Pet rabbits can be afflicted with a variety of diseases and health conditions, many of which can be safely addressed with natural home remedies. If your rabbit is suffering from constipation/wool block, eye infections, ear infections, parasites such as fleas and mange, or other illnesses and conditions please consider the user tips below for caring for your bunny.
Rabbit Care: Rabbits need plenty of water, some veggies and greens in addition to rabbit feed, and amusements to keep them stimulated and happy.
Home Remedies: For conjunctivitis and other eye issues, rabbit owners often use echinacea (dietary or as an eye drop) or chamomile drops to soothe and restore eye health. Pumpkin mash can be used to help restore digestive health in a rabbit with constipation or wool block.
Critical Care, Pumpkin
[YEA] 01/10/2009: Jessi from Fairfield, IA: "It's a serious matter if a rabbit stops eating. They need constant roughage going through them, or they'll die. If your rabbit loses its appetite and its poop pellets get small and dry or stop coming, it is a sign of wool block. Some readers here call it "constipation," but that's not what it really is.
[01/05/2009: Joyce from Arcadia, CA, USA writes: "I WILL TRY THE PUMPKIN FOR MY SAD CONSTIPATED BUNNY. I HOPE IT WORKS."]
It's actually much like hairballs in cats, only since bunnies can't vomit, the fur can get stuck inside their gut and actually kill them. You have to get the gastric track moving again as soon as you see this problem start. If your bunny stops pooping, or if her pellets are starting to look small and dry, that's a sign she's blocking up. Lack of appetite is another symptom.
My vet, who is a rabbit specialist, has me keep a product called "Critical Care" on hand for wool block emergencies. This is even better than the pumpkin treatment. I get my Critical Care from my vet but you can probably get it online or at your pet food store, especially if you ask for it. You mix a little of this stuff with water, suck it up into a big syringe (one about the size of your middle finger, being sure to remove the needle and toss it in the trash before you work with the bunny!). Then you put the plastic tip of the syringe into the side of the bunny's mouth and VERY SLOWLY squeeze out a little at a time. They will like this and swallow it, if you don't disperse it too fast. Wait a few seconds between each dispersal. Only give about a couple teaspoons for each dose, then wait about three hours and do it again.
Pumpkin can be fed the same way if your bunny has wool block. Make sure you use pure 100% canned pumpkin NOT canned pumpkin PIE filling, which has spices in it and could hurt your bun! I've found the Critical Care quickly eliminates wool block (you give it 4 to 6 times a day until they start eating and pooping normally again). I used to do the pumpkin treatment until I found the Critical Care, and pumpkin worked pretty well, but failed to work with one bunny who I almost lost to wool block on account of "pumpkin failure." I brought her to the vet in time (you've only got a couple of days to save them if they stop eating), who gave her Critical Care, and the bun was fine in just a couple of hours. Believe me, this stuff is AMAZING.
The vet said my buns get wool block because I wasn't feeding them exactly right. In my case, it was too many vegetables. Now that I'm feeding the right diet and giving them more exercise, they've been doing fine. (Exercise and plenty of water are important for maintaining intestinal motility - the constant movement through of food. So is brushing them when they're shedding.)
Right diet for a rabbit means unlimited quantities of timothy hay (or orchard grass) always available to the rabbit (you can get this at a pet store but ordering it online is much cheaper. In some parts of the country, feed stores sell timothy.) You also have to feed about a half cup of fresh vegies a day for a medium-sized rabbit (3/4 to 1 cup a day for a giant breed). Certain vegies, though, will kill bunnies if fed over time, so choose from the "safe vegie list": green pepper, collard greens, swiss chard, parsley (a little), cucumber (a little), cilantro, endive, mustard greens, lettuce (NOT iceberg), carrots (only a small slice a few times a week), broccoli (only a tiny flowerette a couple times a week), certain weeds including dandelions, chickweed and plantain (if not subject to exhaust fumes from cars). Visit www.rabbit.org for the full list of diet do's and don'ts. You can supplement this diet with a bit of daily timothy pellets, available from Oxbow (NOT alfalfa pellets - these are only for babies, and fed long enough they can kill an adult).
