November 28, 2022
what causes weight loss in rabbits

What causes weight loss in Rabbits?

Weight loss in rabbits is an indicator of your rabbit’s dietary mess or declining health. Sudden weight loss in rabbits can have dangerous implications, so in today’s article, we will discuss what causes weight loss in rabbits? Rabbits are more prone to weight gain and obesity, but if your bunny has a sudden weight loss, many factors are responsible for it. Weight loss in rabbits can exhibit their declining health, or maybe your rabbit is losing weight due to appetite loss.

Today’s blog post will discuss what causes weight loss in rabbits, the symptoms that your rabbit is underweight, the correct method of weighing a rabbit, and many more interesting facts about weight loss in rabbits. So without wasting further time, let’s dive into the discussion.

Why do Rabbits lose weight?

Rabbits lose weight because of several reasons. In general, pet rabbits are more prone to obesity. But if your rabbit starts losing weight suddenly, then your rabbit is not eating sufficient food as per requirement. Appetite loss in rabbits can lead to sudden weight loss, and dietary malfunction can also lead to weight loss in your bunny. The disease leads to loss of appetite in rabbits, so if your rabbit is suffering from any gastrointestinal, oral, parasites, fever, head tilt, or any other disease, the poor fellow is most likely to have appetite loss, ultimately causing weight loss in rabbits.

There are many reasons responsible for weight loss in rabbits, and we will discuss all of them below. How will you know that your rabbit has weight loss? If your rabbit is becoming lethargic, has a fever, has a problem balancing, is stressed, anxious, depressed, or has any other health-related problem, the poor fellow is most likely to lose weight. Maybe a big portion of rabbits’ diet consists of low-calorie food. Your rabbit will regain a healthy weight with the correct care and nutritious diet.

What causes weight loss in Rabbits?

To regain the healthy weight of your bunny, firstly, you need to find the reasons why the rabbit is losing weight? Here are some possible reasons behind a rabbit’s weight loss.

Dietary malfunction

It is one of the major reasons behind a rabbit’s weight loss. Feeding the wrong food or low- calorie diet can make your bunny underweight. If you have made some recent changes in your bunny’s diet, then excessive weight loss of your rabbit is a clear indication that changes are not good for your bunny. Consider adding high-calorie food to your rabbit’s diet and neutralize the recently made changes in your rabbit’s diet.

Stress, depression, and anxiety

Similar to humans, rabbits also suffer from stress and depression. Rabbits are social animals and need bonding partners for constant entertainment. Housing a single rabbit can cause depression in the rabbit. If you have children in the house or any other animal in the house, they may be the reason for your bunny’s stress. A stressed rabbit will show disinterest in food, ultimately leading to weight loss.

Hidden disease

The other reason that causes weight loss in rabbits is a hidden disease. Remember that weight loss is not a disease in itself; it’s a symptom of some underlying hidden disease. So if your rabbit’s weight loss follows lethargy, appetite loss, unusual behavior of bunny, or symptoms of some other disease, you should visit your vet for a full-body examination.


If you have recently adopted a rabbit, then the reason associated with your rabbit’s being underweight is that your bunny never reached its ideal weight. Many rabbits don’t get sufficient nutrition and food in the early stage of life that causes weight loss. So you can fix your rabbit’s weight by giving adequate nutritious food in your bunny’s diet.


Parasites are stealers who effectively steal nutrition from rabbits’ blood. So in case, your bunny has a sudden weight loss, there are chances that your rabbit has parasites; that’s why the rabbit is not achieving the ideal weight even after being given a healthy and nutritious diet.

Dominating bonding partner

Suppose the bonding partner of your rabbit is very dominating and doesn’t allow the poor fellow to eat properly. Larger rabbits need more food as compared to other rabbits, so if you have a big bunny, then the large bunny is more likely to eat the poor fellows’ share of food. In this case, you should ensure that both bunnies are getting enough food.

Finding the root cause of weight loss will automatically resolve the half problem. All you have to do is treat the underlying cause of weight loss. If the weight loss is due to health issues, it would be best to consult a vet and stick to the prescribed treatment.

How to know if your Rabbit has weight loss?

Rabbits are prey animals that tend to hide a disease until it reaches its severe stage. However, weight loss in rabbits can be detected by constantly monitoring the bunny’s weight. Rabbits are playful animals; they need a lot of physical stimulation, making them slim. Bunnies are naturally meant to be slim, but if your rabbit is getting skinny, then it’s concerning.

