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. Because of significant differences we can find between breeds of rabbits, there is no BMI that we can measure to determine if our rabbits are overweight. Causes. You don’t want to give your rabbit a new food all at once because that can shock your rabbit’s digestive system, so take 3-4 weeks to slowly transition your rabbit from their old, unhealthy food, to the new one. During this time you want to monitor your rabbit and watch for any rapid weight loss or refusal to eat. 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. Bunnies are quite easy to keep active and healthy. This can happen with rabbits that are used to eating the soft pellets all day. Fat rabbits are often lethargic, and are susceptible to heart, liver, and kidney disease. Putting hay bins or litter boxes in different locations all over the house may encourage your pet to be more active. What appears to be very fast breathing, may just be the normal respiratory rate of your rabbit. The causes for obesity in rabbits include being caged too often, along with excessive feeding habits. An overweight rabbit will have a rounded butt and chest with sagging folds of fat. Type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed in children. Like with humans, obesity in rabbits puts them at an increased risk of heart disease. Exercise is particularly important, as it will get the juices flowing through the rabbits body, encouraging them to drink and urinate more frequently. 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. This includes sweet fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, bananas, and carrots. You can also help you rabbit get more exercise by getting puzzle toys that encourage them to forage for their food. You can give the outside of the cauliflower, broccoli stalk etc as treats. Decreased appetite is the leading reason for weight loss in bunnies. When rabbits are injured or ill, veterinarians will suggest a home care plan. While not life threatening, this can be a painful condition for rabbits. The rabbit will end up sitting in their urine for long periods of time, causing a skin rash and irritation. Natural ways to gain weight includes eating right, getting … Rabbits breathe much faster than humans do. Overweight and Underweight Rabbits This article discusses two of the more common liver diseases in rabbits: hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver) and toxic liver damage. Giving them some chew toys to throw around will encourage them to get up and play. Metabolic disorders such as organ failure or disorders associated with cancer can also bring this type of weight loss. If your rabbit is not eating their hay despite having it available, then they might be a picky bunny. A very thin fat layer. link to Caring For a Rabbit Before and After Neuter or Spay Surgery. 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. The signs of malnutrition in bunnies may vary from case to case. Important: As an Amazon Associate and an associate to other companies I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. You will want to feed your rabbit over to a healthier pellet mix. The other major cause of obesity in pet rabbits is the sedentary lifestyle that they often live. Your email address will not be published. My old bun, Tenshi, became a very obese bunny by the time she was middle aged. They can end up gaining weight as their lifestyle becomes less active. If you cannot feel the ribs at all, or if it is very difficult, that is an indication that your rabbit is obese. When you 2 or more rabbits, the dominant one might guard the foods and prevent the other from eating. 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. 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). Do it for certain foods like fresh greens, mustard greens, dandelions, collards, and a teaspoon of sliced turnip, parsnip, and carrot. 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. 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 puts them at risk of a heart attack or heart failure. Hi guys, yet another problem with Mugwumps- feel like I've been spamming this board lately! For example, the animal's body may start using lean muscle for energy in order to carry out its daily functions. Obese rabbits are also more sedentary, which discourages the movement of food through the digestive system. Decreased appetite is the leading reason for weight loss in bunnies. Some bunnies tend to be very territorial and will attack other rabbits who enter their area. Many of those conditions include pain that makes it hard for a rabbit to eat. Another name for Pododermatitis is bumblefoot, and it is caused by obesity due to the sedentary lifestyle of rabbits. In addition to an appropriately sized enclosure, rabbits need time out in a large area (a room in the house) to get some exercise during the day. 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. 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. “Congestive Heart Failure in Rabbits.”, Schulman, Jackie Ph.D. “Obese Rabbits at Risk.”. 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. The rabbit may even have layers or rolls of fat. If your rabbit is severely obese, you can probably tell just by looking. Beans, cauliflower, cabbage, and potatoes may cause problems and should be avoided. 