Question My little rabbit is 9+ years old. He has just recently started drinking large volumes of water and urinating similarly large amounts. Because he is very timid, I do not want to put him through too many frightening experiences so I feel that treatment options may be limited. Is there any treatment available for him if he has diabetes ?
Answer Dear Judith,
Excessive urination and excessive drinking (polyuria/polydypsia or PU/PD, to the vet) is more often a sign of renal failure than diabetes in a rabbit. The only treatment is subQ fluid therapy if he has bad days. But a cottontail will likely not take well to that. :(
Be sure to provide him with plenty of fresh water in a *crock* at all times, and let him manage his own kidneys for as long as possible. Some people suggest that they've had success at improving kidney function with dandelion extract (which can be a diuretic), and some just give the bunny dandelion leaves in nightly salads.
But if this is renal failure, the only thing you can do is offer support and love and let him do the best he can. Many bunnies manage to live for years on failing kidneys, and I hope he does, too.
The only way to confirm this would be via blood work and accompanying testing of the specific gravity of his urine. But if his urine is copious and dilute, it probably means that his kidneys are not concentrating waste as they should, and he's compensating by drinking a lot of water to flush things out. It's a good method. But it will not last forever.
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: THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.
If your rabbits is LETHARGIC
If your rabbit is NOT EATING
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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.
Organizations Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president
National House Rabbit Society (Board member)
Publications Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide
Education/Credentials Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English
Awards and Honors Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology