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Rabbits/Older rabbit straining to urinate

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Question
Hello! I have a female rabbit, not spayed, who is almost 8 years old. Today she was in her litter box and tried to urinate 3 or 4 times in a row, and only a little came out. She is already on Bactrim twice a day long term for an external abscess. Could it still be a bladder infection? Cancer? Is there anything we can do?

Answer
Dear Bethany,

Straining to urinate could be due to a number of things, including urinary tract infection, bladder stones or sludge, a tumor (possibly of the uterus) creating an obstruction, etc.  Please see:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/urinary.html

But, more importantly, please get her to a good rabbit vet IMMEDIATELY for proper in-person diagnosis and appropriate treatment:

http://www.rabbit.org/vet

She may need to be spayed right away if this is an operable uterine cancer.  I hope she will be okay.

Dana
P.S. Bactrim is just about the least useful antibiotic out there these days.  Most everything is resistant to it.  I hope a good rabbit vet will at least prescribe a better antibiotic, if the suspicion is an infection.

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

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.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet 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.

Experience

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
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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