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Rabbits/Breathing a bit laboreous


My bunny Fluffy is 6 1/2 (Mix Netherlands dwarf). After a 10 days holiday, we returned home and noticed that she is breathing a bit laborious and her nostrils are more open. She also seems sad and is not eating as much as usual. The weather has been changing and there is more humidity and temperatures are around 74.
During the holiday we left her under the care of our nephew, who lives with us and fed her regularly. I feel she is loosing some weight. She used to weight 5 pounds. Not sure how much now.

On the day we left on holiday, we had a very unusual event. We found a mid size sneak in the backyard, where Fluffy hops around and hangs out in the company of three canaries. We trapped the sneak and called animal control, which advice my nephew to release the sneak in the canyon, as it was non  dangerous. Fluffy has full access to the entire house. She comes in and out as she pleases. Has never been caged.

I have not heard any noise when breathing or stomach noise. Her stool is dry and very small. She is eating her vegetables, but not so interested in her pellets and or favorite treats.

Not sure what is wrong with my bunny? Stress due to the presence of a predator around? Depressed due to our absence? Breathing problems?  I am giving her a lot of TLC and keep her close to me.

Your advice is appreciated.

Dear Arkadia,

The snake (I'm assuming that's what was meant by "sneak"?) is not likely the source of the problem.  But your bunny sounds as if she is suffering from a respiratory infection, and may be courting pneumonia.  The best thing to do is to get her to a rabbit-savvy vet immediately for in-person exam, diagnosis and appropriate treatment.  Find a vet here:

Her stool being small and dry is an indication that she may also be dehydrated and stressed.  Please see:


But get her to the vet without delay.   Her life may depend on it.



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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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