November 24, 2022
what causes bleeding in rabbits

What causes bleeding in Rabbits? 

Bleeding in rabbits can be a red flag of some fatal disease. Many pet owners are unaware of what causes bleeding in rabbits? There are many reasons that cause blood loss in rabbits. The reasons for blood loss include bleeding in the upper digestive tract, oral cavity, hematuria, anal bleeding, reproductive tract dysfunction, epistaxis, and bleeding after neutering.

Cutting rabbit’s nails too short can also lead to bleeding. Bleeding in rabbis is a critical issue and needs immediate action. The ignorance of blood loss from the bunny’s body can degrade the rabbit’s health leading to anemia. Rabbits don’t confront their disease or discomfort to anyone that makes detection of disease more difficult.

Today’s topic of discussion is what causes bleeding in rabbits? In today’s article, we will discuss the reasons that cause blood loss in rabbits, so without wasting further time, let’s dive into the discussion.

What causes bleeding in Rabbits?

Rabbits tend to hide their disease, due to which early symptoms of a disease are missed by their owners. If you detect traces of blood in the rabbit’s urine or blood spots in the bunny’s litter box, take immediate action as ignorance can lead to further medical complications in the rabbit. Vaginal discharge, blood in rabbit’s urine, stools, etc., are early signs of some dangerous disease that needs immediate attention because untreated blood loss can lead to anemia.

As per the Veterinary record, uncontrolled blood loss leads to anemia in rabbits. Bleeding in rabbits explains that something is off about rabbits’ health. There are many reasons responsible for bleeding in rabbits.

In general, blood loss from a rabbit’s body takes place due to trauma, infection, or chronic health condition. Blood loss can be fatal for your rabbit if not treated on time. Rabbits are good at hiding disease, so you need to sense behavioral changes in them. If you suspect something unusual about your rabbit’s behavior, go and check the litter box. Always look for traces of blood or blood stains in your rabbit’s litter box while cleaning the litter tray.

Hematuria (Blood in Urine)

When there are traces of blood in your rabbit’s urine, it is clinically called Hematuria. One notable thing about blood in rabbits’ urine is that red urine doesn’t mean blood. I have also told about this in my previous articles. Redness in rabbits’ urine is the pigmentation of rabbits’ bladder. Pigmentation in a rabbit’s bladder occurs due to dietary changes. In reality, blood in the bunny’s urine can’t be seen with naked eyes.

Fruits like beet groot, spinach, and carrots can lead to pigmentation in the bladder. Sometimes antibiotics or other medicines also lead to the pigmented bladder. Change in the diet of rabbits is the ultimate solution to pigmentation in rabbits’ bladders.

Many rabbit owners confuse hematuria with blood coming from the reproductive tract of a female rabbit. The majority of people consider blood in urine as the Urinary Tract Infection. So the question is, ‘What is the ultimate reason for hematuria (blood in urine)?’

As per the Journal published by Nature, hematuria is a very rare condition in rabbits. True hematuria is diagnosed by taking a sample of urine, and true hematuria that comes with a stream of urine is quite rare.

Signs of hematuria

Signs and symptoms of hematuria include the following: –

  • Difficulty and discomfort while urinating
  • Lump or tumor
  • Pain or palpation in Abdomen
  • Enlarged bladder
  • Weakness\ lethargy \ inactivity
  • Perineal dermatitis
  • Distended abdomen
  • Anorexia
  • Frequent bruises due to excessive clotting

Remember that Hematuria is not a disease but a symptom in itself. It’s an alarm that something is wrong in your rabbit’s urinary tract and indicates disease in urinary organs. If you find any symptom in your rabbit, immediately rust to your vet and try to find the cause by tests. Inform your vet about all the symptoms and the time duration your bunny is likely to suffer. Don’t try to treat this with home remedies or internet solutions, as this can be life-threatening for your rabbit.

