unwell rabbit laying down

To tell if a rabbit is sick, look for signs such as changes in appetite, behavior, and physical appearance.

Identifying these signs early can help ensure your rabbit receives prompt medical attention.

Common Signs of Illness in Rabbits

  • Changes in Appetite: One of the first signs that a rabbit might be sick is a change in its eating habits. A healthy rabbit will have a consistent appetite, eating hay, vegetables, and pellets regularly. If your rabbit stops eating or drinks less water than usual, this can indicate a problem.
  • Lethargy and Behavioral Changes: Rabbits are generally active animals. If you notice your rabbit is less active, hiding more than usual, or showing signs of discomfort, it may be unwell. Behavioral changes such as increased aggression or withdrawal can also be indicators of sickness.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Rabbits have delicate digestive systems. Watch for signs of gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal bloating.
  • Respiratory Problems: Respiratory issues in rabbits can manifest as sneezing, nasal discharge, and labored breathing. If your rabbit shows any of these signs, it is important to seek veterinary care promptly.
  • Dental Problems: Rabbits’ teeth grow continuously and need to be worn down by chewing. Signs of dental issues include drooling, difficulty eating, and swelling around the mouth. Regular dental check-ups can help prevent these problems.

For more on rabbit health, read our guide on taking care of rabbits.

Physical Examination

When conducting a physical examination of your rabbit, it’s essential to inspect their eyes and ears for signs of health.

Healthy rabbits typically have clear, bright eyes and clean ears, so watch out for any redness, discharge, or indications of ear mites or excessive earwax.

Additionally, assess their fur and skin for smoothness and cleanliness, being mindful of bald patches, redness, inflammation, or signs of excessive scratching or grooming.

Sudden weight loss can also be a significant indicator of underlying health issues, warranting immediate attention and further investigation.

By diligently monitoring these aspects of your rabbit’s physical condition, you can promptly identify any potential health concerns and ensure timely intervention to maintain their well-being.

Learn more about our detailed related article How Long Do Rabbits Live as Pets?

Preventive Care

Rabbit at the Veterinarian

Regular veterinary check-ups are vital to maintain your rabbit’s health, allowing early detection of any potential illnesses and facilitating appropriate treatments.

Alongside, a well-balanced diet is crucial, consisting of ample fresh hay, a diverse array of vegetables, and a controlled portion of pellets to ensure proper nutrition and fiber intake.

Furthermore, maintaining a clean living environment is paramount, necessitating regular cleaning of the enclosure and providing fresh bedding to prevent hazards and promote overall hygiene.

If you observe any of the above signs or suspect your rabbit is not well, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian immediately. Early intervention can make a significant difference in your rabbit’s health outcomes.

For more detailed information on rabbit health, refer to Wikipedia.


Recognizing the signs of illness in your rabbit can ensure they receive the care they need promptly.

By monitoring their appetite, behavior, and physical condition, and providing regular veterinary care, you can help keep your rabbit healthy and happy.