Bladder Stone Makes Rabbit Scream

A rabbit owner asks about how to help a rabbit with a bladder stone that is causing pain.

rabbit face
© Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio 
If a bladder stone is preventing a rabbit from urinating, it is a emergency and the rabbit needs to be taken to a veterinarian without delay.

Q: My 2-year-old pet bunny is screaming due to a bladder stone. What can I do?

A: I am very sorry about what is happening. There is nothing more upsetting than hearing a rabbit scream. 

Typically, rabbit bladder stones do not cause pain, at least that we recognize. Interestingly, people report that a stone in the ureter or urethra is about as painful as it gets. Possibly, to cause that much pain that your rabbit was screaming, the stone or stones were passing through the ureter in your rabbit? 

Rabbit urinary tract stones are common, so it is not surprising that your rabbit has developed a stone. Depending on the size of the stone, it may pass through the bladder and urethra on its own and be eliminated. More typically, these stones are too large to pass through the bladder and urethra without causing a blockage. 

In your rabbit, the stone may have moved, making urination impossible and that can then lead to pain. So, what can you do? 

This is an emergency and something that you should seek veterinary care for now, not a week from now. Your veterinarian will likely recommend surgery to remove the stone or stones. If the stone is only in the bladder, the surgery is less complicated than if it is in the urethra or ureters. 

Unfortunately, we do not understand in entirety why stones form and re-form in rabbits. Removing the stone, improving the diet and increasing water intake are all ways to help rabbits that have urinary tract stones. We also place rabbits on pain medication, usually including anti-inflammatories, and also antibiotics in case there is a secondary infection due to the bladder stone.

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