November 28, 2022
signs of old age in Rabbits

10 Signs of Old Age in Rabbits

10 signs of old age in Rabbits – The article will be about a rabbit who gets older, and it will tell you different signs which Rabbits show when they get older. As humans, only Rabbits show various symptoms when they become older. Read the article, and you will find whether your Rabbit is also getting older or not.

Familiar breed – European

People know it very well in other countries as well, except Antarctica. The European rabbits are familiar to the world as wild prey animals. People also keep these rabbits as pets or livestock. These rabbits also affect the cultures and ecologies. It is a source of artistic inspiration, clothing, and companion of everyday lives.

Difference between hares and the Rabbits

Rabbits are altricial animals. Altricial animals are those animal species that are born in an underdeveloped condition. At the same time, a hare is a precocial animal. Precocial animals, when born, are comparatively mature. Rabbits are born hairless and blind, but a hare is born with good vision and hair.


The size of a rabbit depends on the type of breed. Some breeds can grow as big as a small child, and some never grow. These types of species are known as dwarf rabbits. For instance, a pygmy rabbit can grow up to eight inches in length, and these rabbits weigh about one pound. Species can grow big, like a kid grow about twenty inches in length and weigh about 10 lbs.

Population growth and offspring

They are also good at their reproductive habits. A rabbit can breed upto three to four times each year. But the study says that only a few of them live for one year or more. Otherwise, they die before one year.

Before five weeks after the birth of a bunny, the mother takes care of them. After four weeks to five weeks, a bunny can take care of itself. After two or three months, a rabbit can start breeding and start its own family.

Balanced Food habit

A rabbit is a herbivorous animal. The rabbits can only have plant-based food. Rabbit’s proper diet includes hay with some fresh green leafy vegetables. You can give them grasses, broccoli, cruciferous plants, brussels sprouts etc.

Always provide them with enough water to drink. You should also provide them with enough timothy hays to keep their teeth short naturally. Rabbits are animals who love to eat, and if you will not feed them properly. They will eat some toxic things, which can create severe health issues.

Signs of old age in Rabbits

As a rabbit owner, you may think they can live healthy and active like always. But it is not true at all. Rabbits also grow and become old like every other animal. The rabbits can not remain active their whole life. As time passes and the rabbit grows, the activeness will slow down and start sleeping for more time.

Sleeping for more time is only one symptom you will notice in your rabbit when they grow older. Other than these symptoms, the article has a few more symptoms about the signs of old age in Rabbits. If your rabbit is also showing these symptoms, you can assume that they are getting older. The article has a few signs that a rabbit shows when they get old. If your pet is getting older, it will have a gray-colored coat.

Symptoms of getting old in Rabbits

The characters and the symptoms also include eyesight problems, cataracts, sleepiness, hearing impairments, etc. Your rabbit will show some more mobility problems, temperature sensitivity, weight loss, etc. The rabbits will feel trouble in grooming themselves.

They will constantly avoid the use of litter boxes. As rabbits grow day by day, they will also bring several health illnesses and problems such as few respiratory infections or issues, heart diseases, urinary infections, dental issues, kidney problems, etc. An old rabbit can also bring cancer, dementia etc. A rabbit who has got the best care and quality in their life.

There are fewer chances for those rabbits to get some severe issues at an old age. They can feel secure and safe if taken care of at the best level. However, apart from this, each symptom and the sign is unavoidable. It would be best if you did not avoid these symptoms.

If you find any of these symptoms in your rabbit, you should change the lifestyle of your rabbit. You need to adjust the lifestyle of your rabbit for their betterment in their life. When a rabbit starts growing old, the more they depend on you. It would be best to take care of your rabbit as they get old. An old rabbit gets dependent upon you. They can live happily and live a healthy lifestyle only if you take care of them.

Aging chart for Rabbits

Stage of life Rabbit age growth Human growth
Senior 6 years + 60 years +
Middle age 3 years to 5 years 36 years to 60 years
Young adulthood 1 year to 3 years 20 years to 36 years
Teenage 6 months to one year 16 years to 20 years
Adolescence 3 months to 6 months 8 years to 16 years
Infancy 0 month to 3 months 0 years 8 years

Here, you can see that the entire life is relatively shorter than human life. You can compare a rabbit’s life with human life through the above chart. After almost a year, a kitten turns into a fully grown rabbit. Because rabbits have a short life, comparing a rabbit’s life with human life is intricate and complex. After a year, you can quickly compare the age of a rabbit to a human.

Does a Rabbit’s hair become gray with age?

When a rabbit gets older, their hairs start getting gray and white. A rabbit’s hair grows thinner as they grow old, and it will look much coarser than before. They will have gray spotted hairs around their body as they get old.

