine for Myxomatosis is not yet authorized in the US.

Rabbits in the United States

Interestingly, vaccines for rabbits are not widely available in the United States for two reasons.

#1: The vaccine hasn’t been approved for safe use in the U.S. 

#2: Myxomatosis and Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease don’t affect the rabbits in the U.S.

At this point, if you are a rabbit owner residing in the United States, there is no need for you to worry about having your pet rabbit being vaccinated. 

But if you reside outside of the United States, there are a few vaccines that you should get for your rabbit.


The vaccines used to fight off Myxomatosis and both strains of RHDV (called RHD in the UK) are widely available and mandated by law in European countries. These viruses spread widely among wild rabbit populations in these places and there is a greater risk that it will spread to domestic rabbits as well.

You can have your rabbit vaccinated when it reaches 5 weeks old and another one when it reaches 10 weeks old. After this, it’s advised that you have them vaccinated annually to keep their immunity high against any dangerous diseases.

It may not be required by law in some countries, but it can often be a condition on a leasing arrangement that your pets are kept up-to-date on their shots. So in these circumstances, your landlord may require your rabbit to take its annual vaccinations.

Australia and New Zealand

The only vaccine for rabbits that are currently available in Australia and New Zealand is for RHDV1 (also called rabbit calicivirus). Though it was first detected in France, the mutated strain RHDV2 was first detected in Australia, but with no recommended vaccination.

However, some evidence implies the RHDV1 vaccine may also impose some effectiveness against RHDV2, so all rabbit owners are advised that their pets must stay up-to-date on their annual vaccination.

Despite the virus myxomatosis being widespread in Australia and New Zealand, there is still no vaccine available for domestic rabbits and both governments have no plans to produce one. The government is worried that the introduction of a vaccine to domestic rabbits would eventually lower their immunity to the disease.

There have been campaigns to acknowledge the use of the Myxomatosis vaccine in Australia, including suggested guidelines established by the Australian Veterinary Association, but at this point, it is still prohibited for use.

Rabbits in Other Parts of the World

The initial vaccine that was provided to rabbits was produced from Europe and Great Britain and it was called the Myxomatosis Vaccine. And the disease that the vaccine fights off is not natural, but man-made.

Myxomatosis was formed to lessen the population of wild rabbits in France. Unfortunately, it started to spread to domesticated rabbits. It was quickly spread by direct or indirect with a wild rabbit through fleas, mites, or other insect bites.

Myxomatosis is an incurable disease for rabbits and is not something to be messed with, so we recommend getting your rabbit vaccinated.

The second vaccine made is for a disease called Rabbit Viral Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD or VHD). The disease was detected throughout Europe and Great Britain and eventually detected in Canada, which can affect rabbits in the United States. 

RHD usually strikes fast that the owners will just simply find their rabbit deceased. An unfavorable nature of this disease is it can pass through clothing or through non-living transmissions.

The vaccine for this virus is only available in European countries and Great Britain as it has not been considered safe to use in the U.S. yet. 

Any of these diseases are not fun for you or your rabbit as well to go through. If you reside in the U.S., your vet might not have these vaccines to provide to your rabbit. But if you live in Europe or Great Britain, then we urge that you immediately get your rabbits vaccinated.

While there may not be any vaccines available in the U.S. for rabbits, anytime that you notice that your rabbit seems sick or something is seriously wrong, don’t wait. Call or go to your vet as quickly as possible.


Myxomatosis is a fatal virus that produces fever and swelling around the rabbit’s eye and nose. The mortality rate is very high at around 96%, and there is no known medication.

This virus was originally created in Australia and some areas of Europe in the 1950s to lessen the wild rabbit population. And though wild rabbits have acquired some amount of immunity, it’s still very fatal for our pet rabbits.

How it’s spread

Myxomatosis is commonly spread by blood-sucking pests, such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. These insects serve as transportation to transmit the virus from one host to another. For this reason, it’s prevalent for Myxomatosis outbreaks to happen in warmer seasons when insects are more common.

