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Rabbits/change in litter behavior



I noticed that's since my rabbit turned 3 years of age his litter behavior started to change. He's no longer peeing in his litter tray but instead on the floor. But he doesn't do it all over the house only around the area near his litter tray. He's a male rabbit and wasn't neutered so I thought that was the problem. I took him to the vet for an unrelated matter and asked about this issue as well and the vet didn't think it's a neutering problem as territorial markings should occur sooner than 3 yrs and he's the only rabbit in the house. She thinks he may have urinary tract infection so she given him antibiotics and he's been on it for 4 days now and I haven't seen any changes yet. The vet wants a sample of his urine for testing and if his behavior still hasnt change she wants to do a blood test. This scares me a bit if you could give some suggestions that would be great

Thank you

ANSWER: Dear Kat,

I think your vet is doing the right thing.  What kind of antibiotic are you trying?  You might not see immediate results, as it can take several days to develop therapeutic levels of antibiotic in the tissues, depending on what type of antibiotic is given.  Some antibiotics go more directly through the renal system than others and have a quicker effect.

But if the antibiotics don't work, a urine culture and sensitivity might not be a bad idea, and/or bloodwork to see if something else is going on.  Also, bladder stones or sludge can cause changes in litterbox habits.  Please see:


Hope this helps.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your response. I read the two articles you  suggested they're very helpful.   My rabbit is currently taking enrotril 25mg today is the fifth day he's been taking it.  I did noticed that when he urinate   there is less chalky white residue than there used to be before his litter habit changed.   For his diet I been giving him unlimited hay and straws but he prefers straws than hay. He's also got some pellet food and green leaf veg and a small piece of carrot every other day. I used to give him quite a lot of  parsley but from what I read they  are high in calcium?  So I've reduced the amount a bit. Another thing is his  cecotropes hasn't been formed properly for a long time they come out toothpaste like rather than grape like. I think it's something to do with the diet but don't know if it's the pellets or the veggies?  And he is very picky with what he eats he would only eat certain vegs and certain brand of pellets so it's hard to try different things. What should I do?

Thank you

ANSWER: Dear Kat,

Enrofloxacin is a good, rabbit-safe antibiotic that's a good first "guess" if you're not sure what the infection is caused by.  It's a good sign that he's improving.

The pasty cecotropes is a different story.  That means that your bunny is showing signs of chronic cecal dysbiosis, which is fully explained here:

While some people mistakenly believe this is due to giving a bunny a diet too rich in fresh greens, this is almost never the problem.  However, it could have something to do with his, if bun is getting the wrong type of food.  Please check that here:

The second most common cause of this problem is probably pain/stress from dental disorders, such as molar spurs or other dental problem.  Please read:

You will need an experienced rabbit vet to help you, and you can find one via the Vet Referral Listings linked here:

The vet can also check for intestinal parasites (if possible, bring a very fresh sample of bunny poop with you in a clean ziplock bag), such as coccidia or roundworms. These are not particularly common in adult rabbits, but it never hurts to be sure.

In the meantime, you can safely clean bunny and keep him comfortable with the techniques described here:

I hope this helps you get to the bottom of the problem and get it under control.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


A couple more follow up questions. The vet that I saw didn't think that pasty cecotropes is a concern as long as his normal poops are round and solid?

In regards to his change in litter habit, he has finished the antibiotics 3 days ago but it doesn't seem to make any difference. I dropped off a urine sample to the vet and is waiting for the test results (anxiously!). Would the litter habit to go back to normal once the underlying problem is fixed or do I need to litter train him again?

Thank you

Dear Kat,

I believe the vet is simply wrong about the pasty cecotropes.  That is almost always a sign of health trouble somewhere--and very often the teeth.

If this is a urinary tract problem, his litterbox habits should go back to normal once he feels better.  But you'll have to see.

If this were my rabbit, I would seek a second opinion from a more rabbit-savvy vet.

Good luck,



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:

Find a rabbit vet at for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.

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For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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