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Rabbits/Mass in bladder on US


I have a dwarf lop ear bunny I adopted.  She is about 6 years old and has been very healthy.  I only feed her Timothy Complete pellets and Timothy hay.  This past week, I noticed she wasn't eating quite as much of her pellets and then over the week end, she didn't eat anything or drink.  Her respiratory rate increased to about 80-110 and of course no energy.  I gave her water via syringe and she tolerated that.  Still making urine and very small pellets - good bowel sounds.  I took her to a vet and he performed an US of the bladder and informed me he saw a mass.  He is unsure as to whether it is a tumor, infection or stone. He said he could actually palpate the mass.  He gave me an antibiotic to try for 2 weeks and I am giving her Critical Care feedings and water by syringe.  He did mention surgery if the antibiotics don't work. I don't know of any vets here that specialize in bunnies and I want to know if we are on the right track.  Is it possible that this could be a bladder stone or infection?  I am willing to do whatever she needs if it will help her, but I don't want to put her through any unnecessary suffering. Are there any other tests that should be performed to see if this is a tumor, if it has metastasized elsewhere? These symptoms seem to have had such a sudden on-set.  I would very much appreciate your thoughts and recommendations.  She is so sweet and we love her.  I want to do what's right for her.

Dear Vicki,

You may be able to find a rabbit-savvy vet here:

and it would be worth a drive to get her to someone who can safely do a surgery.  

Stones are not all that uncommon.  If the mass is moving around, then it is likely a stone, not a tumor.  

Is she spayed?  If not, I wonder if this might be a uterine tumor that the vet misdiagnosed.  Uterine cancer rate is quite high in unspayed females, so this is a possibility, too.  If it is a uterine tumor, then spaying her will usually solve the problem.  These masses do not tend to metastasize very early in their formation.

A full-body radiograph might help the vet detect any metastatic masses, if they are large enough.  That might help you decide a course of action.  But if this is a stone, surgery is probably the best option to remove it.  And you'll want a vet who is experienced with rabbit surgeries and anesthesia for this type of procedure.

I hope this helps.



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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.

RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

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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