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Question
Hi,

I have a male holland lop rabbit named Basil, he turned 3 years old in June and I purchased him last May. He's lived outside the whole time I've had him but I just recently put him in my garage because of the weather, I live in MN so it gets very cold here. I have a carbon monoxide detector in my garage and the garage isn't heated so his water bottle would freeze. He just recently would drink from it constantly, it seemed like he drank a lot but it would freeze so he might of been drinking so much because he didn't always have water.

Last Friday I put in a heated water bottle, it has a different end to drink out of than his normal water bottle but all of my other rabbits have adjusted to is so I assumed he would. Yesterday I noticed that there wasn't very much water gone from it and I haven't seen him drinking.

I feed him 1/2 cup of pen pals 16% rabbit pellets, unlimited hay, and sometimes veggies. This winter he's been eating less but I assumed this was because he hasn't been getting a lot of exercise, he's been is his cage most of the time. I haven't gave him veggies in a while and yesterday and this past weekend I noticed he hasn't really ate much of his pellets or hay or drank much.

I was holding him and he felt very skinny and scrawny, I can feel his bones so I weighed him and he's about 2 lbs. He seemed healthy and normal not long ago and he used to weigh almost 3 lbs so he's lost about a pound. All of my other holland lops are well over 3 lbs so the fact that he only weighs 2 lbs doesn't seem normal or healthy. I also heard him wheezing once and he sneezed a few times, his face is also like wet.

Yesterday I decided to bring him inside my house and he ate veggies and pellets last night and he was drinking water from the bowl. All of my other rabbits are acting normal (I have 3 rabbits besides him)

Like I said, he's lost around a pound in a short amount of time and he just seems sickly, not very active or playful. Im not sure if he has a a disease or something? He's not neutered and like I said all my other rabbits are acting and look normal. The only other thing I could think of is that my friend brought her female rabbit over and tried to breed her with Basil but he wouldn't breed so she put her rabbit in with one of my other bucks. I don't know if he caught a disease or something from this rabbit because all my other rabbits are acting normal. I don't want to bring him to the vet unless this is serious because the vet is like 2 hours from me so any advice on what I should do at this point would be great!

Answer
Hi Kylie

Sorry for the delay in replying to you. How is your bun doing?

I would recommend a vet trip asap as losing weight can be a symptom of many serious conditions including liver and kidney failure - which can cause excessive drinking. It can also be a sign of dental problems too.

I'm afraid the best option is a vet trip, make sure they look at the teeth, listen to his heart, feel his gut for any blockages and ideally take a blood test too.

Sorry I can't be of more help!
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Expertise

I can answer questions around the welfare of pet rabbits, basic health queries including gut stasis, diet worries, bonding questions and the proper welfare standards around housing rabbits (i.e. no wire floors, no small cages and they should be kept in properly bonded de-sexed pairs in very large enclosures). I cannot answer showing questions nor complex breeding issues as I do not agree with either, seeing the other end of the story in the world of rabbit rescue.

Experience

I have two 7 year old rescue rabbits and volunteer for a well established rabbit rescue here in the UK, both physically doing cleaning out etc and I am also their events and awareness co-oordinator, helping educate the general public on proper rabbit keeping, this means I have to ensure all information I give is correct and matches current welfare standards.

Organizations
I belong to the RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund) and volunteer for a major rabbit rescue.

Education/Credentials
I have no formal education on this subject, however read everything I can to keep up to date with current welfare standards and health problems. Both my rabbits have sensitive guts and constantly keep me on my toes.

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