However, this disease also spreads through direct contact with an infected rabbit. They transmit the virus through the liquid of their nose and eyes, so having in tough with these areas can make the virus spread. It can take up to 14 days for any indications to transpire, but the rabbits can develop the disease before that time. They remain contagious even after death.


If you don’t have access to any vaccines, then the best way for you to stop the infection is by not letting them near any unfamiliar rabbits, or make sure to keep them away from insects that may be carrying the virus and by exercising basic cleanliness.

To stop the spread of Myxomatosis:

  • Make sure to practice basic cleanliness (handwashing, changing clothes after coming into contact with other rabbits)
  • Setting up mosquito netting around the rabbit’s cage.
  • Having your rabbit run inside where there are fewer bugs to spread the disease.
  • Ask a veterinarian about flea prevention in rabbits.
  • Clean the rabbit’s enclosure and litter box often.


RHDV (Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus) is a highly infectious virus that is also very fatal for rabbits. It causes liver collapse and internal bleeding.

In several cases, rabbits will exhibit indications of illness, such as high fever, lack of energy and appetite, or trouble breathing. In some instances, there may be no symptoms at all, and it will generate sudden death.

How it’s spread

The RHDV viruses are spread through contact with other infected rabbits, but they are much more infectious than Myxomatosis. It’s also a tough infection that can penetrate around on surfaces and materials for a very long period without dying.

Both strains of RHDV can be transferred between rabbits by:

  • Direct transmission between rabbits who come into touch with each other
  • Transmission through the clothing of the owners or caretakers
  • Strolling outside in an area where there is an outbreak and carrying it inside via shoes
  • Infected food or water supply
  • Scavenging outside, particularly in places that wild rabbits can access
  • Through contact with other pets that roam outdoors


Even though this is a very deadly virus, there is a lot you can do to stop the spread and defend your rabbit.

If you reside in a country where there are verified cases of the RHDV2 virus, speak to your veterinarian. They may be able to help you to acquire emergency permission to provide your rabbit the European vaccination.

Other preventative steps include:

  • Keeping your rabbit indoors
  • Wash your hands and change your clothes before handling with your rabbit
  • Avoid wearing outdoor shoes inside the house
  • Don’t let your rabbit come into contact with unfamiliar rabbits
  • Avoid serving greens or foliage that may have come into contact with a wild rabbit
  • Keep other pets indoors or in separate spaces from your rabbit
  • Quarantine new rabbits for 14 days before you let them out
  • Do not touch any dead rabbits that you see outdoors

When to Get Your Rabbit Vaccinated

When to Get Your Rabbit Vaccinated
When to Get Your Rabbit Vaccinated

If you are residing in an area where you can get your rabbit vaccinated, it’s best to do so as quickly as possible.

As of this writing, it is typical for rabbits to get two shots to achieve immunity to fight off all three viruses.

The first type of vaccine is applied to fight off Myxomatosis and RHDV1, and this must be provided to rabbits once they reach five weeks old. The other shot is to fight off RHDV2, which can be provided once a rabbit is 10 weeks old.

Rabbit Vaccinations Side Effects

If you do get your rabbit vaccinated, prepare yourself for some side effects, just like with every vaccine.

Side effects to the VHD vaccine include loss of appetite (normally for only 24 hours); obvious reactions like swelling, irritation, and hair loss, and in very rare cases, death because of the severe reaction.

Luckily, reactions from vaccines are very rare.

The side effects of the Myxomatosis vaccine include bulging in the injected area, quick fever, and lack of appetite. This is a very reliable vaccine, with overdoses in at-risk rabbits only generating minor side effects.

It is also essential to keep in mind that even if your pet rabbit is injected with the Myxomatosis vaccine, it is not guaranteed it will never get the virus. It is still possible, even after vaccination.

However, the virus is usually minor when linked to Myxomatosis in unvaccinated rabbits, and is not as lethal.

How Much Do Rabbit Vaccinations Cost

The total cost of yearly vaccinations is normally between $40 and $60. Of course, this can differ widely depending on your precise location.

