Rabbits might be small but they pack a lot of fluff onto those tiny bodies! It can be alarming when you check on your rabbit and find fur all over the place. PWhat can cause your rabbit to suddenly pull out fur and when should you seek veterinary care for this? A common reason for fur pulling is the instinct to make a nest. PWhen a rabbit is preparing for kits, her bodyPsecretes hormones that cause the fur on her sides belly to loosen. PThis makes it easier for her to pull the fur out and pile it in a nest. PIt should cause her little pain and the skin should not look raw or red. PShe will often also gather hay, leaves or other bedding materials to help line her nest. PWhen a doe, she is generally towards the end of her 31 day pregnancy and will likely give birth within a few days. PUnspayed females who live with no other rabbits or only other females or neutered males can experience false pregnancies. PThis can be a common occurrence with some rabbits and the only way to stop it is to get your rabbit spayed. PFalse pregnancies are not dangerous, but getting your rabbit spayed can also reduce the risk of some reproductive cancers so if you have no plans to breed your rabbits, it is a good idea.
PDuring a false pregnancy, your rabbit will build a nest and often her mammary glands will swell. PThe symptoms should only last a few days before she returns to normal behaviors. If your rabbit is left alone in her cage for most of the day she is likely to be both bored and stressed out. PRabbits need time and space to run, jump, dig and just be a rabbit. PStressed out and stuck in a tiny space with nothing to do, she could start pulling her fur out just for something to do. PTry to give her more time out of her cage and providing her with toys or boxes to play in (
). If your rabbit is pulling fur in patches it could be a sign that you are not grooming her enough. PEspecially with long haired rabbits, when they go through their shedding periods if you don t remove the fur well enough, they will start doing it themselves. PGive your bunny a good brushingPand hopefully the fur pulling will stop. PYou don t want them pulling out their own fur because not only could they injure their delicate skin, but they are also likely to ingest some fur which could become lodged in their digestive tract ( ).
Check your rabbit s skin by parting the fur to closely examine her skin. PMites, lice and fleas can all effect rabbits and could make her very itchy causing her to scratch off her fur. PRabbits have their own species of fleas (Spilopsyllus cuniculi), but can also catch the same fleas that live on your cats or dogs. PThankfully, external parasites on rabbits are not common, but if your rabbit has them it is best to consult a veterinarian for treatment. PYou should NOT use topical flea medicine meant for cats and dogs on your rabbit, it could have deadly results! Rabbits need a diet high in fiber. PIf they don t get enough fiber in their diet, they sometimes will look to their own fur as a fiber source. PYour rabbit should be eating a handful of fresh Timothy hay about the size of her body each day, as well as quality rabbit pellets and fresh greens. P( When should you seek medical care? Fur pulling can be distressing, but often by observing your rabbit can you determine the cause and hopefully remedy it. PIf your rabbit has raw, bleeding patches of skin a vet can prescribe medications to keep it from getting infected.
P If there are no obvious causes for your rabbit s fur pulling or if it has been going on for a couple weeks it would be a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. According to MediRabbit, rabbits may pull out their fur due to a stressful environment, annoying parasites, a crowded living area, boredom or it could be the time of year. Dr. Krempels says a rabbitвs loss of fur could be the result of parasites, dental problems, a urinary disorder, a bacterial infection, a false pregnancy, over-grooming, fighting or hormonal issues. A false pregnancy, also called a pseudopregnancy, can happen to a female, says MediRabbit, if a female rabbit lives alone, lives with neutered males or other females. MediRabbit also says that a false pregnancy is suggested when a rabbit pulls out her fur. According to Dr. Krempels, rabbits pull their fur out to build a nest for their young. It is a good idea to be watchful of a pet rabbitвs behavior; if the fur-pulling is stress-related, the owner should take steps to reduce the problem. A veterinarian should be consulted to ensure that the rabbit is healthy.