Make sure your bun has unlimited access to water - a crock is ideal for most bunnies, as they can then drink all they want. I put 3 drops of vinegar in my rabbits' water, and now they love drinking.
In case anyone reading this has a pet bunny living in a cage, please know that buns can easily be litterbox-trained and make wonderful house pets. I have house bunnies living happily alongside my two house cats. You have to introduce them to each other gradually, of course. All sorts of tips on how to make your rabbit a successful house bunny are available on www.rabbit.org, the website of the nonprofit organization called House Rabbit Society. If it weren't for them, my buns would have been dead by now. I made so many mistakes at first, having no one to show me. I have six precious buns, and I've had 5 of them for six years. Most buns only live a year as pets, studies show, because owners make mistakes with their diet or other errors with these delicate creatures. It's very easy to keep bunnies if you're taught how to do it, and very easy to lose them if you're not. Check out that website and also the chat room "Etherbun." Between those two places, you'll find all the info you need. There are some snotty people on Etherbun, though. Don't let them hurt your feelings if one of them gets nasty. Just visit there for your bunnies, learn what you can for their sake, and don't let the bullies get to you.
02/04/2011: Carolyn from Houston, Tx replies: "Can ACV be used to clean rabbits? I know it's ok for cats, dogs and horses. Also, adding 3 drops of vinegar to bunny's water - regular vinegar or acv?"
09/21/2012: Erica from South Pasadena, Ca replies: "Jessi from Fairfield, IA, Your advice saved my rabbit! You wrote this in 2009. It is the best advice I ever saw, after reading many blogs, web sites, and information on rabbits.
My rabbit stopped eatting, pooping, peeing, and drinking. I saw your advice, and made a vet appointment to get "critical care" from my vet. My vets protocol was X-rays, blood tests, & weighing my rabbit. He never looked at the poop samples, nor listened to my suggestion of using critical care. I said "no" to the X-rays, and blood test. Why spend all tha money, cause even if they found something, the survival rate of a rabbit getting operated on is not optimal.
My vet wanted me to ground up timothy hay in a blender, until it is powder, and mix with water, to feed by seringe. This sounds great in theory. But the reality is timothy does grind up into powder, with alot of tiny splinter size pieces that clog any size seringe. I even used a horse size seringe, and the timothy would clog. I went back to the vet and purchased the critical care in apple bannan flavor. The next step was getting this into my rabbit who fought like a tiger. I wrapped my rabbit in a towel, grabbed her jaw (gently) from behind her ears, so she couldn't bite me, and fed her. Once she had the seringe in her mouth she did great. With in less than 24 hrs my rabbit was peeing & pooping. And 12 hours after that her appetite came back. Also when using critical care, I offfered my rabbit water often. Critical care absorbs a lot of water. I even gave water by seringe to keep my rabbit hydrated.
I am grateful for this web site, and the good advice that saved my 3 month old rabbit.
THANK YOU JESSI
Erica from South Pasadena Ca Sept 20, 2012"
09/24/2012: Patti G from Southgate, Michigan U.s.a. replies: "This message is for Jessi, IA, what great information you have given all of us and this website is wonderful. I found it by accident, while looking for information on a possible flea problem or dry skin patches on my Newfoundland. I had two bunnies at different times years ago and never knew all that I have read here. They both passed, too young. Back then there were no computers and the vets don't always know about Bunnies. I never knew about all the neat things you could feed bunnies, just gave them Timothy Hay and the kibble for them. I don't like going to vets as they $$$$ you to death. My three dogs all died too young following their advise, and not getting enough information from them and those darn shots they push on them all at once. I prefer homeopathic even for myself. I know have my daughters two bunnies and decided to look up homeopathic for them and what to feed domestic bunnies. Your wonderful and so is this site. Wish it had been available when I had the other Bunnies. I just love animals. Right now my Daughter is staying with me, my Granddaughter and her dog and the Bunnies, I have a Newfoundland and three cats and her cats are at my Mom's house and her frog. Its a zoo, but I love it. Take care and God Bless. Love the animals, we are their voice."