This can be a critical cost to recognize when thinking about raising a bunny.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the response to this question can differ extensively.

In some places, it is mandated that all bunnies must obtain particular vaccinations. In other countries, vaccines have yet to be cleared and approved.

It does matter a lot where exactly you reside. Furthermore, the type of rabbit you have is also crucial.

Some deadly viruses that are commonly vaccinated only affect specific species of rabbits. Therefore, you might not require to get your rabbit vaccinated if they are of different kinds.

Your vet should have up-to-date, definite knowledge regarding the regulations in your area. And therefore, if you have any inquiries, it is always best to reach a rabbit-friendly vet for the exact information.

This is particularly true in areas that regularly change their laws when it comes to rabbit vaccinations.

Lastly, although vets can’t regularly vaccinate a rabbit, it’s still a good idea to take them for a yearly wellness check. Your vet can check their teeth and weight, as well as other irregularities. Problems in these areas can be early signs of disease that may otherwise persist undetected.

signs of a sick rabbit

Signs of a sick rabbit.

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Attention: If your rabbit needs health needs to be reviewed now, book an appointment now with Vetster for a review from a vet.

Are you confused about your rabbit’s unusual behavior?

A change in your rabbit’s natural behavior might be signs of a sick rabbit.

Understanding the changes in your rabbit’s behavior will help you recognize your rabbit’s health.

I have shared a complete list of possible signs your rabbit will give you when they are feeling unwell.

Do rabbits get sick suddenly?

A rabbit does not get sick suddenly. Raising house rabbits in an unclean environment without proper diet will result in health concerns.

Being prey animals, rabbits are good at hiding themselves as well as their feelings.

Usually, a rabbit does not show any signs of their sickness until they can’t hide the pain anymore.

Rabbits in the wild survive for merely 2-3 years because they can’t escape from their predators.

However, domestic rabbits live longer because the guardians keep them safe from predators.

On the contrary, when a rabbit guardian fails to take genuine care of their pet rabbit, only then a rabbit may pass away sooner because of sickness.

Although domestic rabbits are delicate pets and vulnerable to sickness, it is unusual for them to have deadly diseases.

Often they get sick because of a guardian’s irresponsibility.

I believe you are one of those rabbit owners who are concerned about pet rabbit’s well being.

Thus you are willing to recognize what are the signs of a sick rabbit.

Signs of a sick rabbit include:

  • Changes in the rabbit’s behavior;
  • Stiff posture;
  • Aggressive behavior;
  • Lonely rabbit;
  • Peculiar noises;
  • Tooth grinding;
  • Head tilt;
  • Overgrown tooth;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Unhealthy looking rabbit’s skin/fur;
  • Fluctuations in body heat;
  • Respiratory issues;
  • Urine;
  • Stool;

Changes in the rabbit’s behavior.

If you own a pet rabbit for some time now, you may have already noticed a common habit in your pet rabbit.

Rabbits are habitual animals. Once they have built up a custom, they will always follow that model.

Therefore potty training a rabbit is very easy. Likewise, rabbits will always go to the same spot while they want to use a toilet regardless of a litter box because they have built up this manner.

Yet a sick rabbit will show alterations in their habit.

Suppose your rabbit loved hopping around the house before, and suddenly they stopped doing so for some time.

You may notice many uncommon things in your rabbit, such as not willing to play with the rabbit toys anymore. It means your rabbit is feeling unwell.

The rabbit is in pain and does not appear to be playing around.

Stiff posture.

In case, a rabbit is not feeling well; it will have a stiff posture. It is easily noticeable when your rabbit is resting but has a hardened stance.

It is typical for a happy, relaxed bunny to lay down on his/her side. Also, lay down flat on his tummy. So do not confuse yourself if you see your rabbit every time in such a position.

Try to observe for other symptoms of sickness together with stiffness and unwillingness to move.

Aggressive behavior.

A sick rabbit will act grumpy. It is natural for anyone not to have a better mood when sick.

Likewise, a rabbit, if s/he is in pain, s/he will show aggression. The rabbit may show hostility towards other rabbits in the group as well as its guardian.

