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Rabbits/Bleeding Rabbit - from mouth


Blood Pool
Blood Pool  
QUESTION: This morning my daughter found our female Flemish Giant (pedigree) bleeding from her mouth.  There was a very large pool of blood on the stair of her cage and drops of blood in other places.  The pool of blood looked thick and has water (liquid) around it.  It is about 3x3 inches around.  To me thats a lot for a rabbit.  I rushed home, because these are our first pedigree rabbits to raise, we have a male and female, both pedigree and bought from completely different locations, about 100 miles apart from each other.  We are serious about these rabbits and are my daughters beloved pets, even though we havent had them but a few months.  I am sick with worry.  We have brought "Violet" inside and are keeping a very close eye on her.  I just lost my job and cannot take her to the vet, which my heart is aching over now.  She is eating and drinking but her mouth seems to be causing her a lot of distress and when she drinks blood is left in the water, not droplets, just turns a bit red.  I cant reach either breeder i bought the rabbits from and the only vet in town that sees rabbits is in surgery.  
My question(s):  rabbits dont vomit so how did this much blood come from the mouth?  I cant see any tears or rips in her mouth or other part of her body. But I cant see very well, im a little worried to pry open her mouth to much.  
Could this possibly be a miscarriage? There was no embryo or any other signs of a kit.  She is only 5 months old and has a separate cage next to her mate: Zeus.  
Could she have eaten something, got a piece of wood stuck in her throat?  
I am so worried and this could not have happened at a worse time.  I didn't expect not to have emergency money.  Help if you are able.  I will continue to try and reach the breeders and other rabbit experts.

ANSWER: Hi Tracy,

Since you are in the US it would be highly unlikely that it was a viral hemorrhagic disease.  However it does sound like a true emergency.  Usually when rabbits are injured the wound encapsulates to protect the animal from bleeding to death.  Since the blood is continuing to come out I would call this a true emergency.  I cant imagine that it would be a miscarriage but they do eat their poo so I would check her vent area to see if there is any blood coming from there.  I understand that your daughter loves the bunny but if you cant afford vet care your other option would be to find a local rescue that could possibly take her.  From the amount of blood in the photo it appears that Violet desperately needs help.  I know it is sad to think about surrendering a pet but at this point it may come down to the fact that if she doesn't get medical treatment she may not survive.  

I really wish I had an answer for you but I have never seen anything like this coming from a rabbits mouth.

Good luck


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Violet and Zeus
Violet and Zeus  
QUESTION: Thanks for a seriously quick response!!  Thank goodness youre at your computer.  She is not bleeding anymore, the blood in her water bowl came from the fur of her mouth, i did further inspection.  She is laying down, not hunched, this is a good sign she is not in a lot of pain. She is eating every half hour to an hour, this is what she normally does.  I have watched her for almost 5 hours straight now and she is not "herself", she is more quiet and just wants to relax and sleep.  She normally is trying to jump the 2 foot house cage. I will consider your advice about releasing her.  I have decided to watch her thru the night and see how she is tomorrow.  I know and understand that waiting, what that could mean.
Question: if she was trying to escape (which she always tries, she loves the freedom of the yard and she didnt get to go out yesterday) and she was chewing on the wire or wood, could she have broken a tooth? injured herself and would a tooth cause that much blood?  If she survives the night and seems better tomorrow I will continue to nurse her in the house until she is well and followup tomorrow with a resident rabbit expert.  We have several just a few towns away.  I will also call the only farm vet we have here and request assistance.  If she is not better or worse i will seriously consider finding someplace to take her and help her.  

Sorry this is so long.

ANSWER: Hi Tracy,

I looked at the hutch and I don't see anything in there that would cause her to injure the inside of her mouth.  It is possible that there is a loose wire somewhere and that she injured a tooth.  If she has a loose tooth when she eats it could aggravate it.  The fact that she is not acting herself is concerning but you clearly understand the consequences.  Hopefully your local farm vet can help you out without charging you an arm and a leg.  It is so hard to say without a visual investigation of her mouth.  I have seen a rabbit with a nasal injury that was bleeding caused by a sharp piece of straw getting stuck in the nose.  Clearly that was just a fluke but anything is possible.  As long as she continues to eat and drink she should be ok, however we all know that bunnies are very good at hiding their injuries and illnesses.  

I really hope she fully recovers.  If possible when you find out what the culprit is could you send me another question request.  This is clearly something I don't see very often and would like to know what is causing it to possibly help the bunnies of the future.

Thank you


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your wonderful advice. I have found what the problem was and why she was bleeding.  She must have got caught in the wire somehow and pulled out her bottom tooth.  It really ripped her mouth bad.  She is doing fine now after a few days of loving care inside.  I dont understand how she could have gotten her tooth caught but it was pretty bad.  Will she be able to still eat okay even with one of her teeth missing?  She seems to be doing okay now.  We will take extra care about her surroundings but she is always trying to escape.  She loves running around the yard and hates being kept in her hutch.  But the weather we are having doesnt permit her being outside.  We live by a park with big trees and the wind is taking down tree limbs.  To dangerous, plus Im not leaving her out in the rain to get soaked.  haha.  Anyway, she is doing fine now and she is just missing a tooth.

Hi Tracy,

I am so glad that it was just a tooth.  Rabbits teeth continue to grow throughout their lives so if she rip it out by the root it should grow back.  They grow back rather quickly and if it is going to grow back you will notice the new tooth within a week or two.  She shouldn't have any problems eating.  We actually have bunnies who have had their teeth removed because of malocclusion, they eat just fine.  What I would watch is to make sure it is growing back straight.  If it is not you may have to have it trimmed eventually.

Good luck



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Paula Murdock-Briggs


I am a licensed American Rabbit Breeders Registrar. I do not show rabbits anymore nor do I breed them. I do believe it is important that people that chose to breed rabbits do so with only purebred and genetically sound animals or that they have a thorough understanding of genetics prior to breeding. I have chosen to keep my registars license to help the 4H youth in my area. I do stay current on all breeds, varieties, show rules, regulations of the ARBA. I have spent the past 8 years focusing on rescuing and caring for PET bunnies who were no longer wanted. I am the current CEO of Little Angels Animal Sanctuary, Inc. I was appointed CEO of the rescue organization and sanctuary in 2008. We gained our 501(c)3 IRS tax exemption status in 2012. We have taken on the task of rescuing unwanted PET rabbits as well as some farm animals. I teach genetics and health to the local youth as well as register and promote the breeding of only purebred and genetically sound animals. I rescue PET rabbits. These are rabbits that lived in peoples homes and were either surrendered to us or sent to the auction for meat. While I believe that all bunnies should be pets, I understand that people raise them for other reasons. I will answer questions from anyone, regardless of their purpose. I will reject any questions that are considered unethical or inhumane.

Little Angels Animal Sanctuary.

President and CEO of Little Angels Animal Sanctuary, Inc. I have over 10 years of experience working closely with a veterinarian that treats rabbits. We have studied and treated nearly every illness that can affect rabbits.

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