What leads to the death of adult rabbits and young rabbits?

Many novice rabbit breeders wonder why rabbits die. The organism of these animals is very sensitive to various infections and viruses. Therefore, it is important to know the main diseases of rabbits, to be able to distinguish their first signs, and also to carry out high-quality prevention in a timely manner.

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Infectious diseases

This type of disease leads to a large loss of livestock, as it spreads very quickly between them.


The disease affects animals older than two months. The fever is highly contagious, transmitted by airborne droplets, through wool and feces. Mortality is over 90%.

There is a latent form, in which rabbits are asymptomatic, and an acute form, which is characterized by lack of appetite, restlessness, lethargy, cramps in the limbs, and head tilt.

Animals may squeak intermittently because they are in pain, and nosebleeds are often present.

The disease leads to destruction of the liver, as well as pulmonary edema. Death occurs 1 to 3 days after infection. The cause of death is a lack of oxygen.

To prevent the onset of fever in rabbits, vaccination at 45 days of age is recommended. Adults can be re-vaccinated at any age. The vaccine is valid for 12 months.

Myxomatosis or plague

The disease is transmitted to rabbits through an insect bite. The main symptoms are copious discharge from the eyes and nose. With the aggravation of the condition, swelling appears in the nose, eyes and ears. Young individuals are more susceptible to this disease.

The danger of myxomatosis lies in the fact that the disease has a long incubation period (from 2 to 20 days). After the manifestation of the first symptoms, distemper develops rapidly and leads to the death of adults in 1,5-2 weeks. Young rabbits die within 7 days.

Myxomatosis spreads very rapidly among animals, so if several infected individuals are found, this indicates a massive defeat of all rabbits.

Distemper can only be prevented by timely vaccination.


The danger of this disease lies in its rapid spread, which leads to mass mortality of livestock within 2 days. Symptoms include a runny nose and decreased appetite.

The mortality rate of rabbits from pasteurellosis ranges from 15 to 75%. Mortality depends on the quality of animal care. In the acute form of the disease, the rabbit has an increase in body temperature, which is accompanied by a runny nose and shortness of breath. In the absence of treatment, the animal dies up to 2 days.

In the case of the chronic form, there is a runny nose and conjunctivitis, loose stools, less often ulcers under the skin. With this form, the percentage of surviving rabbits in the case of timely veterinary care is higher.

Antibiotics Levomycetin or Biomycin are used for treatment.


Coccidiosis is caused by parasitic protozoan unicellular organisms. Symptoms are quite bright, which facilitates the process of diagnosis. Animals have a swollen abdomen with insufficient weight, as well as a lack of appetite. Transmitted through food and water.

Coccidiosis is successfully treated with antibiotics and improved living conditions. If the rabbit has good immunity, then his body copes with the disease on its own.

There are two treatment regimens:

  • 0,01% solution of iodine per 100 g of body weight of an adult animal, for rabbits the dose is reduced by half;
  • a solution of a sulfanilamide preparation, used 2 times a day for 5 days in a row.

medicine for the rabbit


In rabbits, this disease is rare. The routes of transmission include the bites of sick animals.

The symptoms of rabies are:

  • excessive activity;
  • aggression;
  • biting yourself;
  • uncharacteristic sounds;
  • lack of appetite;
  • refusal of water;
  • violation of the swallowing reflex;
  • increased salivation.

With the further development of rabies, the rabbit reacts painfully to bright lighting, convulsions and paralysis of the limbs, coma and death appear.

The disease is incurable today and poses a threat to human life. Vaccination is the only way to fight rabies.


Carriers of the disease are rats, fleas and ticks. Such an ailment is almost asymptomatic, the only sign of tularemia is a lack of appetite. With the aggravation of the disease, suppuration occurs in the lymph nodes of the animal, which rupture and infect the blood. A sick rabbit dies after 2-4 days from blood poisoning or dehydration.


It is one of the most dangerous diseases that spread rapidly among animals. Higher chance of death in young rabbits and in immunocompromised adults.

A characteristic sign of the disease is the presence of papules in the head, abdomen and genitals. The body temperature rises significantly, the animal is lethargic.


The factors provoking this disease include viruses, dust and vapors of harmful substances. Rhinitis affects the nasal mucosa and, if left untreated, causes inflammation in the lungs. A characteristic symptom is discharge from the nose, rabbits try to rub their nose with their paws. Lethal outcome in the absence of treatment occurs within 7-14 days from the onset of rhinitis.

For the treatment of such a disease, a solution of furacilin is used (2 tablets per half glass of water). The solution is injected into the nose 5 times a day for 14 days, an additional complex of vitamins is used. For treatment, an intramuscular injection of Fosprenil is also used.

In the chronic form, the use of Penicillin, Tetracycline and Metronidazole is prescribed. In the treatment of antibiotics, the use of prebiotics is additionally recommended.

Non-communicable diseases

In addition to diseases of infectious origin, there are non-contagious diseases that also lead to mass extinction of livestock.