Non-Urinary causes associated with Rabbit’s bleeding

Blood in rabbits’ urine is not necessarily because of the urinary bladder or other urinary organs, especially in female rabbits. Female rabbit’s urethra opens along with the vaginal wall, due to which certain material in the vagina mixes up with the urine. Following are the Non- Urinary causes of bleeding: –

Endometrial Venous Aneurysm

It is a situation that develops when fluid develops in the vein in the uterine lining. Due to the fluid rabbit suffers from extreme pain and discomfort. It’s a curable disease and can be cured by giving treatment of hysterectomy. As stated by the Exotic Pets journal Endometrial Venous Aneurysm is only found in rabbits.

Dysfunction of the reproductive tract

This is the most common reason behind the hematuria in intact female rabbits. Dysfunction of the reproductive tract occurs because of enlargement of the uterine tissue and tumors called adenocarcinoma. To prevent it, the rabbits should be sterilized.

Uterine Adenocarcinoma

It’s a kind of tumor that appears on the uterus. The cancerous lesion causes blood in urine, and as per the global Veterinaria, the tumor seldom metastasizes. Treatment of Uterine Adenocarcinoma is similar to the endometrial venous aneurysm.

If you found something off about your rabbit or notice something unusual in the rabbit’s urine, take your rabbit’s urine sample to the vet. The vet may recommend laboratory tests like dipstick tests and urinalysis.

Epistaxis (bleeding from the nose)

Epistaxis is an emergency situation that needs immediate treatment. Bleeding from the nose is medically called epistaxis. The bleeding from the rabbit’s nose can only happen once or may become frequent, but both cases are very rare and demand immediate attention; otherwise, they can be fatal. Ignorance to epistaxis can lead to hypotension, hypoxia, aspiration, and other life-threatening cardiovascular complications in rabbits.

Symptoms of this disease include

If the bleeding from the nose is followed up by the following symptoms, you need to immediately rush to the hospital.

  • Nasal discharge
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tear discharge from eyes in an excessive amount
  • Sneezing
  • Production of saliva in an excessive amount
  • Blood in urines and stools
  • Black stools
  • Bloodstain in front paws of bunny

Rabbits clean the nasal discharge from the front paws that cause bloodstains in the front paws of rabbits.

What if epistaxis is left untreated?

First of all, epistaxis is a non-infectious disease, so don’t confuse it with respiratory infections. However, it’s a non-infectious disease but can have hazardous implications if left untreated. Complications of this disease include sneezing, respiratory and circulatory system dysfunctions. One of the major complications of epistaxis includes digestive disorders that happen due to swallowing large amounts of blood. Besides this, untreated epistaxis can also lead to anemia.

What causes Epistaxis?

Rabbits with a weak immune system are prone to epistaxis. Apart from this, rabbits living in unhygienic conditions are more likely to develop this disease. Other than this, there are more reasons associated with epistaxis, and they are as follows: –

  • Bacterial and fungal infection
  • Blood clotting disorders in rabbit
  • The foreign body inside the rabbit’s nose
  • Tooth root abscess
  • Teeth injury

Diagnosis of epistaxis

Epistaxis can be diagnosed by physical examination and some other laboratory tests. The vet may take a blood sample of your bunny for blood count and chemical blood profile. The vet may ask your rabbit’s x-ray of cheekbones and skull to see the growth, tumors, and injuries. For signs of Malignancy and respiratory system involvement, your vet may suggest you get an x-ray of the rabbit’s chest. The vet may also prescribe fluid and blood samples for fungal and bacterial infections.

According to the report, your vet will further prescribe tests such as MRI and CT scans to growth lesions. Depending on the report of MRI and CT, the doctor will move further with the treatment. The vet may recommend performing a biopsy on the rabbit’s nasal tissues or retrieving samples for bone marrow assessments.

Available treatments for Epistaxis

The disease is always treated on the basis of symptoms, so the vet will first treat the symptoms. Depending on the symptoms of your bunny, the vet will prescribe you the medicines and antibiotics in case of infection. To find the root cause of the problem, the vet will write some tests. The report of the tests will determine the further treatment.

