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. If you are currently giving your rabbit a fruity rabbit food mix, you will want to transition them over to plain timothy-based pellets. Poopy butt puts rabbits at an increased risk of being the target of fly strike. The causes for obesity in rabbits include being caged too often, along with excessive feeding habits. They may suffer from chronic diarrhea, heat stress in hot weather, splayed legs, and arthritis in later years. Often times rabbit will appear to lose weight because they have shed their thicker winter coat, and you are able to see the rabbits body more easily with the thinner, summer coat. Many rabbits are kept in cages that are too small for them, and are given very little time out to exercise and socialize. 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. 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. When you go for a pelleted diet, then it must be free from nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. This is a recipe for weight gain and eventual health complications. If you need help, don’t hesitate to consult a veterinarian. If you’re looking for a DIY option, you can use some toilet paper rolls and hide food inside of them. This article brings you the 3 best rabbit foods for weight gain along with a weight gain guide for your rabbit. When you take your pet out of the cage, make sure it gets enough time to be active. 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. 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. Rabbits are social animals and require some time with people or other rabbits to be happy. Rabbits breathe much faster than humans do. Fresh Foods. When the liver is functioning normally, it will store some fatty acids to use for energy. When you get a buddy for your pet, you will soon find the lonely one getting more and more active that facilitates increased exercise. It also includes bagged rabbit treats. I am a lifelong rabbit lover and have been specializing with rabbits at my local animal shelter. Exercise is particularly important, as it will get the juices flowing through the rabbits body, encouraging them to drink and urinate more frequently. To get a more accurate idea of whether or not your rabbit is overweight, you should gently feel along their sides and chest. Some bunnies suffer from malnourishment in the first few years of their lives. 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. 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. There are many layers of visible fat, and the stomach sags. Dewlaps are common among female rabbits, who develop them to get more nesting material. 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. A proper diet plus other important factors to consider are very important. When fed right, your pet will not require salt sticks and vitamins. “High dietary fat and the development of osteoarthritis in a rabbit model.”. Understand the risks your rabbit can face if it is overweight. 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). Underweight rabbits may be physically incapable of breeding successfully. Switching your rabbit to a healthy pellet mix and limiting their daily pellets and treats will help your rabbit slowly lose the extra pounds. The skin is right up against the bone with little fat or muscle in between. The veterinarian will be able to rule out a possible pregnancy in an unspayed female rabbit. Make sure you give your rabbit enough time to exercise every day. Rabbits must have a well-balanced diet that consists of grass hay provided to them in limitless amounts. 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. This means that surgeries will almost definitely last longer, requiring more anesthesia. 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 … 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. While not life threatening, this can be a painful condition for rabbits. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. Overweight rabbits may breathe or pant more heavily than healthy rabbits. Without intervention, gastrointestinal hypomotility can result in GI stasis. When your bunny becomes anxious due to the activity next to the feeding area like barking dogs, active kids, and something else that produces loud noises, your bunny will refuse to eat as it feels disturbed. Similar to feeling the ribs, you should gently touch your rabbit along their spine, shoulders and hips. You’ll be looking for a visibly rounded stomach and bottom. Rabbits don’t need very many pellets on a daily basis. 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. 2. You can help your rabbit lose weight and become a happy and healthy bunny again. This is good for their teeth and is high in fiber, making it an essential part of their digestive system. What to feed an underweight rabbit? On the other hand, if you can feel their ribcages, that means they are underweight. 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. You can also help you rabbit get more exercise by getting puzzle toys that encourage them to forage for their food. 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. What Are The Different Colors of Rabbits? My old bun, Tenshi, became a very obese bunny by the time she was middle aged. You want to get a cage that is three to four times the full length of your rabbit. Alfalfa is also a good way to increase protein levels whilst still providing plenty of fibre. There are many different causes for cachexia (and weight loss) in rabbits. While you limit their pellets, you want to make sure they have access to unlimited grass-based hay (such as timothy hay). Thus, while you can use it moderately as an excellent calcium source, it must not make up most of the bunny’s diet. Causes. First, you might be wondering how to know if your rabbit is fat. The same goes for our pets. So be sure to introduce them in a neutral area and see if they are a compatible pair first. Giving them some chew toys to throw around will encourage them to get up and play. As anorexia is often caused by pain you may notice your rabbit showing other signs such as hunching, refusing to move or increased respiration. This puts them at risk of a heart attack or heart failure. Rabbits Losing Weight Due To Digestive Issues. Machan,J.J. Obese and overweight pets are more prone to a myriad of health issues including skin disease, pododermatitis (inflammation of the feet and/or paws), cardiovascular disease, hypertension, arthritis, gastrointestinal stasis, and bladder sludge just to name a few. Obesity is dangerous for our rabbits because of the many health problems that can result from the extra weight. A very thin fat layer. Though it is reasonable to think that a less-active bunny will gain extra weight, the unexpected happens sometimes. The excess fat can also put pressure on the rabbits essential organs while the rabbit is laying on their back on the surgery table. Dry Food. For humans, we know that obesity is linked to a multitude of health problems and complications. Rhubarb should also be avoided (toxicity). You will want to feed your rabbit over to a healthier pellet mix. 