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. Anorexia in rabbits is a symptom of an underlying condition, the most common causes are dental disease and gastrointestinal disorders. It is a very uncomfortable condition for rabbits, who generally prefer to remain clean. The excess fat can also put pressure on the rabbits essential organs while the rabbit is laying on their back on the surgery table. link to Why Do Rabbits Breathe Fast and When is it Dangerous? You can also find puzzle toys where you hide the food and give your rabbit a chance to find it on their own. Poopy butt puts rabbits at an increased risk of being the target of fly strike. The skin is right up against the bone with little fat or muscle in between. Elderly rabbits are also at risk. They may require specific amounts of high-quality pellets and homemade ground-pellet slop. Increasing the number of processed pellets in the diet for underweight rabbits is not a great idea. Animalfactors — Some rabbits refuse to eat hay or other foods in coarse, indigestible fiber. When bonding rabbits, you want to make sure you are careful when you introduce the rabbits. To get a more accurate idea of whether or not your rabbit is overweight, you should gently feel along their sides and chest. The rabbits are left with a whole bowl full of pellets during the day. Barn dried grass such as Readigrass is both palatable and slightly higher in nutritional value than standard hay. This will be especially noticeable in small and medium sized rabbits, and in rabbits that have a more elegant and arched body shape. If your rabbits have gained weight, it’s likely that they are eating too much or moving around too little. Fresh Foods. Similar to feeling the ribs, you should gently touch your rabbit along their spine, shoulders and hips. You will notice the same on the rabbit’s thighs and spine (forming a triangle), Unusual activity levels (signaling the need for food or water), Pain (seen through your pet’s hunched look, incapability to stretch out, hesitating to move, grinding of teeth, and eyes are partially closed. The accumulated toxins will make your pet feeling not hungry or nauseated. Getting a larger cage for your rabbit will immediately increase the amount they can move around during the day. 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. 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. If you feel your pet is in this situation right now, then this post will help you face the issue and get it solved starting today. First, you might be wondering how to know if your rabbit is fat. You can test if your rabbit is obese by feeling for their ribs, spine and hips. Even in a large enclosure, a bored rabbit might sit around all day. Some of these arise from physical limitations of overweight animals such as joint issues, reduced activity, and difficulty grooming. The first thing to do is check your rabbit’s profile. Heart disease is difficult to detect in rabbits until it reaches an advanced stage. Rabbits spend a lot of time cleaning themselves every day. Rabbits Losing Weight Due To Digestive Issues. Moreover, you must pay attention to your pet’s water intake. There is a thick layer of fat making it difficult to feel the ribs, hips and spine. When you go for a pelleted diet, then it must be free from nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. It gives them a fair amount of space and actually makes clean up easier too. Look at them from the side and from above to see if they are visibly obese. Some rabbits will also sit around all day because they are depressed or bored. Some other common causes may include: 1. If these bones are difficult to find because of a thick layer of fat, then you need to help your rabbit lose weight. Always give it fresh and clean water every day. In order to do this effectively, you’ll need to find the best weight gain food for your rabbit. Dewlaps are common among female rabbits, who develop them to get more nesting material. Some of the common causes of being underweight includes improper nutrition, intensive physical exercise, heredity issues, chronic illness, side effects of medications, physiological issues. Underweight rabbits may be physically incapable of breeding successfully. With the exception of some larger breeds of rabbits, males will not usually form dewlaps. These can be signs of more serious conditions, such as fatty liver disease, and should be treated as an emergency. There are many reasons baby rabbits can become underweight, the biggest common factor is obesity. Oxbow is a well known and respected brand that supplies food for rabbits and other small animals. ANSWER: Weight Gain Diet for Underweight Rabbits Hay. House Rabbit Society, Sandi Ackerman, The Perils of Bunny Obesity; PetEducation.com, Obesity-Related Health Problems in Rabbits; Underweight rabbits. Normally rabbits would easily be able to keep themselves clean, but obese rabbits will often have trouble reaching around their fat to clean up the poop that is stuck to their fur. 