My rabbit once bit my finger, and at the time, I did not understand why she did that.

Now I know she did that as she was in pain because I was an irresponsible guardian.

Lonely rabbit.

Your rabbit may have been a lively one. Suddenly you start to see that your rabbit is not playing around anymore.

A sick rabbit may avoid the companion of other rabbits and stay inside her enclosure for an extended time.

Your rabbit is lonely and willingly avoids contact with other rabbits because she is unwell.

In such a condition, a lonely rabbit requires immediate attention from his/her guardian.

Peculiar noises.

Rabbits are good at hiding their pain. If they cannot hide their pain any more, they will make noises.

A healthy rabbit does not make any sound at all. They are prey animals and very quiet.

In case they are very sick, they will make strange sounds as if they are screaming. The noise may not be loud, but a sensible rabbit guardian will notice the change in no time.

Tooth grinding.

Grinding teeth is unusual behavior for rabbits. When rabbits feel ill, they may grind their teeth, and a rabbit guardian understands the difference.

Yet you have to figure out whether it is tooth grinding or just tooth purring.

Tooth purring is normal, and you can hear your rabbits purring when you are playing with them.

Therefore recognize the difference between tooth grinding and regular purring to know your rabbit is in pain or not.

Head tilt.

The tilted head is also known as wry neck. Head tilt is a sign of many severe illnesses in rabbits. More commonly, a rabbit will have a tilted head due to inner ear infection.

However, a rabbit with trauma or a tumor will also show the same signs.

If you see your rabbit having a tilted head, visit a veterinary before it is too late.

Only a rabbit vet can find the exact reason for your rabbit’s current condition and provide the appropriate treatment.

Overgrown tooth.

I believe most rabbit guardians know that a rabbit’s teeth grow throughout their lifetime.

Hence a rabbit needs a 90% hay diet and many chew toys, which will help the rabbits tooth from overgrowing.

If a rabbit’s tooth has grown longer than average, then I deem the rabbit guardian is not taking care of the rabbit.

Yet if your rabbit somehow has grown long teeth despite having an adequate amount of hay every day, you must visit a rabbit vet.

Only a rabbit vet can help the rabbit with its problem of long teeth.

Loss of appetite.

Similar to all animals, a sick rabbit will lose its desire to eat. A healthy rabbit can munch on fresh hay all day. As well as drink a lot of water.

If you give a healthy rabbit some tasty treats, they will be overly excited.

On the other hand, a sick rabbit will stop feeding. It will not munch hay or enjoy even if the rabbit has a treat in front of it.

So if your rabbit noticeably eats less than average, then it is time to visit a veterinarian.

There are a few diseases that will prevent rabbits from eating like normal.

Unhealthy looking rabbit skin/fur.

A weak rabbit will not groom itself. Self-grooming is the natural characteristic of a rabbit.

They are spotless animals. A rabbit has dense, soft fur which feels fresh to touch.

If a rabbit is sick and stops self-grooming, you will feel the fur is slightly oily to touch.

As well as the rabbit skin will form dandruff.

Not self-grooming for a while and flaky skin is a symptom of a sick rabbit.

Fluctuations in body heat.

If a rabbit’s body is warmer than ordinary or feels colder than usual, it is highly likely your rabbit is suffering. It is best to visit a veterinarian for a checkup.

Only a rabbit vet can say why your rabbit’s body temperature is not the same as usual.

Respiratory issues.

Snuffles is a common disease in rabbits. Anything related to a rabbit’s respiratory system will show flu-like symptoms.

Your rabbit having discharge from the nose, sneezing, and coughing is signs of respiratory issues.

Similarly, shortness of breath and watery eyes are all issues that require attention from you.

Providing proper medication to your rabbit will bring your rabbit back to normal.

The unusual color of urine.

Traces of blood in a rabbit’s urine is a sign of sickness. A healthy rabbit will never have blood in their urine.

Likewise, if the color of your house rabbit’s urine is unusual; then, it is better to consult a vet.

Traces of blood or reddish pee show that your rabbit is sick.