Follow-up routine for Epistaxis

The vet will call you for regular follow-up and will re-examine your bunny to estimate the blood clotting time and avoid recurrence. For reassuring the good health of your bunny, you need to keenly observe your bunny and look for the symptoms of epistaxis. Keep the surrounding of your bunny clean and infection-free. Always keep a strict watch on your bunny’s activities and avoid any injury that leads to blood loss.

Once your rabbit’s health is back to normal, you should be very particular about hygiene and blood loss from your bunny’s body. Any injury causing further blood loss can lead to anemia in your rabbit.


Melena in rabbits is a very rare condition that develops due to bleeding in the digestive tract, oral cavity, and upper respiratory tract of rabbits. The stools of your rabbit may become green-black or tarry in color because of digested blood. The general cause behind the disease is the swallowing of blood by rabbits. And if your rabbit is stressed, consumes a carbohydrates-rich diet, has low fiber in the diet, and unmonitored chewing, then your rabbit is more prone to Melena. This is a dietary malfunction and results due to an unregulated diet.

What causes Melena in Rabbits?

There are many reasons that lead to Melena in rabbits, but the most common is digested blood. Other than this, the causes of Melena include the following causes: –

  • Bacterial infection
  • Swallowing of blood through nasal, sinus, or oropharyngeal lesions
  • Reaction to medicines
  • Gastric tumor
  • Metabolic disorders of liver and kidney
  • Gastric ulcers due to stress
  • Clotting disorders and uncontrolled bleeding
  • Kidney and liver diseases
  • Foreign objects in the digestive tract
  • Obstruction from tumors

Symptoms of Melena

The primary symptom of Melena is green-black stool followed by the below-given symptoms:-

  • Dehydration in bunny
  • Teeth grinding
  • Diarrhea or loss of the texture of stools
  • Anorexia or weight loss
  • Pale mucous tissues
  • Severe hair loss and unhealthy coat
  • Fecal staining around the anus of rabbit
  • Stomach ulcers due to stress
  • Abdominal distension

How to diagnose Melena?

To find out, Melena, the vet needs to perform a certain test on your rabbit. If you observe changes in texture and consistency of your rabbit’s feces, take the bunny to the vet as it’s a sign of Melena. The vet may ask you for urinalysis, complete blood count, chemical blood profile of your rabbit, and examination of your rabbit’s feces.

Because the bleeding is internal so the report will show anemia, and your vet may ask you for the abdomen’s x-ray of your bunny to check traces of the foreign body, mass or fluid accumulation, and intestinal obstruction.

To examine and confirm the thickening of the intestinal wall, the vet will recommend you to do abdominal ultrasonography of your rabbit. If there’s any foreign object, then the object will be removed out through surgery.

How to treat Melena?

The treatment depends on the nature of the disease found in the reports. If the vet suspects a tumor in your bunny, then laparotomy is the preferred treatment. Laparotomy will include an incision in the abdominal wall through which your vet will collect the sample for biopsy to confirm if the tumor is malignant.

Other than this, the treatment includes 24 hours observation of rabbits in the hospital. During hospitalization, the vet administers fluid therapy, electrolyte, medicines, and antibiotics in case of bacterial or fungal infection.

Homecare treatment require to bunny while suffering from Melena

Dehydration and lack of fibrous vegetables are some of the causes of Melena, so make sure to feed ample water and veggie juice or watery green vegetables. Feedlots of green stuff like carrot tops, collard greens, parsley, romaine lettuce, collard greens, spinach, and other moisturized green hay.

Melena will affect the diet of your bunny, so make sure to give nutritional food that adds nutritious value and maintains the weight of your rabbit. in case your bunny stops eating food at all, force-feed your bunny with a syringe. You can also use the method of tube food and regulate the diet of the bunny.