The cause of flatulence in rabbits is malnutrition (excess of fresh grass, moldy food, poor quality food). The disease causes an imbalance in the intestines, which leads to severe bloating of the animal and can cause death.

To prevent flatulence, the diet of rabbits should be balanced. To alleviate the condition of the animal, you need to transfer it to dry food and reduce the daily rate by 2 times.

Rabbits eat dry food

It is desirable to replace water with calcined chamomile infusion.

To relieve spasm, antispasmodic and sedatives are used. In the future, anti-fermentation drugs are used to prevent deterioration of the animal’s condition. In the absence of positive dynamics, injections of glucose and cardiac drugs are carried out. To relieve pain, painkillers are used, for example, No-shpu.


If the norms for keeping rabbits are not observed (cramped cages, large holes, protruding nails, etc.), injuries occur in animals. These include fractures, dislocations, lacerations, which can lead to infections and death.

Attention should also be paid to the inside of the cells. The walls should be even, smooth, the nails should be well bent, the holes in the cage should be small so that the rabbits cannot stick their limbs through.


Lack of vitamins in the body of a rabbit leads to serious illness and death. The development of this condition occurs through the lack of a balanced diet or a violation of the microflora due to the uncontrolled use of antibiotics.

Experts have identified several types of beriberi, which are most common in rabbits:

  1. Lack of vitamin A. It affects young animals, leads to growth retardation, pathologies in the development of bone and epithelial tissue, as well as disorders in the organs of vision. Signs include conjunctivitis with pronounced symptoms. When neglected, the risk of death increases significantly. To eliminate symptoms, it is necessary to increase the amount of carrots, alfalfa and clover in the diet. In the cold season, use high-quality hay, silage, kale and carrots. Additionally, fish oil can be included in the diet.
  2. Lack of vitamin D. It occurs exclusively in young individuals due to impaired metabolism of phosphorus and calcium. Leads to pathologies of bone tissue. Signs are various curvature of the bones and the general sluggish state of the rabbit. This type of beriberi can also lead to death. For treatment, fish oil, fodder chalk and phosphorus flour are introduced into the diet of rabbits.
  3. Vitamin E deficiency. With this variety, mortality reaches more than 80% of young rabbits. Symptoms are practically absent, newborn animals die in the first two weeks of life without signs of illness. Young animals become lethargic, lose their appetite. A lack of vitamin E leads to infertility in females. For prevention, it is recommended to add food rich in vitamin E (alfalfa, sprouted grain, clover) to the diet of rabbits.

More information about the necessary vitamins for rabbits can be found here.


Rabbits are very sensitive to temperature changes. In the cold season, at temperatures below 15-16 ° C, hypothermia occurs, which leads to colds in animals. Symptoms include swelling and redness of the ears, as well as lethargy in the rabbit.

In case of hypothermia, it is necessary to put a bottle of warm water next to the animal, after wrapping it with a cloth. Experts do not recommend moving a frozen animal to a warm room, since a sharp temperature drop can lead to death.

Heat or sunstroke

Too high room temperature leads to heat stroke. Symptoms are rapid breathing, fatigue, rabbits lying on their side.

Rabbit lying on its side

This condition is accompanied by redness of the mucous membranes and is aggravated by convulsions, which lead to death. And first of all, you should provide the animal with access to fresh air and a cool place. It is possible to apply a cold compress, and in severe cases, the use of homeopathic and homotoxicological preparations is recommended.

Other reasons

Ticks. In addition to diseases, animals are affected by ticks that are localized in the ears. In the presence of such parasites, the rabbit behaves restlessly, scratches its ears, and upon examination, you can see red spots, which are bite marks. If left untreated, animals experience severe hair loss, signs of exhaustion and death. Ticks are successfully removed with special preparations.

Mastitis. Females during lactation can get sick with mastitis. The reason is the lack of timely cleaning in the cage. Such an ailment leads to sepsis and death of the animal.

Wrong diet. An improperly selected diet or inappropriate and poor-quality food can lead to irreversible disturbances in the functioning of the digestive system. When feeding rabbits with fresh grass, it is necessary to carefully examine the feed for the absence of celandine, buttercup and narcissus. It is also forbidden to feed animals with white bread, white cabbage, citrus fruits and nuts. The diet should contain all the minerals and vitamins necessary for the rabbit.

Why do rabbits die?

Rabbits die from a variety of diseases, since their immunity is still very weak and cannot fully resist most ailments.


The reason for the development of staphylococcus aureus in rabbits is the lack of timely cleaning in the cage. The disease is divided into several types:

  1. Septicopia. It affects rabbits in the first days of life. Symptoms are ulcers on the body. Death occurs a few days after infection.
  2. Wandering pyemia. This form is characterized by the formation of abscesses under the skin or on the internal organs of the animal. In some cases, such an abscess can occur on the inside of the eyeball, which is fraught with its protrusion.
  3. General septicemia. With this variety, bacteria infect the entire body of rabbits, abscesses occur in any organ, in case of damage to the peritoneum, death is inevitable. Symptoms include heavy breathing, weakness, and fever.