Your rabbit’s stool will show many signs that your rabbit is sick.

There is a saying that a rabbit guardian must start from the rabbit’s litter box to find whether the bunny is healthy or sick.

A sick rabbit will have loose stools. An abrupt change in a rabbit’s diet can cause diarrhea.

Loose stools are the result of a diet with fewer fibers.

Which means the rabbit is not healthy.

If the rabbit is not going to the toilet as usual, then you may also observe that. Because the rabbit suddenly stops pooping, then it means the bunny is struggling. One of the reasons why your rabbit may stop pooping is that the digestive system is struggling to pass the stool.

Observe the size of the rabbit stool too. If the size of the rabbit’s waste is smaller than regular, then your bunny friend is having a problem digesting the food.

Rabbit poop does not have any odor, yet if you find your rabbit’s waste is spreading smell, then it means your rabbit is sick.


If you adopt a rabbit, you must learn to read the symptoms.

Consider a rabbit as an exotic pet; thus, it is crucial to keep track of their behavior.

Any change in rabbits’ normal behavior might be a sign of a sick rabbit.

Maintaining cleanliness in your pet rabbits’ cage, running area, and feeding them a menu high in fiber is vital for their well-being.

Observe your rabbits often, and in case you notice any symptoms as I mentioned above, visit a veterinary soon.

Leaving your rabbits untreated for their sickness will deteriorate their health and might as well bring their demise sooner.

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rabbit diseases

Common rabbit diseases.

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Knowing the most common rabbit diseases will certainly help rabbit owners keep their bunnies secure.

The symptoms of the most widespread house rabbit diseases are unknown to maximum rabbit guardians. Surely knowing the condition before it gets deadly will help you keep your rabbits safe.

I have listed a few diseases regularly seen in house rabbits in this post.

There are so many rabbit diseases to list; however, I thought it is only necessary to state the conditions that might infect house rabbits.

Twelve rabbit diseases your rabbits are vulnerable to:

  • Overgrown teeth;
  • Snuffles;
  • Hairballs;
  • Heatstroke;
  • GI Stasis;
  • Sore hocks;
  • Myxomatosis;
  • Bloat;
  • Head Tilt;
  • Rabbit viral hemorrhagic disease;
  • Ear mites;
  • Uterine tumors.

Let us start our discussion with the condition that is very common in rabbits with a poor diet.

Disproportionate teeth.

I believe by now; if you have had a rabbit for quite some time, you may already know that a rabbit’s teeth never stop growing.

Rabbit’s molar teeth and incisors keep growing throughout their lifetime.

This constant growth can become very painful for rabbits. Overgrown teeth can lead to rabbit’s death. 

A longer molar tooth than usual can damage their cheek and tongue. And incisors can grow so long which will limit rabbits from closing their mouth.

Unable to close their mouth, rabbits will stop eating, and that will lead to starvation and then death.

How to prevent overgrown teeth?

Preventing the continuous growth of a rabbit’s teeth is possible by providing your rabbits an endless supply of hay. A rabbits diet must consist of 90% hay and 10% other food.

Other food will give them all the necessary nutrition.

However, the fiber in the hay will help maintain a sound digestive system for your rabbits.

Most importantly, chewing on hay more often aids in wearing off rabbits teeth.

So as their teeth keep growing, the hay rabbits continuously chew on hay to keep their teeth in good shape. As a result, a rabbit’s teeth don’t become excessively long.

So to prevent your rabbits’ teeth overgrowing, give them hay so that they can munch on whenever they will.


If you notice your rabbits have overgrown teeth, then visit a rabbit vet. The rabbit vet can have surgery and save the rabbit from dying early.

Snuffles or Pasteurellosis.

It occurs when a certain bacteria infects the rabbit’s respiratory system. The typical sign for snuffle is discharge from the nose, sneezing, red eyes, and squinting. This Pasteurellosis Multocida bacteria may affect other parts of a rabbit’s body, including ears.

How to prevent snuffles?