As I said above, provide ample fibrous and green vegetables. Ensure to remove high-carbohydrates and rich fat supplements from your rabbit’s diet. If your rabbit wants to eat high-carb and high-fat supplement food, then consult your vet.

Besides this, if your rabbit has diarrhea, then avoid feeding leafy green veggies because it will make diarrhea worse. Be in touch with your rabbit’s vet and make all the dietary changes after the consultation of your rabbit. Every rabbit is different therefore shows different symptoms, so don’t rely on internet remedies or suggestions because they can be fatal for your rabbit.

Viral Hemorrhagic Disease

Viral Hemorrhagic Disease is also known as rabbit hemorrhagic (RHD) disease is a highly contagious viral disease that can be life-threatening for your rabbit. RHD is a sudden disease generally found in Oryctolagus cuniculus species (domestic and wild European rabbits).

The disease often leads to blood loss from the nose or blood spots in the eyes. RHD is a viral disease that shows symptoms in one to five days after the bunny gets infected by this disease. It’s a sudden disease that can lead to the sudden death of a rabbit after showing symptoms, or may be your rabbit doesn’t show symptoms at all.

How does RHD spread?

The disease is clinically called rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) or rabbit calicivirus (RCV) and is highly contagious in Nature. a new variant of RHDV2 is found in France. A healthy rabbit can get infected by RHD in getting contact with an infected rabbit. The virus can spread by coming in direct contact with urine, runny nose, saliva, blood, fur, manure, and the corpse of an infected rabbit.

A healthy rabbit can also get infected by the virus through indirect contact. Belongings of infected rabbits such as bedding, cage, food, and water can be the indirect source of infection. In many countries, the virus is used to control the population of rabbits as it affects only rabbits.

How to diagnose RHD in Rabbits?

The sudden and unexplained demise of a rabbit without any symptom of illness can be due to RHD. In general, the disease shows symptoms after one of five days of getting the infection. Even in some rabbits, the disease doesn’t show any symptoms and directly leads to death. So some rabbits don’t even get a chance of diagnosis and treatment. But if your rabbit has come in contact with another rabbit and suddenly gets ill, immediately rush to the vet because there is a chance of involvement this disease in your rabbits’ sudden illness.

Diagnosis of this virus includes laboratory tests like reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), western blotting, negative staining, immunoelectron microscopy, and ELISA can also be tested by examining samples of blood, liver, spleen, and other organs. Talking about the treatment of RHD, there is no treatment for this virus.

Symptoms of RHD

General symptoms of RHD include the following: –

  • Fever
  • Appetite loss in bunny
  • Blood spots in rabbit’s eyes
  • Groaning
  • Bloody discharge from rabbit’s nose
  • Depression
  • Neurological signs (paddling of legs, seizures, paralysis, and the inability of difficulty in walking)
  • Jaundice
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating in rabbit’s abdomen

Untreated RHD can lead to liver disease in rabbits making the disease more chronic and fatal.

How to prevent RHD?

The only best way to prevent RHD is good biosecurity. Forgiving good biosecurity to rabbits, you should always quarantine new rabbits. Try to isolate the belongings of the new rabbit, and both owner and other rabbis in the place should avoid contact with wild rabbits. Always wash your hands, cages, and clothing and equipment while handling different rabbits other than your pet rabbit.

There are plenty of vaccines available in the UK used to create a guard against RHD in rabbits. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine licensed for general use in Canada, but in special situations, the vaccine can be availed by a special process through CFIA.