So before making any significant dietary changes in your rabbits’ diet, you should ensure that your bunny is underweight, so here are some symptoms that tell your rabbit is underweight: –

  • When a rabbit suffers from weight loss, its pelvis, backbones, and ribs become prominent. The rabbit becomes too skinny that their bones.
  • The abdomen of a skinny rabbit becomes caved in, and they look malnourished. Ideally, the abdomen of a healthy rabbit should feel smooth, and there should not be any difference in the last rib bone and stomach of a rabbit.
  • Lethargy is another symptom of weight loss. Rabbit needs energy for playing and staying active, but a malnourished or underweight rabbit will remain inactive most of the time because of a lack of energy. When rabbits don’t consume enough food, the poor fellow will feel low and lethargic and remain inactive to prevent energy loss.
  • Furs of rabbits tell a lot about the health of rabbits. The coat and furs of a healthy rabbit should be silky, shiny, and smooth. In contrast, an underweight rabbit will have a dull coat. The dull coat of a rabbit is an indication that the bunny isn’t getting enough nutrition.
  • The rabbit may also grind its teeth or show lay hunched to show its pain. Starvation causes pain, especially when foodies like rabbits do not eat properly.

What is the connection between Rabbit weight loss and balance?

Torticollis or head tilt is caused due to parasites or bacterial infection in the inner ear of rabbits. Head tilt causes a balancing problem. When a rabbit has an inner ear infection, the poor fellow is likely to suffer from balancing issues as balance organs are located there. So the infection present in the inner ear will indirectly affect the balance of the rabbit. In a head tilt, a rabbit’s head is roughly tilted to one side at an angle of 90 degrees.

Head tilt indirectly affects the appetite of a rabbit. Because the balance of the bunny is impaired, the rabbit loses interest in food leading to weight loss. Head tilt in rabbits is a great cause of concern because it causes weight loss, and untreated inner ear infections can cause permanent hearing loss.

What causes weight loss in old Rabbits?

Weight loss in old rabbits is an unavoidable part of aging. The rabbit is likely to lose weight with increasing age due to many factors. A rabbit will either gain or lose weight while aging. With the developing age, a rabbit loses its muscles flexibility and remains inactive most of the time. The reason associated with the inactivity of a rabbit can be a disease or aging effects.

The rabbits may get ulcers or another oral disease with aging that causes pain while chewing and swallowing food becomes difficult. Besides this, a rabbit will naturally lose interest in food due to aging. Appetite loss is very common in old rabbits that cause weight loss.

Why does my Rabbit lose weight during molting?

Loss of appetite during molting season is a cause of concern. Molting season is the arrival of spring. During molting, the rabbits shed their furs heavily. During molting, rabbits can accidentally ingest their hair. The ingested hairs can take up space in their bowls that cause changes in the consistency of the feces. Ingestion of hairs can cause difficulty in defecating.

Ingested hairs can affect digestion, thus affecting the rabbit’s appetite. That’s why rabbits show less interest in food during molting time. If your rabbit has ingested hairs, the poor fellow won’t eat anything; they will show disinterest in food even when offered their favorite foods. To avoid such a situation, you should groom your bunny more frequently. Remove all the loose furs while brushing to avoid ingestion of hairs.

If your rabbit isn’t eating during molting, you need to be extra careful about the diet. Try to feed your rabbit’s favorite veggies and vegetables, and make sure that your rabbit is drinking plenty of water.

Why my Rabbit looks small in summer – Is it weight loss or what?

Firstly get this thing straight into your head that rabbits maintain the same weight throughout the year, and the weight of a rabbit never fluctuates in a particular season. If your rabbit is losing weight, it’s a cause of concern. Because rabbits lose weight when they don’t eat enough food due to a disease or any other reason.

Your bunny looks small in summers because with winter’s arrival, the rabbits grow many furs to survive the chilly breezes of winter. Rabbits shed a lot of furs during molting before the arrival of summers. Furs can cause discomfort in rabbits during summers making their survival difficult in hot temperatures. Due to the loss of many furs, rabbits look small in summers.

Furs don’t add to the weight of rabbits, so when they grow or shed furs, they don’t gain or lose weight. So if you think your rabbit loses weight in summer, you are wrong; no, it’s just an illusion the bunny isn’t losing weight but is losing furs.

The correct method of weighing Rabbits

To prevent obesity or severe weight loss, you should regularly check your bunny’s weight. You can use the kitchen scales for weighing your bunny. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to check the rabbit’s weight is using scales. For measuring your bunny’s weight on the scale, you need to get the bunny to sit still for a minute. Put your bunny in a bowl and weigh your bunny.