Low temperatures

The low temperature in the rabbitry in the presence of newborns in it leads to the death of the young due to hypothermia, since the body of the rabbits is not able to regulate body temperature. Therefore, young animals can easily freeze to death. Therefore, to prevent such a problem, you should take care of the normal temperature in the cells. In the cold season, it is necessary to equip the rabbitry with heating systems. You also need to monitor the absence of drafts in the room.

Improper diet

For the proper development of rabbits, you should take care of a balanced diet of a nursing female, since a violation of lactation in a rabbit or a lack of all the necessary substances in milk leads to the death of offspring.

There are times when the female refuses to feed the rabbits, then you need to keep the female until the newborns are satisfied with milk. Such procedures are carried out until the rabbit recognizes her offspring and begins to feed him herself.


The first sign of such a disease is creaking of the teeth. With the development of stomatitis, salivation and swelling of the oral cavity is added. The danger of the disease lies in the inability of rabbits to fully eat due to pain.

The disease affects young animals aged 3 weeks to 3 months. To prevent stomatitis, you should regularly clean the cages and inspect the oral cavity of the rabbits.

Checking the teeth of a rabbit

Infectious diseases

Rabbits suffer from the same infectious diseases as adults. The problem is that the mortality rate in young animals is much higher and almost equal to 100% in the event of a disease.

To prevent infection, vaccination should be carried out in a timely manner and newborn rabbits should be kept separately from adults. This approach will help reduce the likelihood of infection of young animals with infectious diseases.

How to determine the cause and distinguish a healthy rabbit from a sick one?

Many diseases in rabbits often have blurred or similar symptoms. The only common symptom is the deteriorating state of health of the animal. In order to notice the slightest changes in the behavior of rabbits in time, regular examinations of each animal should be carried out.

Experts recommend such activities before mating, during the pregnancy of the female and after the appearance of the rabbits. It is necessary to examine newborn individuals daily for 14 days, then carry out such procedures every week.

Many ailments are successfully treated in the initial stages, so it is very important to notice the signs in time and not delay the use of medications.

For beginner rabbit breeders, experts have identified a number of signs by which a healthy animal can be distinguished from a sick one.

Healthy rabbit first of all active, has a normal appetite, the coat is shiny and even. Eyes and nose are clean without discharge, breathing is measured. In a healthy individual, normal body temperature ranges from 38,5 to 39,5 degrees, the pulse rate is 120-160 beats per minute.

You should also pay attention to the structure and color of excrement, since in some ailments their change is a symptom.

The normal feces of a healthy rabbit are black or dark brown, pea-shaped. Urine, depending on the food, may vary slightly in shade. It is dark, when fed with carrots – orange, beets – red.

To the signs sick rabbit refer to previously uncharacteristic behavior. The animal may lie with its eyes closed or vice versa be too active.

One of the first alarming symptoms is discharge from the nose and eyes, sometimes purulent. Violations of normal stools and a change in the color of urine also indicate that not everything is in order with the animal.

With some diseases in rabbits, hair falls out a lot. Affected individuals have heavy breathing, sometimes rapid, loss of appetite and thirst. Various formations on or under the skin, as well as trembling and convulsions, indicate the disease.

If you have any of the above symptoms, you should immediately seek help from specialists, as timely treatment will help to avoid mass loss of livestock. And it is almost impossible to determine the exact cause on your own.

Rabbit at the vet

preventive measures

To prevent many diseases in rabbits, it is necessary to comply with the norms for their maintenance. In the cage, it is desirable to install an additional cover in the lower part – this will make it easier to clean it from feces and food debris.

To prevent injuries, do not equip the floor with gratings, as animals can fall through and get injured. With the mandatory cleaning of all cages, disinfectants are used that do not pose a danger to rabbits.

In the rabbitry, it is necessary to take care of good air circulation and get rid of drafts. To prevent the reproduction of various parasites, the remains of uneaten food should be removed daily and the water in the drinkers should be changed.

Vaccination is a prerequisite for preventing most dangerous diseases. Distemper vaccination is done at the age of 1,5 months with a mandatory repetition in a year. The vaccine against myxomatosis is administered to rabbits older than 1 month. Specialists in the field of veterinary medicine have created complex vaccines that can minimize the risk of developing most diseases in rabbits for up to 12 months after administration.

It is possible to vaccinate only a healthy animal in a certain period of time and with a high-quality preparation.

Rabbits can die for various reasons. This mainly includes infectious diseases, bacterial diseases, as well as non-compliance with maintenance standards. For prevention, regular vaccinations of healthy animals, cleaning of the rabbitry and monitoring the slightest changes in the well-being of animals should be carried out.

What leads to the death of adult rabbits and young rabbits?
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Anna Evans


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