Why Is My Rabbit Losing Weight? 4 Reasons Why

Why Is My Rabbit Losing Weight

When your pet rabbit starts to lose weight, you’ll probably start getting worried. A rabbit that is losing weight is not normal and could lead to bigger problems if it’s not taken care of soon. There are many different reasons for a rabbit to lose weight.

The most common reason is the loss of appetite. A rabbit that eats less will not have enough calories to support their daily activities. Therefore, their body will start to use up the fat reserves which causes them to lose weight.

Guinea Pig Eating

There are other reasons and below are more in-depth for each reason why a rabbit is losing weight.

Why Is My Rabbit Losing Weight?

When it comes to your pet rabbit losing weight, there are many different reasons. Some of the causes could be parasites, an infection, or even cancer.

Sometimes, they could lose weight naturally due to getting older. Rabbits tend to lose a lot of their body masses as they get older, even if they eat the same amount of food as before.

It’s important to know why your rabbit is losing weight to prevent the issue from getting bigger. As in the cause of a parasite or infection, not treating them soon enough will eventually lead to death for your rabbit.

Is My Rabbit Skinny?

To see if your pet rabbit is too skinny is by checking their ribs. The ribs should not be showing at all. If it is, that means the rabbit is too skinny.

To determine that is to simply look at their ribcage when they are still. Sometimes, you will need to gently pull their fur around their ribcage to see it.

When pulling on their fur, you can see their ribcages similar to those of your knuckles of your hand, they are underweight.

Another way to check is to gently glide your fingers down their ribcages. If they are at their normal weight, you won’t be able to feel too much of their ribcages.

On the other hand, if you can feel their ribcages, that means they are underweight.

Below are some of the causes of why a rabbit is losing weight:

1. Rabbits Losing Weight Due To Digestive Issues

If your pet rabbit is losing weight and they have diarrhea or their poop seems small and oblong, they may be experiencing digestive issues.

Direahhea is usually caused by the food they eat. It may be too high in carbohydrates or there’s not enough fiber in their diet. By simply adjusting their diet, their stool will return to normal.

Another reason for diarrhea is from a virus in their digestive system. If your pet rabbit is left to roam the backyard often, they may ingest parasites by eating grass, flowers, and other plants found outdoors. If you suspect this is the case, it’s recommended to bring your rabbit to the veterinary for further investigation.

As for the poop, there are two different types of rabbit poop. Normal rabbit poop has the appearance of being round, dry, and crumbly.

The other type of poop is called cecotrope pellets. This poop is smaller and oblong in shape.

Cecotrope Pellets

In addition to their regular poop, rabbits will also poop cecotrope pellets. These are not round like their regular poop is and will usually stick to each other.

Rabbits need to redigest these cecotrope pellets for added nutrition. Besides rabbits, other animals like beavers, capybaras, and guinea pigs also practice reingestion.

The process starts with normal food. As they eat the food, it gets passed through their digestive system. Some of the nutrition from the food is not absorbed by the rabbit’s body and gets pooped out, which is the cecotrope pellets.

The rabbit will eat their poop again so that their body can absorb the nutrition that was missed the first time. Rabbits are smart creatures and able to tell the difference between their regular poop and the cecotrope pellets.

If your pet rabbit is not eating their cecotrope pellets, that will be a problem for them. Rabbits will not eat it if their food has too much protein in them.

2. Rabbits Losing Weight Due Dental Issues

Sometimes, the rabbit may experience dental disease. This will make them eat less which will result in weight loss.

Check their mouth for any soreness, swelling around the jaws, or abscesses around the teeth. It may be possible they have overgrown incisors or molars. All of this will cause discomfort for them every time they eat.

Rabbits that have dental issues are known to become aggressive if you try to open up their mouth. If you suspect they do and they become aggressive when you do, it’s best to take them to see the veterinarian. Never try to force open their mouth or they could cause serious injury to your fingers and hands.

rabbit losing weight

3. Rabbits Losing Weight From Stress

Stress is a big factor in the rabbit’s life, which could cause them to lose weight.

Stress could be from many things around them. One of them is other pets in the house. If you have a dog or a cat in the house, these pets may be causing the rabbit to becomes stressed. Dogs and cats are curious creatures and will hang around the rabbit’s cage often.

Due to their natural instinct, anything that’s bigger than them, they will see it as a threat. In the wild, cats do hunt and eat rabbits when they get a chance. Therefore, the rabbits will be stressed every time they come around.

If it’s once in a while, the rabbits won’t suffer stress from it. However, if the other pets keep coming around often, prolonged stress could cause the rabbits to lose weight.

The same goes for children in the house. They may go to the rabbit’s cage and start hitting the cage and making loud noises. This will of course cause the rabbit to be startled and stress the rabbit out.

If you notice your other pets and children are around the rabbit’s cage often, you should find another location to put the cage. Again, prolonged stress will lead your pet rabbit to lose weight.

Another reason for your pet rabbit to become stressed is another hutch mate. Rabbits are social creatures and like to be around other rabbits. This gives them protection and security.

However, if your pet rabbit is paired with a more dominant rabbit, they could get bullied and become scared. They will stay at the corner of the cage and not eat. This will lead to them losing weight.

4. Rabbits Losing Weight Due Old Age

As the rabbit gets older, they will start to lose weight. This is usually from the decreased appetite and it’s a normal part of the aging process.

If they are losing weight and not experiencing any of the above symptoms, you can try giving them more food than normal. If they don’t seem to be interested in eating, you can try to give them food supplements.

Extruded nuggets are specially made for senior rabbits. They are intended to be fed to older rabbits to meet their daily dietary needs.

They should be fed one tablespoon of pellets per kilogram or 2 pounds of body weight each day. For senior rabbits that are having issues with losing weight, you can feed them more than

Rabbits Losing Weight Along with Loss Of Muscle

When a rabbit starts to lose weight, it’s already a concern. If they are also losing muscle mass, this is another issue that you should be worried about too.

When a rabbit loses muscle mass, it’s a health condition known as cachexia.

Some of the symptoms associated with cachexia in rabbits are:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Bad breath smell
  • Drooling from mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach bloating
  • Breathing is erratic

Cachexia will cause the rabbit to lose both muscle mass and weight. Without treatment, this condition can cause the rabbit to die. Therefore, if there’s a sudden loss of muscle mass, take them to the veterinary for treatment.


As you can see, a rabbit losing weight is not normal and can lead to health problems and even death. Whenever your pet rabbit loses weight, find out what’s causing it. If you are ever unsure, always take your pet rabbit to the veterinary for an examination.

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