The 3 Main Causes Of Rabbit Diarrhea: What To Do About Diarrhea In Bunnies

My rabbit has diarrhea! What do I do?

There could be a number of reasons your rabbit has diarrhea, and we’ll cover them all in this article.

My rabbits have never had full-on diarrhea, thankfully, but it does happen to many bunnies from time to time.

Diarrhea in rabbits can be life-threatening, so let’s take a look at what might be happening.

Rabbit Diarrhea

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Before taking a look at possible reasons a rabbit has diarrhea, we need to consider whether the issue is actually just Intermittent Soft Cecotropes.

Intermittent Soft Cecotropes (try saying that 10 times quickly) is where you’ve got both normal round, solid rabbit poop, as well as partially liquid rabbit poop.

Intermittent Soft Cecotropes is fairly common in most rabbits, at least from time to time.

I recall one of my bunnies that would often produce this type of stool – maybe once a day.

While it was a bit of a pain when he did it inside and not in his toilet, it wasn’t happening often enough to force him outside!

Very watery and profuse diarrhea needs immediate attention from a vet. A rabbit in this situation is more than likely to pass away very quickly.

If your rabbit is still producing hard poop, it is likely the less serious soft cecotropes.

Causes Of And Cures For Rabbit Diarrhea

The first thing you should do if you determine your rabbit has diarrhea is to see a vet.

Vets can be really expensive, and your first instinct may be to hesitate in order to see if it will sort itself out.

However, rabbit diarrhea is a very serious situation. Do what you’ve got to do and take your bunny to the doctor.

That being said, here are some of the possible causes of the runs in rabbits.

1. Diet

An unbalanced diet is one of the leading causes of diarrhea in rabbits.

The majority of a bunny’s diet should consist of grass hay – around 80%. Rabbits are herbivores and this is what they’ve been designed to eat.

If your rabbit is not getting enough fiber, this could very well be the cause of loose bowel movements.

If your rabbit is used to eating grass hays, the first thing you should do if you are concerned about their stool is to withdraw all food except grass hay and water.

If your rabbit does not typically eat grass hays and you have them on a diet of pellets and other foods, leave them with their pellets and increase the amount of hay that they are given.

You might try a variety of different hays if they are not interested initially.

Common grass hays include:

  • Meadow hay
  • Alfalfa hay
  • Timothy hay
  • Oat hay

A small amount of fruit and vegetables is good for a rabbit treat, but too much will take a toll on their digestive tract.

I just give my rabbits a small amount of apple and carrot each day, and a bit of banana every now and again.

Fruit and vegetables have a high sugar content that rabbits cannot have too much of without getting an upset stomach.

Also consider the type of rabbit bedding materials you are using, and whether they might be contributing to the problem.

2. Stress

Stress can cause a rabbit to become unwell.

I remember our 2 year old would constantly follow (chase) one of our rabbits around the house. She would sometimes try to hit the poor thing or pull its fur.

It got to a point where we could literally see the rabbit tense up whenever she came near. This sort of thing can be highly detrimental to a rabbit’s health and well-being.

Another common danger is when a rabbit has to share the house (or outside area) with dogs and cats.

Rabbits are prey animals and may feel continually threatened by these natural rabbit predators, even if they pose no real threat.

Shifting house and bringing your rabbit into a new environment might be enough to set off a sensitive rabbit.

It’s important to keep an eye on them – how much they are eating, what their poop is like, and so on.

If you think your bunny is suffering from stress,  you will need to take whatever measures necessary to remove the problem.

We quickly taught our two-year-old that she could not treat the rabbit the way she was inclined to do so.

She learned to leave the rabbit alone and appreciate him from a distance.

3. Antibiotics

There are antibiotics that are bad for rabbits.

These can negatively harm a bunny’s intestinal flora by killing good bacteria (which we all have) and allowing bad bacteria into the system.

Certain bad bacteria allow toxins to increase in the rabbit, which can ultimately cause a rabbit to die.

If your rabbit has been on antibiotics and has begun to have watery diarrhea, take it to a vet as soon as possible.

Your rabbit needs immediate attention.

Rabbit Diarrhea FAQs

what does rabbit diarrhea look like

What do I do if my bunny has diarrhea?

The best thing you can do is take your rabbit to the vet.

You can also restrict their access to fruit and vegetables and ensure they have a supply of clean fresh hays and grasses.

How long does diarrhea last in rabbits?

Every case is different.

A rabbit may have loose stools for a day or two, or there could be issues for longer than a week.

It depends on the initial cause and then what is done to remedy the situation.

Can stress cause diarrhea in rabbits?

Just as stress and anxiety can cause diarrhea in humans, they can also do so in rabbits.

Some rabbits are particularly timid and frightful and may be more affected by certain situations.

One of the major causes of stress in rabbits is being targeted by predators – even if the dog or cat can’t get through the indoor or outdoor rabbit hutch at them.

Can carrots cause diarrhea in rabbits?

Too much of any fruit or vegetable can give your rabbit an upset stomach leading to diarrhea.

Carrot is generally pretty good for rabbits, but too much could indeed cause diarrhea.

Oxbow Rabbit Foods have some great healthy products for rabbits that are hay-based if you’re wanting something special to give your bunny.

Does lettuce give rabbits diarrhea?

As with carrots, too much lettuce could also give you rabbit diarrhea.

Personally, I don’t feed my rabbits any lettuce. That includes iceberg, mesclun, and any other lettuce. I’ve found it does lead to an upset tummy.

It’s not a food that can kill rabbits, but I have access to plenty of other more beneficial foods.

I give them lots of weeds that are good for rabbits, including milk thistle, dock leaves, and dandelion leaves, along with healthy greens like carrot tops, fresh herbs, and those types of things.

Bunny Has Diarrhea

So those are a few of the possible reasons your rabbit has diarrhea.

To summarize, it’s important to determine whether or not your rabbit actually has diarrhea, or whether it simply has soft cecotropes.

Your bunny can quickly come back from excessive soft cecotropes simply by changing its diet.

Leaving out the fruit and vegetables for a time, in exchange for grass hays.

If your rabbit has very watery poo, you need to get your rabbit to the vet – that can’t be understated.

Diarrhea in rabbits is rare, but it is serious when it occurs. Do what’s best for your bunny and take him or her to your local vet today.

Lastly, check out these best automatic rabbit feeders if you’re looking for a new solution to feeding your rabbits pellets.

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