It is challenging to pick gray hair from a rabbit coat with gray fur in its skin. Search for some other symptom then. If your rabbit also has gray fur from the start. You have to look for other signs to ensure yourself.

Loss of eye sights

This is an another sign of old age in Rabbits. A study by Comparative Medicine says that as rabbits grow old, you will notice the loss in their eyesight. Their eyes will begin to deteriorate. What happens is that it starts developing some ocular problems such as

  1. Blindness
  2. Cataracts
  3. Conjunctivitis
  4. Blocked tear ducts
  5. Glaucoma

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a medical term that experts use when a group of eye conditions damages the optic nerve. Typically, it happens when an individual gets high pressure in their eyes. It is a rare case in rabbits. The rabbits can not have this glaucoma on their own. A rabbit can quickly get ocular-related issues in them.

These ocular issues can cause glaucoma in them. This glaucoma further blocks the tear ducts and conjunctivitis in the rabbit. If you do not treat them, it will lead to blindness in the rabbits. When an individual’s tear ducts get blocked, their eyes get watery.

Excessive tears will roll down from their eyes, further dampening the skin and the fur. The teary eyes can also cause a bacterial infection, making the condition even worse. It leads to hair loss, inflammation and glaucoma in the rabbits. Glaucoma is a slow and steady build-up of pressure in the individual’s eyes.

What is conjunctivitis in Rabbits?

Conjunctivitis is a result of the inflammation of the tissues around the eyes. It makes the eyes watery, which further if neglected, can cause problems in their eyes. It will cause severe problems in the rabbits. In some extreme cases, it also causes blindness in the rabbit. So, please do not neglect these symptoms if you notice these in your rabbit.

Cataract in Rabbits

A cataract is one more disease which a rabbit faces. It happens due to parasitic and bacterial infections. When the rabbit grows old, it can develop cataracts. It can further lead the rabbit to blindness. Rabbits slowly lose their eyesight, and in the end, it causes blindness in the rabbits.

However, it is possible to treat cataracts in rabbits. Several surgeries can make their eyes just like it was before. If somehow a rabbit loses its eyesight. The rabbit learns to adjust with time. They need some time to change themselves with their new problem. The rabbits who lose their eyesight rely on their hearing and smell. So, whenever your rabbit tries to smell you.

Let them do it because it is their way to recognize you. Otherwise, they will get scared of you when you try to get close to them. Please take care of their food and everything. You should place the food and the water near them only. Also, set the litter box in the area where they play. It will make them familiar with everything. They will know where they have to go for their necessity.

Loss of hearing in Rabbits

Rabbits have a meaningful hearing sense. They can even detect those sounds which a human ear can not see. Expert study says that a rabbit can hear upto 270 degrees. They can detect multiple noises that come from miles away. You will notice that your rabbit’s hearing is getting lower day by day. Sometimes the rabbits even become deaf.

Few breeds even get some ear infections and diseases in their later life. The University of London states that a lop-eared rabbit can have more ear infections and problems. It is due to the shape of their skull. A lop-eared rabbit when they start getting old, their ears flopping down.

These rabbits can even suffer from ear infections, ear pain etc. They easily get affected by illnesses and diseases. If you neglect the problems, it can cause permanent hearing loss. To ensure the health of your rabbit, you should take regular checkups.

It would be best always to take your rabbit for regular cleaning to the vet. A routine checkup of your rabbit’s health and ear will keep your rabbit fit and healthy. A regular checkup will keep your rabbits fit and prevent them from getting ear infections or problems.

Hear loss

The adequate hearing will help the rabbits to detect the predators before they reach them. A proper hearing sense will also help them learn and understand the commands and instructions you will give them. Now, you must be thinking, how will you know the problem?

You only have to notice your rabbit frequently. If your rabbit is not reacting to loud voices and strange sounds, they are losing their hearing senses. Suppose if your rabbit is not detecting the noises that are coming. An attentive and alert rabbit flicks their ears in the direction the noise emits, or the noise is coming.

When a rabbit loses their hearing sense, they become distressed, and in this case, you will have to handle your rabbit patiently. The rabbits will need more care and sympathy from you. After they lose their hearing, the rabbits become more aggressive towards the humans. You will have to make them feel more comfortable. When they feel comfortable, it will relax them. Assure them that you are with them and live with them.

How much time is essential to sleep for the Rabbits?

When a rabbit starts growing old, its energy level starts waning. You will notice that your rabbit is sleeping more than before the rabbits used to sleep. They will lose their interest in playing and running around the house. If your rabbits are losing their interest in activities like playing, it means they are growing older.

