Signs of a Sick Rabbit
Diarrhea is not necessarily a problem. If your rabbit seems normal otherwise or if the diarrhea is watery, withhold food for 24 hours. After 24 hours, start feeding small amounts of a bland food. If the diarrhea continues after withholding food or when you resume feeding, have your pet examined by the vet.
Diarrhea is urgent and requires immediate medical attention if your rabbit
Scratching or Licking or Chewing
If your rabbit has mites, fleas, ticks or other parasites, he may scratch or lick the area occasionally or even bite himself. Examine his coat regularly for parasites and treat any fleas or ticks with over-the-counter medications unless the problem appears severe. Consult a veterinarian if there is no improvement.
Scratching, licking or chewing behavior requires immediate medical attention under the following conditions:
Panting, Coughing, Wheezing or Sneezing
If your rabbit coughs or pants occasionally, he may be overheated or overexerted. Try calming him down in a temperate room and watch him carefully for signs of deterioration or distress. Severe or prolonged coughing, wheezing or panting usually indicate a need for immediate medical attention. If your rabbit starts sneezing, it may just be a cold, but if he rubs his nose a lot and there is nasal discharge, call your veterinarian.
These respiratory signs indicate urgent conditions that require immediate medical attention:
Pain, Stiffness or Difficulty Moving
If your rabbit seems stiff or if he is limping, examine him for cuts, warm spots or bruising. If everything else appears normal, keep him confined and observe him for 24 hours for signs of improvement. If you notice red, swollen skin and hair loss on the hind legs, he may have "sore hocks" and will need antibiotic ointment from your veterinarian.
You should get immediate medical attention for your rabbit if he
Rabbits are susceptible to disorders that can result in bowel problems and internal blockages. If your rabbit appears normal but does not pass feces, he may be constipated; for these animals, this usually requires veterinary attention. If there are other behavioral or physical symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Eye and Ear Disorders
If your rabbit has eye or ear problems, you may see some of the following signs:
When your rabbit's front teeth wear improperly, they become misaligned. If his teeth are overly long or if there are jaw problems or mouth infections, ulcers may appear on his lips or tongue and he may have difficulty eating. In this case, your rabbit will need to see the veterinarian for a tooth trimming and treatment.
Your rabbit may develop an infection in the skin around his chin, dewlap and front legs from dipping his head into his water bowl. If you see an infection, take the animal to the vet and have the doctor determine if the animal has a bacterial or fungal infection. One way to avoid the problem is by providing your rabbit with a gravity-feed water bottle instead of a water dish.
Note: Never give Amoxicillin to a rabbit because it can cause a deadly reaction. Your veterinarian will have safe alternatives available.