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. 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. The rabbits are left with a whole bowl full of pellets during the day. For this reason, if your male rabbit is starting to form a dewlap under his chin, they are likely becoming overweight or obese. The basic rabbit smells you might encounter. 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. A couple ways to help rabbits gain weight are the following: Increase portion of daily pellets or free-feed if necessary. Rabbits are social creatures and can easily get lonely and depressed. e.g. 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. The first thing to do is check your rabbit’s profile. 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. Some bunnies tend to be very territorial and will attack other rabbits who enter their area. Bread is really not good for bunnies and really should never be fed. If you’re considering breeding your female rabbit, be sure she’s in good health. Obese rabbits put a lot of extra weight on this area, which causes blisters or sores to develop. What is the best way to get these rabbits back up to weight? With the exception of some larger breeds of rabbits, males will not usually form dewlaps. Asked for a longer treatment with meloxicam, and vet says that meloxicam can cause … This can happen with rabbits that are used to eating the soft pellets all day. Fresh Foods. No fat, with a visible spine, hips and ribs that feel sharp when touched. 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? However much your rabbit may beg, for the time being you should stop giving them any special treats. I am here to make sure all of you rabbit lovers have everything you need to care for your fluffy little bundle of joy. When the rabbit refuses to take its food for at least 24 hours, ask for medical assistance right away. You can also find puzzle toys where you hide the food and give your rabbit a chance to find it on their own. If your rabbit is not eating their hay despite having it available, then they might be a picky bunny. Cats that are underweight Cat or have lost weight usually are not receiving enough calories. Decreased appetite is the leading reason for weight loss in bunnies. Free-choice or overfeeding of pellets is one of the primary causes of obesity in rabbits. This makes it a hard task to help obese, elderly rabbits lose their excess weight. link to Caring For a Rabbit Before and After Neuter or Spay Surgery. 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). Not only does this mean that you will have to do a lot of extra work to keep your rabbit’s butt clean. The rabbit will end up sitting in their urine for long periods of time, causing a skin rash and irritation. 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. 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. ANSWER: Weight Gain Diet for Underweight Rabbits Hay. An overweight rabbit will have a rounded butt and chest with sagging folds of fat. Dry Food. Observe their actions when it comes to food. It will look like your rabbit has a double chin. Supplement a higher protein pellet. https://www.petmd.com/rabbit/conditions/digestive/c_rb_cachexia If not, these health issues involve the accumulation of toxins within the body, which affect the vital organs, especially the brain. Weight gain in rabbits can be caused by: Diet and exercise. Because of the many conditions and complications that occur, obesity will often cause a reduced lifespan for pet rabbits. It is a very uncomfortable condition for rabbits, who generally prefer to remain clean. Generally I've advised more pellets and alfafa hay in addition to the timothy hay. The pellets that the rabbit receives on a daily basis should be a plain timothy based mix, no extra fruity pieces! 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. Overweight rabbits may not show any interest in mating and can have a hard time becoming pregnant if mating does occur. Likewise, they might help in preventing hairball issues. Rabbit was improving near end of that treatment, but then the sore hocks deteriorated again. A bumblefoot can be really painful for your pet and challenging to treat. 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. Fat rabbits are often lethargic, and are susceptible to heart, liver, and kidney disease. Parasites are among the most common causes of malnutrition in rabbits. Bunnies are quite easy to keep active and healthy. The same reasons that you shouldn’t feed your healthy rabbit oats and oatmeal are the exact factors that help an underweight rabbit. Beans, cauliflower, cabbage, and potatoes may cause problems and should be avoided. A rabbit savvy vet will also be able to check for any underlying diseases. This is an extremely serious illness, and if not treated as soon as possible may result in liver failure and death. 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. 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. 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. You can give the outside of the cauliflower, broccoli stalk etc as treats. You can give the outside of the cauliflower, broccoli stalk etc as treats. Lesieur-Brooks,J. 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. As rabbits get older they lose muscle mass and may develop arthritis. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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. Before making any changes to your rabbit’s diet, you should consult your rabbit savvy vet for advice. However, the rabbits must be stimulated to consume grass hay, too. Causes of underweight in bunnies Reduced food intake and decreased appetite, often occasioned by a medical condition or such as a dental, cardiovascular, liver, pancreas or kidney disease, arthritis, cancer among others. Even in a large enclosure, a bored rabbit might sit around all day. 