Losing interest in other activities is a perfect sign that a rabbit is growing old. If you notice these signs in your rabbit, leave them to sleep as much as they want. It would be best if you also made them feel relaxed. There will be times in a day when your rabbit will feel comfortable and energetic.

At this time, you should encourage your rabbit to do some exercises. Encourage the rabbits to play and do some activities when they feel a little energetic, as we know that a rabbit is a crepuscular animal. A crepuscular animal feels active at dawn and dusk. Suppose your rabbit is not playing and doing exercises even when feeling energetic. It means that your rabbit is having mobility issues.

Can Rabbits face mobility problems with their age?

Arthritis is a widespread problem in a rabbit who is growing old. Arthritis is a condition in which there is tenderness and swelling in one or more joints. If we talk about symptoms, their symptoms are joint pain and stiffness.

Rabbits especially have osteoarthritis problems when they grow old. When a rabbit deals with an arthritis problem, they have inflamed joints. It inhibits a rabbit’s movement, and it is also excruciating for the rabbits. Below are some signs and symptoms to recognize the arthritis problem in your rabbit.

  1. You will notice aggression when you try to touch them. The rabbits will refuse your care and touch.
  2. The rabbits will build up wax in their ears.
  3. They will face difficulty in eating cecotropes.
  4. Suppose the rabbits do not give enough time to groom themselves, especially if they are not giving much time licking their bottom part.
  5. They will start losing balance on their back legs.
  6. If they become less active, they do not get involved in playing and exercising.
  7. They will face difficulty in jumping over small objects even.

Strange and stuff gait

It would be best to encourage your rabbit to do exercises and encourage them to do different activities. If they get involved in various activities, they will be fit and fine. When they are less active, the rabbits can gain unnecessary weight. And if the rabbits put on weight, it can cause arthritis in the rabbits as they will pressurize their joints.

Also, a rabbit can get arthritis problems when the rabbit suffers from some joint injury or infection. But be aware that if you do not treat arthritis, it will cause muscle loss in the rabbits after noticing these symptoms.

It would be best to take your rabbit to the vet and give them the necessary treatment. When you take your rabbit to the veterinarian, they will prescribe a few non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs will help your rabbit to take a rest from the joint pain. Also, you can give the rabbits a joint massage which will relieve the pain.

The veterinarian will also give you some instructions for their diet plan. In this case, a rabbit’s diet helps them recover quickly. They will provide you with a few suggestions to adjust your rabbit’s diet plan. A proper diet will help the rabbits to lose weight.

However, the rabbits must have high fiber and low fat in their food diet. Not all rabbits face mobility problems. Even a few of them stay similar at a young age. But still, there is a requirement to watch them regularly for their safety. These regular checkups eliminate the risk of many health concerns. A standard checkup removes the risk of mobility problems in their later life.

Do Rabbits feel difficult to groom when they get old?

We already know that rabbits lick their bodies to make themselves clean. They lick their paws and ears and their entire body to clean themselves. A rabbit does it thoroughly to ensure that they and their surroundings are immaculate. Even to ensure that their surroundings are clean, they eat their poop. Suppose you are noticing that your rabbit is facing difficulty in grooming themselves.

It may be because they have arthritis problems. It would be best if you kept an eye on their bottom area. However, the rabbits themselves are brilliant. They clean their bottoms themselves. But if they do not clean, you should keep checking. The rabbits must stay clean, especially their bottom part, as a clean base eliminates scalding urine problems.

Urine scalding indicates when the urine gets soaked in other parts of the rabbits like their hairs, digestive complications, bladder sludge, etc. Experts say that a rabbit should not take a bath regularly. They can take a bath once every four weeks to five weeks. But it would be best if you cleaned their bottom regularly to avoid health problems.

Also, regularly clean their blankets and the pads they use while sleeping. If your rabbit has arthritis issues, it will not even minor jumps. Arthritis also creates hurdles for the rabbits in using the litter box. A rabbit can not smoothly use a litter box when they have an arthritis problem.

Use of the litter box for the Rabbits who become old

A rabbit who is constantly avoiding using a litter box shows a sign of growing older day by day. An old growing rabbit avoids litter boxes as it may be painful for them. It is a sign that your rabbit is having arthritis problems. You can quickly find a solution for the problem if you take your rabbit to the vet.

The best way is that you can spread pads on the floor. They can avoid using the litter box and feel more comfortable in these absorbing pads. These pads absorb the waste and will make the rabbits feel more comfortable. It will also prevent the rabbit from jumping to high places or obstacles. Also, it is easy to dispose of them. You can easily throw these pads and replace them with new ones.

Weight loss

Weight is one thing that can fluctuate with time. As a rabbit grows, they gain weight. Diet plays a very crucial role in weight. You can change your rabbit’s diet plan as they grow old. Suppose your rabbit is so fatty and has put on weight. It would be best to reduce the intake of heavy things like not giving them pellets etc.

