Is My Rabbit In Pain?

Ameera Mills
By Ameera Mills. Updated: October 10, 2018
Is My Rabbit In Pain?

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Rabbits are great companion animals. Rabbits are not however like dogs and cats, and therefore need specialized care. If you have a rabbit, you have to make sure you take it for regular veterinary checkups and offer it a quality diet.

Knowing whether your rabbit is ill is incredibly important in making sure that it receives the necessary care. For this reason, here at AnimalWised we have collected 15 signs to know that your rabbit is in pain. Keep reading to recognize them.

You may also be interested in: Signs of Pain in Dogs
  1. Is my rabbit in pain?
  2. Assessing pain in rabbits
  3. When to administer pain killers to a rabbit?

Is my rabbit in pain?

Pain in rabbits, if mild, can often go unnoticed. As a rabbit owner you have to be vigilant to notice them. Take a look at these 15 signs of pain in rabbits:

  • Reduction in activity: you will notice that you rabbit will remain somewhat immobile, and when or if it moves, it will be slow or limping.
  • Dehydration: you will notice a loss of elasticity in your rabbit’s skin when it is dehydrated. Its coat will also lose its shine, and your rabbits eyes will appear sunken. t
  • Lethargy and apathy.
  • Lack of hygiene: your rabbit will stop grooming, and its coat will appear dirtier than normal.
  • Change in diet: your rabbit will eat and drink less, take longer to feed and you might notice food falling out of its mouth.
  • Eye problems: one or both eyes will secrete, remain closed or change color.
  • Strange postures: a rabbit in pain might contract its abdomen, bend its back or lay its head against the wall.
  • Self-protection: your rabbit will avoid being touched where it is in pain. It might hide or react aggressively.
  • Loss of interest in what is going on in its environemt.
  • Teeth grinding or vocalizations: usually when held, moved, urinating or defecating.
  • Respiratory difficulties.
  • Sleep pattern changes or problems resting.
  • Modified facial expression: dilated pupils, absence of palpebral reflex.
  • Hipersalivation.
  • Isolation from its group: in the case that the rabbit lives in a group, you will find that it will avoid contact and isolate itself from the other rabbits.
Is My Rabbit In Pain? - Is my rabbit in pain?

Assessing pain in rabbits

Of the 15 signs of pain in rabbits which we have highlighted, some will correspond as mild or moderate pain, while others will form as intense or chronic pain. Keeping this in mind, it is important to know these in order to know urgency when consulting a veterinarian.

These warning signs of pain level in rabbits are distinguished as;

Mild to moderate pain: ocular secretions, protrusion of the nictitating membrane, photophobia, constipation or diarrhea, depression, body leaning against a wall, reduction in the intake of water and food, disinterest, aggressiveness or vocalizations and grinding of teeth.

Intense or chronic pain: teeth grinding, lethargy, dehydration, weight loss, stools stuck around the anal area, loss of muscle mass (prominently noticed in the hind legs) lack of response to stimuli or scanty production of feces.

When to administer pain killers to a rabbit?

The administration of analgesia to your rabbit must always be prescribed by a veterinarian. A professional will be able to assess the animal and treat the pain accordingly. But, in addition to treating your rabbit’s discomfort, it is fundamental to look for the cause of it, which is what must be cured in order for the pain to disappear. The 6 clinical signs for which analgesia is normally recommended, include:

  • Anxiety
  • Inactivity
  • Restlessness
  • Screeches or moans
  • Teeth grinding
  • Immobility
  • Anorexia

As we have said, if you detect any sign of pain in your rabbit, we recommend visiting your veterinarian as soon as possible. It is possible your rabbit is in pain due to a life threatening illness. If this is the case, you may want to take a look at the signs your rabbit is dying. It is essential to distinguish a diagnosis in order to treat it correctly and in time.

Is My Rabbit In Pain? - When to administer pain killers to a rabbit?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Is My Rabbit In Pain?, we recommend you visit our Prevention category.

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What did you think of this article?
Why is my rabbit losing interest in its environment?
And why is my rabbit always sleepy?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Liz,

There is no possible way we could answer this question. Please take your rabbit to the vert for a proper diagnosis. Good luck!
I have a question. My rabbit fur is dropping. What does it mean.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Yanyun,

It is likely the symptom of a physical or psychological issue. We have the following article to help you have an idea of what this issue may be:

However, you will need to take them to a specialized vet to achieve a proper diagnosis.
i was just wondering if there are any pain relief for rabbits that i can get if my rabbit is in pain?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Lauren,

Rabbits are generally able to stomach human aspirin. However, painkillers should never be given without being under the supervision of the vet. The problem is the dosage is hard to gauge and it is possible you might overdose the rabbit which can be fatal. Ask your vet for advice and a prescription.
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Is My Rabbit In Pain?