Not Emergent But Still Important

Recognizing early signs of health conditions and diseases

Authored by:

Edited by:

Jacqueline Arndt

Sarah Erickson and Carrie Oswald

Conjunctivitis, glaucoma, ulcers, cataracts and other eye problems


  • You may notice discharge or watering of the eye

  • Keeping the eye closed or the third eyelid may remain closed or more present than normal

  • Swelling or redness of the eyelids

  • Fur loss near the eye

  • Can you see any spots or clouding of the eye?


Weakness or soreness in any limb/paw, sprain, strain, broken nail, arthritis, etc. –


  • This is not to be confused with loss of function or inability to use a limb – if your rabbit is unable or unwilling to use a limb or paw this is an emergency situation!

  • Is it one limb or more?

  • Only front legs or hind legs?

  • Is it better or worse with activity or change with time of day?

  • Was there an incident that caused it?


Abscesses, masses and their friends –


  • How quickly did it show up? Was it gradual or sudden?

  • Is there fur loss?

  • Does it feel soft or hard? Does it feel solid or fluid filled?

  • Does it move easily?

  • Is there discharge? Take note of the discharge.

  • Where on the body is it?

  • Does the mass have an opening?

  • Do not try to squeeze, pop, or otherwise remove any lump or mass.


Tooth issues –


  • Are we eating slower than we used to?

  • Are we drooling while eating?

  • Are we only eating certain foods but leaving others? (A common indicator or molar issues is the bunny will begin eating only easily chewed foods while leaving more difficult foods like hay behind)

  • Are we leaving a lot of ground up dust in our pellet bowls?

  • Are you able to see differences or issues in our front teeth? Have they grown out of the mouth or into the nasal area?


Ear issues –


  • Are we struggling to clean our ears? This is a common sign of arthritis in our furry friends!

  • Are we producing more wax than we used to?

  • Has the discharge in our ears changed color or consistency?

  • Is there a new or foul odor coming from the ears?

  • Is there scabbing, scaling or mites present in the ears?


Any usual behavior, the slang term for this is ADR or “Ain’t doin’ right”. You know your bunny best, if you have a feeling – trust it! It is always better to have them checked and have a laugh if it turns out to be nothing rather than put it off and find out it was something serious later on!