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APPETITE LOSS

Your pet will turn up her nose at food if she's not feeling completely on top of her game. Her hunger strike may be serious or not, but don't wait around to find out - fast action may save your rabbit's life.

Causes

Appetite loss can indicate many illnesses, from an overgrown tooth or facial abscess to a life-threatening condition such as gastrointestinal obstruction or kidney failure. Pain, distress and eating moldy or spoiled foods can also suppress your bunny's appetite. Rabbits who go without water for long periods will eat less or not at all.

When to Call the Veterinarian

A rabbit must eat continuously to support his high metabolism, so don't take a wait-and-see approach if your bunny stops nibbling - call your veterinarian right away.

The doctor will weigh your pet to see if she's lost weight. He will also ask you a series of questions and examine your pet carefully to pinpoint the problem. Depending on the results, your pet may need blood tests and X-rays.

Your veterinarian may recommend syringe-feeding small amounts of canned pumpkin pie filling, soaked pellets, garden vegetable baby food or supplements made specifically for herbivores to get your pal back on her feet.

Hundreds of conditions can cause appetite loss, so remember to be patient. It may take your veterinarian some time to make a diagnosis, but once the underlying problem is remedied, your pet's appetite should return.