Preventing snuffles is easier than you might think. Presenting your house rabbits with nutritious food will keep their immune system healthy enough to fight such kinds of bacterias.

And a healthy rabbit can stay away from such bacteria by themselves.

Keeping your rabbit’s hutch and the running area clean is equally important. Because this kind of bacteria can spread in wet and damp conditions, it is crucial to keep your pet rabbit’s enclosure fresh and dry for all the rabbits’ well being.

Similarly, this bacteria can spread by contacting an infected rabbit. So once you notice one of your rabbits has snuffles, the priority is quarantining the infected rabbit from others.

That will stop the bacteria from spreading.


Using antibiotics can cure snuffles. The process of healing snuffles may take a long time, even with medicines. In a severe condition, an infected rabbit may require surgery.


Signs of hairball congestion in the intestine of a rabbit is not as visible as you may think. Didn’t I tell you rabbits are fighters? Rabbits don’t like to show any signs of sickness until they cannot hold it anymore.

Hence it is impossible to know whether a hairball is forming inside the stomach of your rabbit or not. But in extreme circumstances, your rabbit will avoid eating anything.

Rabbits are self-grooming animals similar to cats. But unlike cats, rabbits cannot vomit the hairs that pass inside their stomach.

If the self-grooming continues, the hairballs inside the rabbit intestine will create a barrier and lead to a sick rabbit.

So the only prevention for hairball formation in a rabbits gut lies in the rabbit’s diet.

How to prevent it?

Hairball building is typical of all rabbits. But passing the hair through the gut is crucial.

When the rabbit is consuming 90% hay in their diet, the fiber in the diet helps to move the hair inside the rabbit’s gut and pass it out with the waste.

So hay is vital for a rabbit to stay healthy and keep the hairballs out from their body.


There might be medication available at your rabbit veterinary, though surgery may be required if a severe blockage is there.

Heat Stroke.

Rabbits are mammals that can survive in cold weather, merely by sharing the heat of each other in the group. Rabbits have dense fur that allows them to keep themself warm even in winter.

Therefore these dense furs can be trouble for rabbit guardians during the summer.

Usually, rabbits are alright and healthy during the summer. They do not have much trouble getting along with the heat.

However, if the temperature rises over standard, then the extreme heat will become intolerable for rabbits.

They will have a heat stroke. A possible indication of a heat stroke is the rabbit will become lazier unwilling to move.

Being an active animal rabbit likes to hop around, yet if the temperature gets too hot and the rabbit cannot tolerate it anymore, the rabbit will move slowly. The rabbit’s body temperature will be warmer than average on the outside.

How to prevent rabbits from heatstroke?

As rabbits have dense fur and they are naturally warm, all we can do to keep them fresh on hot, sunny days by keeping them indoors.

I always say raising pet rabbits indoors is the most suitable thing to do as a rabbit guardian.

Do not leave your rabbit out in the heat on sunny days. The best place to keep your rabbit is under a shed or your garage.

If your rabbits are inside a hutch, keep the rabbit hutch away from direct sunlight.

Always check the water feeder and replace it with cold water for your rabbits to stay hydrated on summer days.


If it seems that one of you rabbit is about to have a heat stroke, the quickest thing to do is sprinkle cold water on the rabbit.

If you notice your rabbits seem weaker due to a hot summer day, give them a few ice cubes to play. They will like playing with ice cubes in warm weather.

If your rabbit is having a heatstroke and not moving, it is best to visit a veterinary for a checkup, and the vet will give IV fluids to hydrate your rabbits.

Gastrointestinal Stasis.

If your rabbit loses appetite and has no interest in even drinking water, it is probably because your rabbit has GI stasis. Gastrointestinal stasis is the blockage of the intestine due to the lack of fiber in a rabbit’s diet.

Supposedly the rabbit guardian is feeding foods that are rich in carbohydrates to his/her pet rabbit that caused the gastrointestinal stasis.

When the diet starts to interrupt the digestive system of a rabbit due to the lack of fiber in the menu, the digestive system cannot produce waste properly.

The digestive system incapable of moving waste will result in a blockage of a rabbit’s intestine.

