Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in Rabbits

Published: July 12th, 2022
Last Updated: May 7th, 2023
Written By: Bradly Spicer
Urinary Tract

A common issue that comes up with rabbit pee is a urinary tract infection (UTI). A UTI also known as Cystitis is when a bladder is inflamed as a result of a bacterial infection.

UTIs are serious and should be consulted with your veterinarian immediately. A UTI can cause urinating to become uncomfortable and painful which can lead to GI Stasis as your rabbit will no longer be eating.

What causes a UTI?

UTIs are usually caused by bacteria that inflame the bladder, this can come from a multitude of reasons. For example, bladder stones, blood clots, and fecal bacteria entering the urinary tract.

Alternatively, UTIs can occur due to damage to the bladder & ureter or cancerous growths within that area.

Other reasons your rabbit may get a UTI include:

  • Obesity
  • Small living quarters
  • Hydration / Lack of clean water
  • Unclean living space
  • Excessive Calcium in their diet
  • Lack of exercise

Signs your rabbit may have a UTI

Symptoms of a rabbit having a UTI infection vary and cannot be specified into one absolute answer, this is why it’s crucial to regularly check on your rabbit and watch their behavior. Some of the signs of a Urinary Tract Infection are:

  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Increase in Urination
  • Calcium in Urine
  • Cloudy-looking urine, or urine that appears thicker than normal
  • Hunched-over
  • Lethargic
  • Lack of urinating
  • Weight Loss
  • Pain (Teeth Grinding)
Signs your rabbit has a UTI infection

How can I prevent a UTI?

Assuming your rabbit doesn’t have a cancerous growth, UTIs can be prevented relatively easily following these steps:

  • Ensure your rabbit’s water is clean or purified
  • Give your rabbit regular dark leafy greens
  • Clean your rabbit’s litter box regularly
  • Play with your rabbit daily to encourage exercise
  • Massage your rabbit’s bladder
  • Increase water intake

How do I get a UTI Diagnosis?

The best route to get a diagnosis of a UTI is to take your rabbit to a veterinarian as soon as possible, they will be about to give your rabbit a complete checkup along with blood and urine analysis.

These tests will show any infections your rabbit may have and their urine will show signs of any potential issues such as excessive calcium, blood in urine, clots, or blockages in their urinary tract.

During these checks, your vet will likely look for other issues such as bladder infections, bladder stones, kidney stones & tumors.

You may find that your rabbit will need an Ultrasound, Regular X-Ray, and Contract X-Ray of their bladder or urethra, this is done by feeding or injecting a liquid known as barium which shows up via X-Rays. Barium is considered safe with no need for an anesthetic or tranquilizer.

We didn’t see any side effects after administration of barium sulfate in the rabbits. Based on our results in this survey, barium sulfate can be used for evaluation of GI tract in the affected rabbits in comparison with normal cases.

Moarabi A.A.V., Mosalanezhad Bahman, Ghadiri A.R.

During the process of Barium entering your rabbit, your vet will be able to examine the route that the chemical takes through your rabbit. This will help identify any obstructions or issues such as Kidney Stones or Infections.

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