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. Being underweight is associated with a range of health risks including bone, skin, … 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. If you have difficulty locating these bones, or cannot feel them at all, your rabbit is overweight or obese. 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. Below are some of the causes of why a rabbit is losing weight: 1. The goal is to help your rabbit steadily lose a little weight at a time until they have reached their ideal weight. Increasing age may also contribute. Usually this occurs as the result of a Urinary Tract Infection, when a rabbit is constantly dribbling a little bit of pee. 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 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. 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. 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. There is a healthy layer of fat, but no bulging areas. When you 2 or more rabbits, the dominant one might guard the foods and prevent the other from eating. The most effective way of increasing your rabbits weight is by adjusting its diet. 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. Obese rabbits can also suffer from sleep apnea. I prefer to get an ex-pen enclosure for my rabbits. ANSWER: Weight Gain Diet for Underweight Rabbits Hay. Overweight rabbits may not show any interest in mating and can have a hard time becoming pregnant if mating does occur. “Body Condition Scoring the Rabbit.”, Praag, Esther van. Another name for Pododermatitis is bumblefoot, and it is caused by obesity due to the sedentary lifestyle of rabbits. In some cases, an aging or ill rabbit might need special dietary plans. If there are 2 or more bunnies, you must be mindful of the possible social problems. A person is considered to be underweight if they have a body mass index (BMI) of under 18.5. In order to do this effectively, you’ll need to find the best weight gain food for your rabbit. When bonding rabbits, you want to make sure you are careful when you introduce the rabbits. Other health issues (s… Long fur can easily cover a healthy rabbit and make them appear to be obese, even when they are not. Some types of hays like timothy and oat hay seem to promote enhanced gastrointestinal motility. In most cases, the obvious signs are: Being attentive to probable weight loss will help you protect your pet against severe problems. You can also help your rabbit lose some weight by encouraging them to be more active and engaged. 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. This will often cause the elderly rabbit to be reluctant to move around. Pollock, Christal DVM. As a rabbit becomes obese, they will start to have a lot of difficulty keeping themselves clean. Hi guys, yet another problem with Mugwumps- feel like I've been spamming this board lately! House Rabbit Society. This article brings you the 3 best rabbit foods for weight gain along with a weight gain guide for your rabbit. link to Why Do Rabbits Breathe Fast and When is it Dangerous? But it’s not always that simple, especially for those bunnies that have long fur coats, hiding their body shapes. Make a fist with your hand and then feel the knuckles. Obese rabbits are also more sedentary, which discourages the movement of food through the digestive system. Do it for certain foods like fresh greens, mustard greens, dandelions, collards, and a teaspoon of sliced turnip, parsnip, and carrot. Moreover, you must pay attention to your pet’s water intake. Sugar or honey – one rabbit owner I know added sugar or honey to her rabbit’s food to get them to gain weight. Eventually the area will begin to bald and lose fur, and it’s possible that an infection can result from the urine scalding. Here are some things to consider before breeding your female rabbit: Underweight or overweight-If she’s overweight, birthing can be difficult. This will be especially noticeable in small and medium sized rabbits, and in rabbits that have a more elegant and arched body shape. 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 same for decreased calorie intake. 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. Even if their diet has changed, a sedentary rabbit in a small cage is likely to have many of the same health problems. Thus keeping the build up of sludge and calcium crystals in the bladder. 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. When giving a treat to your pet, consider providing it only in smaller amounts. In general, the head is not an area of the rabbit that puts on a lot of fat when they gain weight. Surgery is exponentially more difficult to perform on an overweight rabbit. The primary cause of obesity in rabbits, especially pet is poor diet and lack of exercise. Many of those conditions include pain that makes it hard for a rabbit to eat. Increasing the number of processed pellets in the diet for underweight rabbits is not a great idea. Adult rabbits: Adult rabbits sometimes face a big challenge as they reduced activity and perhaps due to painful arthritis can cause lose weight. However, malnutrition in rabbits can occur due to a multitude of reasons. There are many reasons baby rabbits can become underweight, the biggest common factor is obesity. 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. But it can also happen when the rabbit is too fat to clean themselves properly. Also, they must contain 14 to 17 percent protein and fiber of between 12 to 24 percent. There is even potential that they will pass out when experiencing stress, a very dangerous position for a rabbit to be in. My shelter occasionally gets in rabbits that are super thin, sometimes bordering on emaciated. 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). UNDERWEIGHT RABBITS. 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. Underweight rabbits might not handle babies well and eat them because of … Empty the bowl and refill it daily. Some dogs may require more, some less. I use and recommend Oxbow’s Garden Select rabbit food. They may require specific amounts of high-quality pellets and homemade ground-pellet slop. The rabbit may even have layers or rolls of fat. In order to do this effectively, you’ll need to find the best weight gain food for your rabbit. 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