12/10/2008: Nancy from Wonder Lake, IL. USA: "Recently my 9 year old rabbit has a ear infection, I took him to the vet he prescribed antibiotics.,no cure so far just started with antibiotics."Replies
12/23/2008: Jessi from Fairfield, IA replies: "Make sure you're taking your bunny to a vet who sees a lot of rabbits. Most vets are not trained in treating bunnies, and when they attempt it, they can actually hurt them. I don't know about the ear infection you mention, but I do know one of my pet buns had some kind of bugs or parasites in his ears, and my rabbit vet flushed them with something. Visit the Etherbun online forum to ask your rabbit health questions. Some of the people who write in there are pretty snotty, but it's the rabbit health forum on the web. Lots of knowledgable people, including some rabbit vets, respond to readers' questions. Another great source of rabbit health information is the archives at http://www.rabbit.org That's the website for The House Rabbit Society, a nonprofit dedicated to informing owners about proper bunny care. Excellent source for answers to questions about all kinds of things."
12/25/2008: June from KC, KS replies: "Try a few drops of h202 in your pet's filtered water. My cats love it."
07/27/2009: Crystal from Brownwood, Tx replies: "I have raised rabbits for about 15 years, when they get ear mites I use a medicine dropper and put about 15 drops of olive oil in each ear. You will have to hold the ear and kind of massage it down in the ear. As the oil is running down the ear, the rabbit will try to shake the oil out. Keep this up until the mites are gone."
12/23/2011: Anna Nikki from Toronto, Ont replies: "Goldenseal tincture is a homeopathic antibiotic you can use for your pets and humans it is good for upper and lower body infections such as ear, nose, urinary tract, headtilt and other illnesses where antibiotics are needed."
[YEA] 01/06/2009: Dottie from Boca Raton, Florida: "For my Rabbits I take 4 capsules of Echinacea to one gallon of water and boil cool and refrigerator each day i put 1/4 cup in there drinking bottle water fill with fillter water boost their immune function."
11/28/2010: Carolv from West Babylon, Ny, Usa: "Just wanted to share this with everyone. My Rabbit ( Boo) had a runny eye which was red and irritated. I had ruled out that it did not have sniffles. Boo showed no signs of it. I looked on this website and read about the wonders of apple cider vinegar and put some which was diluted with water on the back of his neck. This worked wonders as Boo's temperament started to come back to his perky self. However his eye was not clearing up. So I began flushing out his eye with some warm water with baking soda and sea salt. I did this twice a day.
I then purchased "NFZ Puffer" which is made to clear eye infections in rabbits. The NFZ caused a fungal infection in the rabbits eye. I noticed a white cloudy fungus on the eye. I stopped using the NFZ Puffer and just flushed out the eye as I had been doing. I then used some "Tea Tree Oil"- one drop into a tablespoon of mineral oil and dabbed a little just under his eye which has cleared up the fungal infection along with all the redness. I do hope that this helps others who have animals with fungal infections of the eye. Better that antibiotics which can cause major problems in rabbits due to their digestive system."
04/01/2010: Wendie from Whittier, California: "I have a blind rabbit who has been getting treated by a vet for continuing on-going eye infection that hasn't been getting any better with the antibiotics, so I was wondering if there are any holistic medications that I could try to help boost his immunity.
Any help would be greatly appreciated."Replies
06/06/2010: Tina from Toledo, Ohio, Usa replies: "Try activated charcoal water in its eyes."