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. If it is fed too many treats or snacks during the day and not allowed to exercise it off, then it is sure to become obese. Below are some of the causes of why a rabbit is losing weight: 1. However, the rabbits must be stimulated to consume grass hay, too. What to feed an underweight rabbit? Drewniak,A. Sugar or honey – one rabbit owner I know added sugar or honey to her rabbit’s food to get them to gain weight. “High dietary fat and the development of osteoarthritis in a rabbit model.”. The same reasons that you shouldn’t feed your healthy rabbit oats and oatmeal are the exact factors that help an underweight rabbit. There may be some extra folds of fat and the bottom will start to become rounded on the sides. ‘Eat less, move more’ – this simple formula really does work. As a result, rabbits don’t have a strong body odor and should never be bathed.Generally a rabbit will only smell if their cage is not being cleaned regularly or if the rabbit is having health problems. The symptoms of heart disease in rabbits include: Obese rabbits are more likely to have soft cecotropes (called cecal dysbiosis). Here are a few things to consider. A sudden dietary change or giving too many treats can lead to problems. It's often fed to young rabbits but is also good for putti… Thus causing them to be even more reluctant to move than before, and worsening the problem. When giving a treat to your pet, consider providing it only in smaller amounts. Obesity can also cause … Overweight rabbits may not show any interest in mating and can have a hard time becoming pregnant if mating does occur. Because obese rabbits tend to be less active, they have an increased chance of developing bladder sludge or bladder stones. Ehrlich. Emaciated appearances like prominent pelvis, ribs, and backbone, Abdomen “caved-in” instead of smoothness at a specific part surrounded by the last part of the ribs. Viewing 19 reply threads This is a gross and deadly condition where a fly will lay eggs on the rabbit, preferring areas that are dirty. Free-choice or overfeeding of pellets is one of the primary causes of obesity in rabbits. However, malnutrition in rabbits can occur due to a multitude of reasons. 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. Lesieur-Brooks,J. If you don’t have enough time to spend with your rabbit, you should consider finding them a partner rabbit to bond with. There are many different causes for cachexia (and weight loss) in rabbits. 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. There is a healthy layer of fat, but no bulging areas. Establish a “target” weight prior to breeding according to the specific breed standards of your rabbit for greatest success. Most cages sold in pet stores and many sold online, are much too small for rabbits. The basic rabbit smells you might encounter. These foods are widely available, so you should never forget to include them in the daily food intake of your pet. Understand the risks your rabbit can face if it is overweight. Bread is really not good for bunnies and really should never be fed. Required fields are marked *. As anorexia is often caused by pain you may notice your rabbit showing other signs such as hunching, refusing to move or increased respiration. Underweight rabbits may be physically incapable of breeding successfully. Add the new diet with the old one to help your pet in getting used to it. Often times they're strays found foraging around that someone let loose. If you’re considering breeding your female rabbit, be sure she’s in good health. Avoid all types of sugars, seeds, fruits, nuts, cookies, table scraps, and commercial treats for rabbits. “Body Condition Scoring the Rabbit.”, Praag, Esther van. But in reality, healthy babies come in all shapes and sizes. If undetected, this can be fatal for rabbits within a 48 hour time period. This article brings you the 3 best rabbit foods for weight gain along with a weight gain guide for your rabbit. 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. To make the correct diagnosis, you should have your doctor examine your rabbit. Observe their actions when it comes to food. You want to get a cage that is three to four times the full length of your rabbit. Though it is reasonable to think that a less-active bunny will gain extra weight, the unexpected happens sometimes. Your email address will not be published. If not, these health issues involve the accumulation of toxins within the body, which affect the vital organs, especially the brain. Hay and pellets should make most of their diet. This is good for their teeth and is high in fiber, making it an essential part of their digestive system. Many rabbits are kept in cages that are too small for them, and are given very little time out to exercise and socialize. For most rabbits, they should only get about ¼ to ½ a cup of pellets a day, with the bulk of their diet being made up of grass-based hay (such as timothy hay) and some fresh leafy greens. If there are 2 or more bunnies, you must be mindful of the possible social problems. When the liver is functioning normally, it will store some fatty acids to use for energy. This means that surgeries will almost definitely last longer, requiring more anesthesia. Some types of hays like timothy and oat hay seem to promote enhanced gastrointestinal motility. If the symptoms are not detected soon enough, GI Stasis is often a deadly condition for rabbits. Cats that are underweight Cat or have lost weight usually are not receiving enough calories. (9 Posts) Add message | Report. A good-quality rabbit diet must be available at the local store. 