Aging Rabbits: What to Expect

As your rabbit ages, you'll notice some things seem different than when your pet was younger. Maybe their coat has dulled or they just seem less active. So long as these things are gradual changes, there's probably not much cause for alarm. Rabbits get old, just like any other animal. Sadly, that means it'll be time to say goodbye sooner rather than later.

In the sunset of your pet's life, just be there for them no matter what's going on.

Soreness and Injury

The elder rabbit is more prone to injury than the younger. This is largely because of problems concerning uptake of vitamins, minerals and stress to the system. As stated in the intro, every plant and animal on this planet has a finite time available. It's simply how life is. As they draw closer to the end, things that were once simple become more difficult.

Perhaps your rabbit has a favorite perch within their cage but they've been having trouble getting to it lately. Give them a carpeted ramp to walk up. This allows them better grip. I also usually allow their claws to get a touch longer if this is the case, that way they can use those points to help them on the carpeted surface.

Teeth Problems

Teeth problems can come from a variety of causes. Like soreness, it may start out as an absorption problem. However, teeth growing around the back of the throat because the rabbit no longer wants to wear them down is a very common issue with older rabbits. Tooth rot is also common at this stage of life, which definitely creates problems with regard to wanting to wear down teeth. Nobody wants to chew when it hurts their mouth. If you notice your rabbit's teeth are off-kilter, get to a vet as soon as you can.

Cancer

While cancer is a noted problem within the rabbit community, it is not as bad as one may think in the neutered rabbit. Those with rabbits over 3 years of age that are intact are likely to develop cancer of the reproductive organs. If the rabbit does not have those parts, it cannot get cancer in them.

Other cancers usually appear as adrenal cancer or internal cancers that simply make the rabbit drop a lot of weight out of nowhere. Benign cysts also become a problem, especially around the mouth.

Other Issues That May Arise

If you have bred your rabbit in the past, please consider having your rabbit spayed as she reaches the 2.5-3 year mark. It isn't just because of cancer. Certain breeds have problems with uterine prolapse, which is simply a nightmare to walk in on and deal with for both you and your pet. Most does should not be bred past 4 years of age, anyway, due to the stress it puts on their system.

Additionally, contact a vet immediately if your rabbit's eyes experience any darkness or cloudiness. Blindness in rabbits can be fatal due to the resulting stress.


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