Now, suppose your rabbit is underweight. It would be best to feed them enough pellets even to increase the quantity you gave the rabbit before. If the rabbit is skinny, alfalfa pellets are one of the best foods in a rabbit’s diet. You can feed them with alfalfa pellets till they gain their weight back.

But even after giving these pellets to your rabbit. Suppose your rabbit is not gaining weight or losing weight. It would be best if you visited the veterinarian for further help. It can be a sign and a symptom of some severe health issue. And, it can lead the rabbit to some digestive problems or dental issues.


As we know, rabbits are one of the most sensitive animals. They are sensitive to temperature changes—this temperature sensitivity changes as they grow old. As rabbits grow old, they become even more susceptible to temperature change. The Winter season suits the rabbits. In the winter season, the rabbits eat more to keep their body temperature warm.

They also grow hairs on their body to provide their body more warmth. When winter comes, a rabbit grows a thick layer of fur on its body. In the summer season, they shed their hair from their body to make them feel calm. Excessive heat can make them feel stressed as they can not handle high temperatures.

You should be aware that a rabbit can not sweat. Through panting, the rabbits can make them feel calm. Panting is a quick breath. When a person runs in summer, they breathe quickly to get back to their average temperature. Just like humans, the rabbits do pant to make their bodies cool.

But if you have a rabbit, keep the rabbits at a temperature that suits them. Keeping the rabbits at a hot temperature can even kill them in severe cases. You should provide them with a cool temperature if you want them to feel relaxed and comfortable. Give the rabbits enough water to drink and proper air ventilation when it is hot outside

Health issues

A rabbit will be susceptible to several health problems if the rabbit owner does not care for the rabbit. An owner should not neglect any symptoms or aspects that they see in their rabbit if you ignore the signs and the symptoms that your rabbit is showing. It can create some severe health problems for your rabbit.

Owners who take care of their rabbit. Sometimes owners who take good care of their rabbits cannot find health problems. Such health issues come with some underlying symptoms. Owners cannot find these underlying symptoms because they can not notice them. It is the only reason why some rabbits do not get the appropriate treatment at the moment.

Take your rabbit to the veterinarian for regular checkups. It is essential to take your rabbit for a routine health checkup to prevent them from any underlying health issues. It would be best to take your rabbit to the vet once every two years. Below is a list of a few severe health issues you have to keep an eye check on.

Dental problems

A rabbit’s teeth frequently grow. If you naturally want some solution for stopping the growth of your rabbit’s teeth. You can give your rabbits some timothy hayes to eat. Providing sufficient timothy hayes will prevent your rabbit from growing its teeth. Give them toys and other things.

These timothy hayes and toys will help the rabbits wear down their teeth. Please provide them with these things to make their teeth short for a lifetime. It does not only help the rabbits to wear down their teeth but also helps them prevent painful dental diseases. If you do not provide timothy hayes to your rabbit, they will grow long teeth that are unhygienic as well as can create dental issues.

Otherwise, you have to take your rabbit to a veterinarian, where they will cut their teeth manually. And, you should know that it is excruciating for a rabbit. A Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine study says that a rabbit should take all the regular checkups. It is imperative to take all the necessary checkups to make the rabbits safe from any dental disease.

A dental problem is a widespread disease that a rabbit can have if not taking all the regular checkups. A young rabbit can quickly get the dental disease at an advanced age. In the advanced years, a rabbit’s skull and structure and everything changed with time. Even they can have malocclusion, a state where they feel extreme pain. It hurts, and also they trouble them while eating and while grooming themselves. Below are some symptoms that a rabbit shows when they have dental problems

  1. You will see swelling around their mouth and jaw.
  2. They will produce fewer feces.
  3. The rabbits will constantly drool.
  4. Losing their weight
  5. They will refuse to eat their food.

Final words

The article was about the signs of old age in Rabbits who faces several problems when they get old. As they grow old, they lose their hearing, and aging also causes cataracts and eyesight problems in rabbits. Other than these, the article has all the other symptoms and signs through which you can know that your rabbit is getting older day by day. Fulfill all their requirements as they become more sensitive in their old days. I hope you like the article. Please leave the comments below in the comments section if you like them. Also, if you have any suggestions or queries regarding the article, you can write them down below in the comments section. Hope to hear from you soon.

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Peyton Taylor

Hey readers! My name is Peyton Taylor, and I help others to have a great experience with their pets. Nothing compares to the happiness of having a healthy and affectionate pet. My sole purpose is to assist newbies and experienced pet owners to learn more and more about the behavior and character of their pets.

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