Therefore the rabbit does not poop as much as it used to.

How to prevent Gi stasis?

It is by providing your rabbits with a diet filled with fiber. It means 90% of your rabbits diet must contain hay.

Hay has fiber, which will prevent rabbits from Gastrointestinal stasis and smooth movement of waste in the intestine.


If the condition of your rabbit is severe, then you must visit a vet who may have to carry out surgery to remove the blockage in your rabbit’s diet.

Sore Hocks.

Sore hocks are visible signs of rabbits living in an unhealthy condition. If you keep your rabbit in hutch most of the time and they don’t have enough place to rest their foot, there will be a noticeable sore in their hind legs.

The joint in their hind legs will be sore, and your rabbits will struggle to move, unlike other healthy rabbits.

It is more common in larger breeds of rabbits.

How to prevent sore hocks?

Providing rabbits with adequate space to move will stop them from having sore hocks.

If you keep your rabbits inside a hutch, ensure you give them a floor mat inside the pen. The floor mat will prevent larger breeds of rabbits from having sore hocks.

It is equally important to keep the hutch clean and moisture-free. If there is moisture on the floor of the cage, that might result in sore hocks too.


Treating sore hocks is the same as preventing. Use plenty of enough place for your rabbit inside the enclosure to relax their feet.

Soon enough, you will notice your rabbits are well enough to hop around like before.


Myxomatosis is not so common. However, it is a deadly disease for rabbits. So I believe mentioning this disease is essential.

Myxomatosis is a viral disease, and the symptoms are visible in rabbits.

A rabbit contaminated with myxomatosis will have swelling, discharge from eyes, nose, and the anal region.

How to prevent myxomatosis?

Myxomatosis is a viral disease, and mosquitoes and fleas contribute to the spread of this virus.

Contact of an infected rabbit with another rabbit will spread the disease too.

To prevent rabbits from myxomatosis, you can use vaccines. Yet the vaccines are not available on many continents. So the best possible thing for a rabbit owner is to keep mosquitoes and fleas away from rabbits.

If there are many mosquitos at your location, using mosquito nets for your rabbits seems reasonable.

As well as if you find an infected rabbit, it is best to quarantine the infected rabbit.

Keeping the infected rabbit away from other rabbits will prevent the virus from flowing.


Sad but true, there is no cure for myxomatosis. Once a rabbit is infected, it’s a way for demise.

Usually, vets will suggest euthanizing the infected rabbit to stop its suffering.


A rabbit’s diet must not contain too many vegetables and fruits because it can cause an imbalance of bacteria inside the rabbit’s stomach.

An unevenness of bacteria inside a rabbit’s stomach will cause swelling of their tummy.

From the outside, you can see your rabbit’s tummy is bloated like a balloon.

How to prevent bloating?

A rabbit’s diet rich in fiber is crucial for a rabbit’s health. Therefore a rabbit’s menu must contain 90% of hay and not any less. The other twenty percent must consist of vegetables and treats to keep the balance of nutrition and prevent dehydration.

Feeding your rabbits an adequate amount of hay will prevent bloating and save your bunny’s life.


There is no effective treatment for a rabbit’s bloat. Replacing a rabbit’s diet with more hay and a fiber-enriched menu will probably help and slowly cure the bloat.

Head Tilt.

Head tilt is a common problem with rabbits in a large group, and the reason is variable.

There are several reasons why you may notice one of your rabbit’s head tilting on the side.

The sign is visible, and as a rabbit guardian, the sight of your rabbit’s tilted head can be shocking and sad.

The cause of a tilted head in rabbits can be:

  • trauma to the head,
  • tumor in the head,
  • ear infections,
  • as well as a stroke.

How to prevent head tilt?

The prevention of a head tilt depends upon how you treat your house rabbits. By keeping a house rabbit in a well-maintained enclosure, a hygienic place, they are less likely to face any of the reasons mentioned above.

Prevention of domestic rabbits from trauma, tumor, and ear infections, will possibly stop rabbits from having a tilted head.


