You are here:

Rabbits/Unknown health issue



I have a 6-year-old neutered mix-breed bunny. He was perfectly healthy up until last year, when I noticed that he had been losing weight. He also started urinating outside the litter box.  He was still eating, but not as much as before.  I took him to our rabbit-savvy vet.  The bunny's teeth were normal.  His blood work was normal (I thought for sure kidney issues would be indicated), and his x-rays were normal,except that his liver seemed smaller than normal.  I was referred to a different vet to take an ultrasound which also turned out normal.  I focused on putting some weight on him, and he gained some ounces back and the follow-up blood work turned out fine.  I did notice some subtle gait issues, and my vet prescribed a daily dose of panacur.  The panacur seems to help in the sense I don't see him sway when he sits.

He doesn't have trouble jumping into the litter box (and now I have a cut-out litter box too, so he doesn't have to make the leap in), and he'll use the litter box sometimes, but frequently urinates on the floor.

As irritating as it is to constantly mop up urine, I am more concerned about what may be possibly bothering him.  The vets cannot find anything wrong, but they do acknowledge there is definitely something off with him.

Do you have any ideas what may be going on?

Thank you!!

Dear Jody,

Boy.  The minute I came up with an explanation, your vets had it covered.  I thought renal disease.  Nope.  I thought dental problems.  Nope.  (Unless the dental check was done with bunny awake; for a really thorough dental exam, anesthesia is needed to get the mouth far enough open to see 'way into the back of the mouth).  I thought E. cuniculi.  Vet already got the Panacur covered.

So this is mysterious.

I do think that a really *deep* mouth exam may be warranted if bun has not been put under for a really good look.  Sometimes some pretty scary molar problems are not visible until the bunny is really relaxed.

If you're not sure your vet is a bunny dental expert, check the lists linked here for a referral:

The other possibility is bladder sludge or stone that are radio-translucent.  But that would be really unusual.  If he has a urinary tract infection, it will be difficult to culture, as pathogens that cause these are often obligate anaerobes and hard to get out of the bladder alive.  But if your vet can get a sample of urine and keep it cold, any pathogens could be identified with PCR and DNA sequencing (which is what most labs are doing these days, anyway, in lieu of culture and sensitivity).

I hope someone can find out what's going on!



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2017 All rights reserved.