Diarrhea

What is it, what causes it, what to watch for and what to do!

Authored by:

Edited by:

Jacqueline Arndt

Sarah Erickson, Carrie Oswald, and Terri Harris

Before we do a deep dive into Diarrhea it is important to note that this is an illness that requires emergency care. Any suggestions made below or by volunteers is not a replacement for medical care and should never be treated as such.


What is it, what causes it and what do I watch for?


Diarrhea can sometimes be tricky for owners to understand as rabbit droppings can take a few different forms. In this case we are specifically concerned about loose, liquid stools – not the squishy, smelly droppings that look like bunches of grapes (known as cecotropes or night droppings) or the slightly mushy droppings that sometimes happen with dietary issues. In this case we are concerned with feces that has no discernable form or stability. Diarrhea rarely shows up on it its own but rather as a symptom of another issue.


What to do!


With cats, dogs, and human kids we can often wait and see if diarrhea clears up on its own, but with bunnies this isn’t an option. Rabbits dehydrate quickly, and dehydration can cause material to slow in the digestive tract resulting in GI Stasis. To avoid complications, it is best to get straight to your vet.


  • Place your rabbit in a carrier, and if they are bonded make sure their mate is along for the ride.

  • Contact your designated rabbit savvy daily/emergency facility. Facilities with rabbit experience should understand the severity of diarrhea in rabbits but in the off chance you get a newer/training team member do not take no as an answer, if they try to schedule you for tomorrow or the next day ask to speak to another team member. You are your rabbit’s greatest advocate, do not be afraid to be pushy!


If for whatever reason you are unable to get into your designated facilities right away, you may contact the RMHRR 24-Hour Healthline (https://www.rmhrr.org/rabbit-emergency-information) and we will offer advice until you can get your bunny to an emergency vet appointment.


*We are not licensed veterinarians, and cannot offer medical treatment*


  • When transporting your bunnies from your home to your vehicle it is important to prewarm/precool your vehicle and ensure they are placed securely, with the carrier crossways, in the back seat. A slow, calm, and steady trip to the veterinarian is much less stressful than a speedy, chaotic trip. The last thing a sick bunny needs is to sit in the car while you deal with a speeding ticket or fender bender.

  • Treatment of diarrhea in rabbits can vary widely based on the underlying cause, if you are ever unsure or concerned about the course of treatment do not hesitate to reach out to RMHRR.