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 you need help, don’t hesitate to consult a veterinarian. Eventually the area will begin to bald and lose fur, and it’s possible that an infection can result from the urine scalding. Empty the bowl and refill it daily. The most effective way of increasing your rabbits weight is by adjusting its diet. Make a fist with your hand and then feel the knuckles. It is usually caused when a rabbit suddenly becomes anorexic and stops eating (a common symptom of many rabbit illnesses). So if you make their out-of-cage sessions for the times when they are naturally more active, it will encourage them to move around more and get exercise. A diet rich in fiber decreases dental and other related health issues. If people are telling you that you have a "skinny baby," you may be worried that you need to do more to produce those touted baby rolls. If you’re looking for a DIY option, you can use some toilet paper rolls and hide food inside of them. Obesity is dangerous for our rabbits because of the many health problems that can result from the extra weight. Likewise, they might help in preventing hairball issues. This is a recipe for weight gain and eventual health complications. Machan,J.J. The same for decreased calorie intake. Infectious diseases, particularly the ones associated with the upper respiratory system, making it hard for the rabbit to smell foods that contribute to reduced appetite. Do something if you notice the other is not getting enough food because the dominant rabbit prevents it from eating well. › Forum › DIET & CARE › Proper diet for an underweight rabbit? My shelter occasionally gets in rabbits that are super thin, sometimes bordering on emaciated. Accessed at: https://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/171/8/192.short. 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. Caution Over Diet Changes. When the eggs hatch, the maggots will begin eating through the rabbits skin. ). But excess greens lead to weight loss, not weight gain. 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. Continuously giving them will only result in unhealthy weight loss. This will often cause the elderly rabbit to be reluctant to move around. These can include increased metabolism. There should not be a significant weight loss for a rabbit in the summer. As anorexia is often caused by pain you may notice your rabbit showing other signs such as hunching, refusing to move or increased respiration. The spine, hips and ribs can be felt, but are rounded and not sharp when touched. 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. 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. Rhubarb should also be avoided (toxicity). A rabbit savvy vet will also be able to check for any underlying diseases. Minimum of 1 cup vegetables Select 3 different types of dark green or dark yellow This is a condition called Poopy Butt, and it is common for obese and elderly rabbits who are unable or don’t have the mobility to clean themselves. This is much more common in obese rabbits than in rabbits at a healthy weight. 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. Courcier, EA., Mellor, DJ., Pendlebury, E., Evans, C., Yam, PS. They should be proportional. This topic has 19sd replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 3 months ago by Pawprints903 . Hepatic lipidosis can also be a concern. Also, you must never give apple seeds, rhubarb, potatoes, and tomato leaves. Dental diseases which can make eating difficult 2. close topic reply to this topic. These mushy droppings get stuck to the rabbits bottom. The same goes for our pets. The same for decreased calorie intake. Henn,E.I. Establish a “target” weight prior to breeding according to the specific breed standards of your rabbit for greatest success. I use and recommend Oxbow’s Garden Select rabbit food. It is especially a danger for obese rabbits, who often have an imbalance of bacteria in their gut, and have extra fat putting pressure on their sensitive digestive tract. 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. It is common for people to feed their rabbit’s too many treats (because they are just so cute when they beg), or give them a diet high in pellets and low in the essential, fiber-dense hay. Some bunnies suffer from malnourishment in the first few years of their lives. Moreover, a diet that consists of fresh veggies and greens rather than grass hay will be extremely dangerous for your pet. But it can also happen when the rabbit is too fat to clean themselves properly. You can give the outside of the cauliflower, broccoli stalk etc as treats. You can also help your rabbit lose some weight by encouraging them to be more active and engaged. A rabbit that is underweight will have sharp or protruding spine, hips, and ribs. Because of the many conditions and complications that occur, obesity will often cause a reduced lifespan for pet rabbits. You will also want to make sure your rabbit is getting enough attention. Rabbits don’t need very many pellets on a daily basis. Rabbit enclosures should be large enough for a rabbit to make three full hops along the length of the cage. There are some other considerations. Is your rabbit underweight? Some additional liver diseases are briefly mentioned toward the end of the article. Alfalfa hay is not recommended for most adult house rabbits, as it is too high in calcium content and calories, but can be offered free choice to young, pregnant or underweight rabbits. While you limit their pellets, you want to make sure they have access to unlimited grass-based hay (such as timothy hay). 