Anal bleeding in rabbits

Abnormalities in the anal region or bottom warrants of your bunny need immediate attention and a clinical check-up by the vet. Abnormalities in rabbits anal may include bleeding or growth in the anal region or lower warrant of rabbit. Bleeding is not normal in rabbits, and if you notice blood staining rabbit’s litter box or notice mass protruding from the end of the rabbit’s back and blood spots on the floor. Anal bleeding can be a symptom of several diseases, so keenly observe behavioral changes in your rabbit and consult to vet if you suspect anything unusual. Bleeding from a rabbit’s anus can be a symptom of the following disease: –

Anal Polyps

Anal Polyps leads to overgrowth of the mucous membrane in the rectum sticks through canal opening. This is one of the most commonly found diseases in rabbits. The symptoms of anal polyps include anal bleeding and can appear pink, brown, and red because of inflammation or changes in anal and rectal tissues. Generally, Polyps are benign, but sometimes they grow to a large extent leading to blockage in the rectum.

Anal polyps can be treated by surgery only. If there are more than one polyp, it will cause discomfort to the rabbit in defecating and the feces will come out in between them. Surgical removal of polyps is the only option available to the problem of anal polyps. If your bunny doesn’t have any pain and blockage then it would be best to carefully monitor your bunny.


Hemorrhoid is the blood filled inflamed vein in the anus or rectum. Polyp and hemorrhoids are very difficult to differentiate, but the major between the two is polyp is build of solid matter while hemorrhoid is the blood filled vein. They occur due to excess pressure on the vein. This is a very rare disease in rabbits and is small. The only way to treat hemorrhoids is using topical anti-inflammatory medicines. Hemorrhoids usually resolve themselves and don’t block anus by swelling. They need a surgery in case they become huge.


Papillomas are a tiny skin tumor that resembles like a cauliflower. They look often benign and can cause anal bleeding. They usually develop at the rectoanal junction and protrude from the anus. They can get crusty and ulcerated. Sometimes they can grow large thus blocking anus. Color of papillomas is usually pink or white.

This disease is very rare in pet rabbits and are occasionally found in wild cotton ball rabbits. The ultimate cause of the disease is shope papillomavirus. The only solution of this disease is surgical removal of the tumor.


Treponema cuniculi bacterium is responsible for syphilis and leads to lesions. The lesions formed by syphilis have a similar appearance to papillomas. The lesions formed due to syphilis target inflamed areas of tissue around the mucocutaneous junction of anal opening and on lips, eyes, nose, urogenital regions. At the initial stage, lesions may appear crusty and raised, but with the severity of the disease, they develop into large papillary nodules. Those large papillary nodules can bleed and ulcerate.

Bleeding due to neutering

Bleeding after neutering is a very rare case that happens due to filling of leftover scrotal sac with blood. Generally male rabbits get back to normal after neutering. The scrotum becomes large and purple due to blood. Bleeding after neutering is not an indication of hidden disease. Due to incomplete cauterization of vessels, blood leaks into the scrotal sacs.

As far as there is no external bleeding, the vet will recommend you to use ice pack for relieving your bunny. After spaying, you should check your rabbit’s stitches on a regular basis to see if they are pulled out by the bunny. In case you notice anything unusual with the stitches or external bleeding take your bunny to the vet immediately.

Bleeding due to nail cutting

When you cut the rabbits nails too short or cut the Quick vein in the claw, it will lead to intensive pain and bleeding. You should be very careful and cautious while trimming the nails of your rabbits as it’s a very sensitive region. Cutting rabbits nails are very important; otherwise the pet will dig and wear down its claws in the home. Besides this long nails can curl up inside the rabbits’ feet giving discomfort to your rabbit. To treat a bleeding nail you can use a styptic powder or consult to your vet for the solution.

Final words

Rabbits are master in hiding disease that’s why it gets very difficult to trace disease in rabbits. Urine and feces explain a lot about the health of internal organs of rabbits. If you suspect your rabbit of any disease inspect feces and urine along with this also observe the behavioral changes of your bunny.

That was all about, “What causes bleeding in rabbits?” all your doubts have would have been solved if you had read the article carefully still in case you have any concern and query feel free to ask in the comments. For more articles like this do subscribe to the website and don’t forget to drop your feedback in the comment section for further improvement. And for more rabbit-related tips visit the website.

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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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