By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
My rabbit is very weak and not eating or drinking anything. She also has a nose problem. How can I help her?
What you describe is very typical of a rabbit that is sick. Rabbits stop eating and drinking, and they are reluctant to move. They may also have a respiratory infection and that can cause discharge from the nose. The important question to ask is: “What is the cause of the signs you see seeing?”
Almost any disease that affects rabbits can cause these signs. That includes dental disease, liver disease, urinary tract disease, heart disease and even cancer. Until a veterinarian figures out what is causing those signs, your rabbit cannot receive proper treatment.
To make matters worse for rabbits with these non-specific signs, when a rabbit does not eat, he or she develops a severe liver condition called hepatic lipidosis that can be fatal if not treated.
There are three things you can do right now.
- Offer your rabbit her favorite foods in an attempt to get some needed calories into your rabbit.
- Encourage your rabbit to drink some water. Your rabbit needs to stay hydrated. If you offer food that is moistened, that gets both calories and water into your rabbit.
- Probably the most important thing is to get to your rabbit’s veterinarian as soon as possible. You are describing a very serious and potentially life-threatening situation because your rabbit is neither eating nor drinking. Your veterinarian can diagnose what is wrong and start specific and appropriate treatment immediately.