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Rabbits/Rabbit weight loss



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!

Dear Kylie,

Holland Lops are very intelligent and sensitive.  It is very possible that your bunny was suffering from depression from being ignored and neglected.  Note his behavior change when you brought him inside!  Please do NOT consign him to a cruel life outside alone in the garage.  It would be better for you to find him a new home with someone who has more time for him.

If his face is wet and he is losing weight, he may well be afflicted with something that MANY Holland Lops have:  dental disease.  Their short faces predispose them to severe molar spurs and other problems that can interfere with eating and cause a lot of misery.  Please read this:

Most importantly, find a good rabbit vet here:

and get your bunny there for a full wellness checkup, including his cheek teeth (molars).  He needs help.

For now, provide his drinking water in a heavy ceramic *bowl*, not a water bottle.  It is easier and more natural for him to drink from a bowl.  Also provide lots of wet greens daily.  He needs those to stay hydrated, healthy, and happy.  Please read this:

It's time for you to bring all your bunnies inside, have everyone spayed/neutered, and introduce them so they can be healthy, happy house rabbits with a good quality of life.  No one deserves to be locked in a cage all the time.  The bunnies are not toys or pieces of furniture that are there to be played with or used at people's convenience.  Would you do that to a dog or cat?  Then why a rabbit?  Rabbits need lots of love and attention, just as dogs, cats, and humans do.

I think you know what to do to improve your bunnies' lives.  So now hop to it!

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.

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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