Rabbit Diarrhea-Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Rabbit Diarrhea Overview

Rabbit diarrhea is a common gastrointestinal disorder that can happen to any rabbit. While we think of rabbits as pets, we have many things to consider.

The increase in the popularity of rabbits as pets has made it easier to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment of rabbit diarrhea.

rabbit diarrhea

The first line of defense against rabbit diarrhea is the owners. If the owners do not understand the appearance and healthy behavior of rabbits, it could be challenging.

The cause of gastrointestinal disorders have many causes. However, not all of the causes offer oblivious symptoms.

When your rabbit has diarrhea, there are signs you should check.

What Can Rabbit Diarrhea Cause?

Rabbit diarrhea can lead to a serious problem if it is ignored.  If you have a rabbit as a pet, you should be careful to look out for the pellet’s appearance.

Different things can cause diarrhea in this creature.  You have to book an appointment as soon as possible with your vet when you notice soft feces or diarrhea.

You should not leave diarrhea untreated in your rabbit because it could be a life-threatening problem.

rabbit diarrhea

Rabbit Diarrhea General information and causes

If a rabbit has been running poo or passing soft poo with blood or mucus, something is wrong with your pet.

When you notice an unusual dirty bottom, you should check out the rabbit.  You do not have to ignore the sign because it could mean something has gone wrong.

Rabbit diarrhea happens when the digestive system has been altered or upset with the following problems:

  • Tumors
  • Dental disease
  • A poor diet, low in fibre
  • Liver disease
  • A gut infection e.g. E. coli or Retrovirus
  • Parasites in the guts e.g. Coccidiosis
  • A sudden change of diet
  • Antibiotics prescribed for another problem can cause diarrhea

Diarrhea of Caecotroph?

Do you know that rabbits eat their meals twice? They produce two types of feces that include the soft, sticky poo mistaken for diarrhea.

Caecotrophs – This type of feces is soft clumps of sticky, dark brown in appearance. You may hardly see this type of poo.

After they have digested their food, rabbits pass caecotroph that is a soft clump of sticky, dark poo.  They eat the caecotroph immediately.

The caecotroph has to pass through the guts the second time and enable the extraction of nutrients.  This may likely happen at night when you do not supervise.

Pellets – You will see plenty of pellets if you have a rabbit. When the food has passed through the guts for the second time, it becomes solid little, round pellets.

You can mistake caecotrophs for rabbit diarrhea. You should book an appointment with a vet to know what is wrong with your rabbit.

A vet can understand the difference in the poo. You can take a sample of the poo when going for an appointment.

Other symptoms to look out for in your rabbit can include:

  • Weight loss
  • A dirty bottom
  • Bloating
  • Low energy/hiding away/being quieter than usual
  • Stomach pain i.e. tooth grinding, shivering, hunching-up
  • Loss of appetite

When to contact your vet

Do you know when to contact your vet? When a rabbit starts passing abnormal poo, you should book an appointment as soon as possible with your vet.

If left untreated, it could lead to life-threatening problems.  If you are not sure of what the rabbit is passing, take a sample to see a vet.

While you know your rabbit well, you should be able to tell when things are not right, especially if the aforementioned symptoms are lacking.

Treatment and home remedies

Do you know the treatment for diarrhea? This depends on what causes it. You can visit a veterinary clinic to understand what is wrong.

This step is what you should do first before considering any other solution.

What to do with rabbit diarrhea

A rabbit suffering from diarrhea, may be experiencing enteritis.  Have you heard of gastroenteritis?  Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of intestinal cells called enterocytes.

These enterocytes are known as absorptive cells that are for assimilation or extraction of nutrients.

However, when the cell walls of the intestines do not absorb nutrients properly, it can lead to overly soft and wet stool. We called this diarrhea.

Enteritis can be caused by numerous factors, while diarrhea can be idiopathic. This means that it has no known cause.

rabbit diarrhea

Diarrhea may be a symptom of a passing condition that can be taken care of without any intervention.  The problem may be life-threatening that can kill the animal.

The complications that are associated with diarrhea should be a thing of concern. The symptom experienced may be an underlying symptom of another condition.

Treating an underlying pathology can stop the symptom.  Rabbit diarrhea can cause malnutrition and dehydration.

The reason for this dehydration is because too much water is absorbed into the intestinal tract and not enough nutrients are absorbed.

What causes rabbit diarrhea?

The cause of diarrhea in rabbits is diverse. While some causes are infectious, others are harmless.  The severity of this symptom depends on what caused it.

It is important that you consider the symptoms of the rabbit when they run wet stool.  Diarrhea may not stop the rabbit from eating.

Some rabbits may have slightly abnormal stools, while others may have mucus or blood in their stool. Some rabbits may lose weight too.

The consistency and color of the stool should be noted.  While some rabbits have pellets that are softer than normal, the color is the same.

Some may come with black or dark green poop, but this does not mean that the rabbit is in danger.  When the stool is watery, diarrhea is confirmed.

The original cause of diarrhea may be the following:


Coccidiosis is an infectious disease that is caused by different parasites.  This infectious disease can affect pets that are immunodepressed.

Rabbits that are immunodepressed include very young rabbits during the weaning phase and the elderly rabbits, including those under duress.

