The rabbit does not eat or drink anything: reasons and what to do

Many rabbit breeders face a loss of pet appetite. There are plenty of reasons why a rabbit won’t eat or drink, from recent shocks to life-threatening illnesses. The responsible owner needs to have an understanding of each so that they know when to visit the veterinarian.

Кролик у врача

Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract

Rabbits have a fairly sensitive digestive system, failures in which invariably lead to loss of appetite.


  • the rabbit’s stomach is hard, periodically growls;
  • the pet weakly or does not make contact at all, does not play, is lethargic, hides in a corner;
  • there was a grinding of teeth.


  1. The daily norm of water consumed by a rabbit is 100 ml per 1 kg of animal weight. If he refuses to drink on his own, it is necessary to solder, introducing 3-5 ml of water with a syringe without a needle every half hour.
  2. Grind the grain to a powder consistency, mix with vegetable puree and dilute with a little water. Give 2-3 ml of nutrition at a time.
  3. Draw 10-15 ml of warm (but not hot) boiled water into a syringe without a needle. Insert the tip into the anus, pre-treating it with Vaseline. Release water slowly. After the introduction of the liquid, hold the animal on its back, preventing it from escaping, for at least 30 seconds, and then let it empty its intestines.
  4. Massage the abdomen with fingertips, gently and without pressure moving clockwise for 1-2 minutes.


Rabbits experience frostbite as a result of prolonged exposure to low temperatures. As a rule, the paws and ears of pets are most susceptible to hypothermia. The highest chance of developing frostbite in rabbits after birth, especially in cases where the nest is poorly insulated, and the temperature around is low.


  • the first degree of frostbite is characterized by swelling and soreness of the affected area;
  • the second is characterized by the formation of blisters with a clear liquid inside, which burst within a few days, and in their place appear ulcers that do not heal for a long time;
  • necrosis of frostbitten areas of the skin, wrinkling and drying of the tissues under it – a sign of the third degree of frostbite.


  • move the animal to a warm room, let it dry and lubricate the affected area of ​​​​the body with camphor ointment (1%), pork fat or petroleum jelly;
  • open the blisters, remove the liquid and lubricate the affected areas of the skin with camphor, zinc or iodine ointment;
  • Remove dead tissue, and treat the resulting wound like any other.


Immediately after heatstroke, the rabbit behaves agitatedly. He is shivering and looking for a cool place.


  • complete loss of appetite and refusal of water;
  • the appearance of shortness of breath and rapid, intermittent breathing;
  • high body temperature – 40 degrees or more.


  • at the first symptoms of heat stroke from direct sunlight, move the animal to the shade;
  • cool the body of the rabbit gradually – a sharp change in temperature can damage an already weakened body;
  • put a towel soaked in cold water on the rabbit, moisten the paws and scruff;
  • if the animal refuses to drink, then carefully, drop by drop, pour in non-cold water;
  • take your pet to the veterinarian, remembering to take care of the cool temperature in the car.

Veterinarian examining a rabbit


Allergies often develop when the animal is given a wide variety of succulent foods: broccoli, apples, green grass, etc. Dust, hay dust, sawdust, strong odors can also cause allergic reactions.


  • the animal itches and refuses to feed;
  • a runny nose appeared, the nose is excessively wet;
  • increased lacrimation.

Help: eliminate possible allergens.


Rabbit ingestion of pesticides, fertilizers, cyanides, urea, and other herbal chemicals invariably results in poisoning. From household “chemicals” the animal can be poisoned by table salt.


  • depressed state of the pet;
  • refusal to feed;
  • urge to vomit;
  • excessive salivation;
  • discoloration of the mucous membranes;
  • wobbly gait;
  • muscle cramps;
  • behavior change.


  1. Stop the flow of toxic substances into the rabbit’s body.
  2. As an antidote, use fresh milk 2-3 tablespoons 3-4 times a day.
  3. Cleanse the gastrointestinal tract with laxatives or enemas. Carlsbad salt and calomel are used as laxatives.
  4. To prevent the absorption and entry of poison into the pet’s blood, give activated charcoal or animal charcoal, and after half an hour – laxatives.

Wrong diet

Most often, loss of appetite in rabbits is caused by an improperly formed diet. The nutrition of rabbits should combine both green juicy food and dry feeding. If a pet is fed exclusively with fruits and vegetables without adding hay and other roughage to the menu, then the problem of refusing food is almost inevitable. The lack of fiber, which is contained in roughage, adversely affects the normal functioning of the digestive system.

Despite the loss of the rabbit’s desire to eat, the nutrients must continue to flow into the animal’s body. In this regard, the pet will have to be fed through force. The exception is complete blockage and slow movement in the intestines.

