Diarrhoea is a common problem in pet rabbits. It can be a very serious condition and veterinary advice should be sought immediately. If left untreated diarrhoea can cause dehydration which at extreme cases can be fatal.
Treatment of rabbit diarrhoea
Rabbits with diarrhoea become rapidly dehydrated and will need fluid replacement.
Preventing rabbit diarrhoea
A high fibre diet (hay or grass) has a protective effect against diarrhoea and soft droppings.
It is normal behaviour for rabbits to produce softer droppings at night, which they then eat. This is an important part of the rabbit’s diet.
Rabbits with 'matted' bottoms
Occasionally obese rabbits, older rabbits with back problems and rabbits with dental disease or diarrhoea, become matted with droppings around the tail base. If a rabbit is very overweight, or if it has a painful mouth or back, he or she may be unable to reach round to clean these droppings away.
In the summer, diarrhoea or matted soft droppings may attract flies which lay their eggs around the tail base and these hatch out into maggots which will burrow under the skin and can be fatal (fly strike).
Preventing fly strike
You should check your rabbit twice daily in the summer and always make sure the bedding is clean and dry. A fly strip hung just outside the hutch may help reduce the flies.