Coccidiosis can affect the liver or intestine and could be a serious disease that shows up as a symptom. You should look at the rabbit’s stool for diagnosis.

The rabbit diarrhea may not be very wet. This does not mean that it is safe. You can find oocysts or spores that contain the zygote of the parasite.

rabbit diarrhea

You do not see this with your optical eyes. You need a vet to handle this examination through a microscopic diagnostic test.

This condition can be asymptomatic without displaying symptoms for a long time, but can cause serious deterioration of the health of the animal.

Excess protein:

Bacterium Clostridium Spiriforme and Escherichia Coli colonize the intestine of the rabbit. When rabbits eat too much protein, this could cause problem.

The bacteria can grow more and produce a toxin that cause diarrhea.

Too little fiber:

Rabbits need a specific balance of nutrients.  When a rabbit is unable to eat meals that contain balance of nutrients, it could cause them health problem.

When a rabbit ingests a low intake of fiber, it can suffer intestinal motility.  This slows down the feacal waste.

Feaces stay in contact with the intestinal mucosa for a period. The proliferation of the bacteria is encouraged when it is mixed with a high intake of carbohydrates.


Ampicillin, lincomycin, penicillin, and erythromycin can lead to rabbit diarrhea. These antibiotics attack some specific bacteria.

Germs that are no sensitive to some antibiotics can grow more. This could lead to different form of diarrhea.

The oral or parenteral administration of lincomycin can cause severe diarrhea.  A qualified veterinary should be the one who prescribe antibiotics.

Dietary changes:

A dietary change can cause rabbit diarrhea.  When you change your rabbit’s diet, it can cause changes in the intestinal flora.

It is important that the gut flora is balanced to avoid causing serious problem to the rabbit.  When rabbits eat foods that upset their intestinal, they suffer diarrhea.


There are different forms of cancer that can affect a rabbit’s digestion. When this happens, it can cause diarrhea.

Some other symptoms should be considered including diagnostic tests by a vet. Cecaldysbiosis is a common cause of chronic rabbit diarrhea.

This diarrhea is intermittent, which means that it is soft or discolored, including the normal healthy stool. This is caused by the intestinal flora’s imbalance.

This shows that the hygiene of the rabbit is important and it should be well fed.

What is unhealthy stool in a rabbit?

You may not know what a healthy stool is if you have not seen one before.  You should know what the rabbit and its waste.

This is not difficult. You can read it up when you get your pet and study them. Healthy stool of a rabbit is in two forms. They include the following:

Hard feces:

When it comes to the healthy rabbits stool, you should check for the texture.  The stool should be hard with traces of fiber or hay.

The color should vary from almost yellow color, a light brow to darker, black shade.


The cecotrope is a type of pellets that rabbits and other lagomorphs produce.  The original digestive process does not take all the nutrients from food.

This means that the pellets come in hard and grape-like shape. Your rabbit re-ingest the cecotrope to help it take up nutrients it missed the first time.

Most times, the pellet droppings do not come in the same size. However, they have to be fairly uniform in their shapes.

An irregularly shaped feaces or too small feaces show that the rabbit has some gastrointestinal challenges.

The feaces may contain fur or hair that the rabbit must have ingested. This can cause rabbit diarrhea that is overly soft, water with foul smell.

When you see your pet with red coloring urine or a wet tail, you should be bothered.  We may not talk about the urine of rabbits in this article.

We have spoken about the different ways that the rabbit can suffer from diarrhea.

Treatment for diarrhea in rabbits

Do you think that your rabbit is suffering from diarrhea?  What are the symptoms that you see? The cause of diarrhea vary.

If it is acute diarrhea, it may mean that the rabbit requires fluid therapy. This could be in the form of semi-solid feeding with a syringe.

The primary objective of this is to prevent potential starvation or dehydration due to deficiency of nutrients.

Depending on the underlying cause, you can consider the following treatments:


If your rabbit’s diet is high in carbohydrates and protein, and low in fiver, a dietary change should be implemented.

When you offer the rabbit an adequate balanced diet, it would stop the diarrhea. When a vet prescribes antibiotics, you should be careful.

You can prevent side effects by offering the rabbit vitamin supplements and dietary changes.  Fluid therapy should be implemented in some cases.

This could stabilize intestinal flora. You should consider offering nutritional supplements too.

A vet should handle diarrhea caused by coccidiosis. The vet will prescribe the right antibiotic that can help the rabbit recover, especially from the family of sulfonamides.

You should start giving the rabbit semi-solid feeding administered by a syringe.

Tips to prevent diarrhea in rabbits

When it comes to preventing rabbit diarrhea, you should consider different things. Dietary measures and simple hygiene is important.

This can help the rabbit recover faster. The following tips should be considered:

You should always give the rabbits a constant supply of hay and freshwater available.

The rabbit diet should be supplemented with high fiber snacks specific for rabbits.

Keep the rabbit’s hutch clean and replace their fodder regularly.

You should provide a quiet environment for the rabbit free of loud noises and surprises.

Dietary changes must be implemented progressively.

You have to carefully observe the rabbit daily. The next thing is to look out for changes in physical or behavioral well-being.

While rabbit diarrhea can come in different ailments, you should try to differentiate each symptom. This is why you need the help of a vet.

Finally, do not panic when you notice diarrhea in your pet.  Take the pet to a vet for proper diagnosis.


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