Regardless of the age and sex of the rabbit, hay and natural plant foods (dry and fresh) should be the basis of his diet, and fruits and vegetables should be only additional food and treats.

rabbits eat grass

state of stress

Rabbits are quite sensitive and gentle creatures, sharply reacting to everything that happens around them. Their inherent fearfulness leads to the fact that a variety of external influences can be the cause of animal stress.

A sudden change in environment, a new owner, a loud and harsh sound, rough handling, a sudden flash of light, other pets can all frighten a rabbit to the point that he will not be interested in food for a long time.

Stress food withdrawal usually lasts only a few hours. Having calmed down, the pet again begins to crunch the offered food with appetite.


Mechanical injury to a rabbit, such as a bruise or wound, can lead to anorexia. The cause is not so much the damage itself, but the stress and pain experienced by the animal.

Finding out who is in charge in the enclosure often results in wounds on the animals’ bodies. Sharp edges of the mesh in faulty cages, nails sticking out of the boards and other potentially dangerous objects also cause bleeding and pain in the pet. To restore appetite, wounds must be promptly eliminated by stopping the blood and treating the wound with an antiseptic.

Swelling, bruising and pain indicate that the rabbit was hurt. To help, it will be enough to apply a cool bandage to prevent the development of a hematoma. As soon as the pain disappears, and the swelling subsides, the bruised area should be gently, without pressure, massaged with fingertips.

Bruises in the region of the spine, displacement of the vertebrae and pinched nerves of the spinal cord are not a reason to self-medicate. In this case, it is better to go with your pet to a veterinary clinic.

Diseases of the oral cavity

The teeth of lagomorphs grow throughout life, and sometimes this process does not go right. Refusal to eat may indicate diseases of the oral cavity of rabbits: malocclusion, growth of the root part, abscesses and suppuration.


  • furrows on the teeth and their darkening;
  • salivation;
  • lacrimation;
  • gnashing of teeth;
  • the formation of tubercles on the lower or upper jaw;
  • increased temperature in the mouth of the animal or the whole body.

Help – Show your pet to the vet.

Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases caused by viruses and bacteria can cause a hunger strike. If you notice any suspicious symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Disease of the respiratory and digestive systems.


  • the rabbit does not eat or drink;
  • diarrhea occurs;
  • oppressive behavior.

oppressed rabbit


A disease caused by Escherichia coli.


  • refusal to eat and drink;
  • rapid weight loss;
  • diarrhea.


An acute infectious disease caused by microorganisms. The source of pasteurellosis is sick individuals, other animal species, and even human shoes and clothing.


  • increased body temperature;
  • diarrhea;
  • refusal to feed;
  • weakness;
  • coryza;
  • frequent and difficult breathing;
  • sneezing.

Why a rabbit sneezes and how to properly treat it – you will learn from this article.


The simplest microorganisms – coccidia – affect the intestines or liver. In the intestinal form, the clinical picture is more pronounced.


This article will tell you more about what coccidiosis is and how to treat it.

Why doesn’t the rabbit eat and drink?

Sometimes a female who has just given birth refuses to eat and drink, begins to grind her teeth and shake her head. The mother rabbit may become lethargic, stop moving, most of the time she tries to just lie down. As a rule, such signs indicate the appearance of scabies or infectious diseases.

Having experienced severe stress during childbirth, young females also lose their appetite. If, in addition, there are no more suspicious symptoms, the pet must be provided with peace and allowed to recover after the birth of offspring. As a rule, after a couple of hours, the appetite returns to normal, and the animal returns to normal.

Preventive measures

So that the pet’s appetite does not fade away, the rabbit breeder must follow a few simple preventive rules:

  1. Food. First of all, make sure that the rabbit receives enough hay and other coarse and hard food. It is important to monitor the amount of paper and cardboard eaten by the animal.
  2. Inspections. Any pet must be regularly examined and shown to the veterinarian. Visits to a specialist will help to diagnose and cure rabbit disease in time.
  3. Conditions of detention. The animals are in dire need of a fairly large space for running, playing and jumping. Walking contributes not only to the general health of the pet, but also allows you to spend calories and improve appetite.
  4. Communication. The rabbit is a sociable animal, and being alone in a cage for a long time does not make him happier. It is recommended to get him a companion or spend more time with the baby.

The sudden disappearance of a good appetite inherent in animals alarms any responsible owner. If a pet refuses food for more than half a day, this is a reason to sound the alarm and seek help, since many causes of loss of appetite lead to much more serious consequences.

The rabbit does not eat or drink anything: reasons and what to do
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Anna Evans


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