Treatment of tilted heads relies on the rabbit veterinary. First, the rabbit vet has to identify the reason for the rabbit’s current condition.

Next, the rabbit vet has to treat the disease accordingly to bring the rabbit’s head to normal.

Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease.

RHVD, previously known as Calicivirus, is not very common. Nevertheless, it used to be a prevalent disease in wild rabbits. This viral disease is incurable and resulted in the death of many rabbits in the past.

Rabbits usually do not show any symptoms of sickness until unless they can’t hide it anymore.

Therefore it is difficult to identify an infected rabbit with RHVD.

But the apparent symptom in an infected rabbit is a loss of appetite, weakness, and a high fever.

This virus may be widespread in the wild rabbits until today. And once infected, a rabbit may face its death within 48-72 hours.

How to prevent RHVD?

RHVD may spread through direct contact of domestic rabbits with wild rabbits. Thus keeping house rabbits from contacting wild rabbits will retain your pet rabbits safe.

Keeping your rabbits safe from insects that carry the virus will save your rabbits too. Use mosquito nets or keep rabbits in clean places where insects will not reach.

There are vaccines available in the market. However, the vaccine is not available on all continents.

On the other hand, there are few types of RHVD, and vaccinating a rabbit will prevent the rabbit from one kind of RHVD only.

A vaccinated rabbit is yet vulnerable to other types of RHVD.


There is no treatment available for RHVD in rabbits. If this virus infects a rabbit, that rabbit will die within 72 hours or sooner.

Ear Mites.

Ear mites are an infestation of parasites in rabbits’ ears. Ear mites are not very dangerous for rabbits. If kept untreated for a long time can cause more infection in your rabbit’s ears.

Signs of ear mites are visible. Ear mites will form a crusty, brown skin inside and around your rabbit’s ears. You will see you rabbits often itching their ears. Also, thick fluid in the ear canal can be noticeable.

If you are suspicious of ear mites, do not hesitate to treat them sooner.

How to prevent it?

This parasite of ear mites is often present in the hay. Thus keeping your rabbit hay clean is vital. Buy a hay feeder for your rabbits and serve the feed to your rabbits using a hay feeder.

Do not allow your rabbits to lay on hay. Instead, buy them a bunny bed.

Often check your rabbit’s ears to see any presence of ear mite parasites.


Treating ear mites is more straightforward than managing any other rabbit diseases.

It is not fatal and can be cured by merely using some oil. Use a dropper and some oil to soak the infected area regularly for a week.

After a week, the ear mite will disappear as the skin scales will fall off.

Do not try to remove the skin scales as it will be excruciating for your rabbits.

Instead of hurting your rabbits, let the oil do its job.

Uterine Cancer.

Uterine cancer is a common problem in female rabbits. Spaying a female rabbit at an early age is necessary; otherwise, the female rabbits are prone to having uterine tumors.

These tumors will eventually spread from the uterus to other abdominal organs in a quick manner.

On average, a rabbit dies within 18 months from the first appearance of the tumor.

Common signs of uterine cancer are the presence of blood in urine, and vaginal discharge containing blood.

60% of the female rabbits over three years old have uterine tumors.

How to prevent uterine cancer?

Desexing, a female rabbit is essential once she is 3/4 months old. Spaying of a female rabbit will not allow tumors to form, and the rabbits will be safe from having uterine cancer.


There is no treatment for uterine cancer once cancer fully develops in a female rabbit. The only way is by spaying a rabbit and preventing the formation of a tumor at an early age.

A female rabbit with uterine cancer will inevitably die.


Like all creatures on earth, rabbits are prone to different kinds of diseases.

It is thus keeping house rabbits safe from viruses, bacteria, and any parasites a rabbit guardian’s duty.

Many other diseases can harm your rabbits. Yet, in this post, I have discussed only the most common ones and the conditions that can be easily preventable.

So keeping your rabbit’s enclosure and running space clean and safe from insects must be your priority as a rabbit keeper.

Likewise taking care of your rabbits and visiting the vets as early as possible if any of the symptoms mentioned in this article appear.

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