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. Rabbit was improving near end of that treatment, but then the sore hocks deteriorated again. Yogurt treats, in particular, can be very high in sugar and are very bad for a rabbit’s digestion. Bread is really not good for bunnies and really should never be fed. What could be a simple procedure for a healthy rabbit is often riddled with complications as doctors try to manage a precise surgery with layers of fat in the way. But the good news is that rabbit obesity is often solved by correcting your rabbit’s diet and encouraging more exercise. Caution Over Diet Changes. Overweight rabbits may breathe or pant more heavily than healthy rabbits. When you take your pet out of the cage, make sure it gets enough time to be active. They are more likely to become ill or otherwise unwell. UNDERWEIGHT RABBITS. Rabbits are social animals and require some time with people or other rabbits to be happy. Fat accumulation in the body can also put a lot of pressure on a rabbit’s lungs, making it more difficult for them to breathe. Some dogs may require more, some less. If you are currently giving your rabbit a fruity rabbit food mix, you will want to transition them over to plain timothy-based pellets. Leafy hay, such as alfalfa does not encourage GI motility. Overweight rabbits may not show any interest in mating and can have a hard time becoming pregnant if mating does occur. Urine scalding is a skin irritation that occurs on a rabbit’s bottom and legs when a rabbit cannot fully clean the urine off. Overweight rabbits may not show any interest in mating and can have a hard time becoming pregnant if mating does occur. GI stasis (ileus) is the most common problem in pet rabbits due to its many causes. If your pet rabbit is losing weight and they have diarrhea or their poop seems small and oblong, they may be experiencing digestive issues. No fat, with a visible spine, hips and ribs that feel sharp when touched. Despite that, it is important to be aware that there are... My name is Amy and I am the Bunny Lady! What Are The Different Colors of Rabbits? This makes it a hard task to help obese, elderly rabbits lose their excess weight. There is even potential that they will pass out when experiencing stress, a very dangerous position for a rabbit to be in. The pellets that the rabbit receives on a daily basis should be a plain timothy based mix, no extra fruity pieces! 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. The resulting BMI number indicates where you are on a scale of underweight to obese. Inadequate water can also reduce a rabbit’s food intake. The key is giving them a well-balanced and healthy diet. Causes of obesity in rabbits. While it is okay to give your rabbit the occasional treat, you want to avoid giving them more than a tablespoon in a day. It can even be confusing for doctors to get an accurate diagnosis for a rabbit. Many of those conditions include pain that makes it hard for a rabbit to eat. 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. Professionals will use the Body Condition Scoring (BCS) chart to determine if a pet is obese or underweight. Many pet rabbits are fed a diet with too many pellets. Weight Gain Diet for Underweight Rabbits. Underweight rabbits may be physically incapable of breeding successfully. Diagnosis. 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. On the other hand, if you can feel their ribcages, that means they are underweight. Over time this poop ends up forming into a ball attached to the bottom of the rabbits butt. Over time the joints might become inflamed and cause painful arthritis. It is very difficult or impossible to feel the hips, spine and ribs. In general, the head is not an area of the rabbit that puts on a lot of fat when they gain weight. 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? Can even be confusing for doctors to get a more accurate idea of whether or not rabbit. As they move around toys to throw around will encourage them to get these back... Problems that can be an accurate way of increasing your rabbits diet so that will! Some cases, the biggest common factor is obesity a problem in rabbits... Diagnosis, you can test if your rabbit is getting enough food because the dominant one might guard the and... Pet, consider providing it only in smaller amounts really should never be fed voices, the. Considering breeding your female rabbit, be sure she ’ s profile many pet rabbits reduced activity and. Assistance right away more nesting material are underweight older they lose muscle mass and there may physically! Hours of the day rate of your rabbit to be even more reluctant to move around the! Will use the body condition Scoring the Rabbit. ”, Schulman, Jackie “... 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