Yes, it’s that easy. Weighing a rabbit isn’t rocket science; you need to know the correct technique, and you are all set to weigh your bunny. If your bunny doesn’t sit still, you can use the other method that suggests weighing rabbit in the carrier. For this method, firstly weigh the carrier, keep your bunny inside, and reduce the weight of the carrier from the total weight.

How to regain the healthy weight of my Bunny?

If your rabbit is underweight, you should regulate his diet and make necessary changes in the bunny’s diet. In general, 80 to 85 percent of a rabbit’s diet should be consist of hay. Feed more veggies to your bunny, and yes, give more and more treats to your fluffy furry friend. Putting your bunny on a calorie surplus diet will also help you gain weight. Weight loss, lethargy, appetite loss can be symptoms of some hidden disease, so if you suspect your bunny of some disease, you should get your rabbit checked by the vet.


Your vet is the best person to guide you on regaining the weight of your underweight rabbit. As human individuals, every rabbit is unique and may need a different diet or additional dietary requirements. So it would be best to consult your vet before making any prominent, or I would say even a slight change in your rabbit’s diet or lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Que. Why is my rabbit losing weight and drinking lots of water?

Ans.The general reason behind the increased water intake of your rabbit is polydipsia. Polydipsia is a symptom of kidney failure in which the rabbit drinks more water than usual. The symptom of polydipsia is as follows: –

  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fewer droppings due to slow working of the digestive system
  • Heart problems
  • Lethargy

If your rabbit shows any of the above-given symptoms, you need to rush to the vet. Weight loss is curable by making dietary changes, but kidney disease needs proper clinical treatment. Ignoring symptoms of diseases like kidney failure can be fatal for your rabbit and need immediate attention.

Que. Why is my rabbit behaving lethargic and having weight loss?

Ans. There are several reasons behind your rabbit’s lethargic behavior. The primary reasons for rabbits’ lethargy are not eating enough food or other hidden disease or injury. By not eating food, rabbits will ultimately have energy loss resulting in lethargy. Not eating enough food will not only lead to weight loss but will also cause inactivity.

Besides this, lethargy coupled with appetite loss or weight loss can be the symptom of some hidden disease. Kidney disease, parasites, infection, fever, or other diseases can have symptoms of lethargy and appetite loss. Rabbits are very energetic, and lethargy is unusual for them; if your bunny is behaving lethargic, it can be the symptom of some hidden disease.

Lastly, if your rabbit’s inactivity and appetite loss follow dragging of legs, there are chances the bunny has a spinal injury or paralysis. By gently and carefully brushing your hand on the rabbit’s back, you can easily find the break. The rabbit can have a hidden injury due to shock or by playing, so if you notice anything unusual in your bunny’s behavior, it would be best to consult with your rabbits’ vet.

Que. Can my rabbit suffer constipation?

Ans. Yes, your rabbit can suffer from constipation due to dietary malfunction. When you don’t feed an appropriate diet to your bunny, the poor fellow is most likely to get constipated. Constipation is more likely to happen in molting time, i.e., summers when your rabbit ingests its furs. The furs make the feces hard, due to which rabbit feels discomfort in defecating.

Or the other reason associated with your rabbit’s constipation is gut stasis. It’s a situation where the digestive system slows down or stops working all of a sudden. In gut stasis, the constant wave-like movements of the intestine stop causing trouble in passing food along the digestive tract of rabbits, and it results in inability or difficulty passing the feces. Incorrect diet, dehydration, or lack of physical stimulation can cause stasis.

Final words

Rabbits are meant to be slim, not skinny, so if you observe severe weight loss in your rabbit, you should observe his activities and regulate his diet. If you found the reason behind the weight loss is other than diet malfunction, you should seek help from your vet. Almost every disease causes appetite loss, especially if the disease is related to the digestive system, so if you feel severe weight loss or appetite loss in your rabbit, you should go to the vet and get the prescribed tests done.

Rabbits are a pro at hiding their disease, so being a rabbit owner, you should be a pro at observing the activities of your rabbit. Diagnosis of disease at an early stage can prevent further damage and promote fast recovery, so you should be very careful about your bunny’s health.

That was all about “What causes weight loss in rabbis?” for more rabbit-related articles like this, subscribe to the website. If you have any concerns, ask them in the comment section. And don’t forget to give your valuable feedback in the comment section for further improvement. If you want to know more about rabbits or want more care tips for rabbits, visit the website and read other articles. I wish you happy reading.

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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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