11/15/2011: Ashley from Storm Lake, Ia, Usa replies: "My 11-year-old miniature rex rabbit BreiiBreii has a bad eye infection, and has swelling near the eye. The vet thinks it's either glaucoma or a cyst. He gave bunny a shot to help with the swelling, and gave us some antibiotic ointment to apply near the eye, but it seems that bunny is going blind in that eye.
Anyone have a similar problem with their rabbit, and how did you treat it?
He was eating fine before he went to the vet, but now seems to be decreasing his intake. He's had blockages before, and we used the syringe technique with pumpkin puree, pineapple juice and gatorade. Would it be best to give him fruit juices (like apple and pineapple, his favorites) to get some fluids in him as he is not eating as much as he normally does?
It seems to me when rabbits stop eating it's very serious and usually means they are quite ill.
Any help would be great! Thank you."
11/22/2011: Vanillaspices from Whitman, Ma replies: "Hi I use to bred, sell, and show rabbits a long time ago. Have you tried bag balm? All the breeders out there know when their rabbits get injuried like a fly nests in their belly we all use bag balm. It has natural healing minerals and stuff in it to heal the wound and if the animal licks it they won't get sick.
Also you want to make sure that if they are not eating they are getting electrolytes. The last thing you need is for them to get dehydrated. We use to use a little gatorade mixed in the water just a teaspoon or two in a bowl of water every few hours until they were drinking normally. Also I would consider allowing the animal to have a few snacks that it likes just be aware not to over do it because it could get in the habit to refuse to go back to not eating any normal grain and too much electrolytes (from water and favorite treats) can make it have diarrhea. But a good balance is the key!"
12/06/2012: Smeagol from Murrieta, Ca: "I am looking for anyone who may be able to suggest a natural remedy to slow or stop the growth of a fibrosarcoma that is on my rabbit's lip. I have no idea about such things, but am hoping there is an effective plant that is not toxic to my bunny's internal health in case of ingestion by "licking", but can kill off aggressive fibrosarcoma cancer cells.
My sweet bunny, smeagol, just turned 3yrs old on Dec. 1, 2012. He's a mini-lop, blonde and about 7. 5 lbs. He lives indoors in my room, but not caged. In May 2012, I noticed a red bump on the outside middle tip of his upper left lip. Since rabbits upper lip is split, this is located in the "middle" of his upper lip. I took him to two different vets that told me since it didn't seem to be bothering him, it wasn't changing shape, size or color, then I didn't need to worry about it. There was no sign of abrasion, cut, bite or reason for the lump. We were living in Japan at the time, I didn't speak the language, and couldn't find a vet in our area that was very "rabbit knowledgable". Over the summer, we re-located to the U. S. , southern california. Around the end of Sept. 2012 he went to the vet for neutering surgery. We asked the vet to take a look at the red bump on his lip while he was under anesthesia. The vet inserted a needle in order to get a fluid sample. He also put him on a general antibiotic. The test came back inconclusive, but the lump seemed to get infected. After approximately two weeks we did a biopsy. It came back positive for fibrosarcoma cancer. His lip looked worse also. We took him to a different vet more specialized in rabbit care. He attempted to remove the tumor stating that there was not room to get "clean" margins because of the location of the tumor being basically against the opening of his nasal cavity. We had hoped to remove the tumor, then start radiation to kill off any remaining cancer cells understanding fibrosarcomas are extremely aggressive. But, we couldn't consider radiation until the wound healed. Well, it just isn't healing. It's been about a month and the cancer is back. It's grown quite a bit blocking much of his left nasal opening. The vet, although educated in chinese herbology, stated there is nothing more he can do for him. He expects the tumor to grow much larger within two weeks. I asked if there was an alternative medication I could give smeagol to slow the growth, or fight the cancer and he stated he didn't know of anything that would be safe if accidentally ingested from being on his lip. He said there was something, but it would have to be injected directly into the tumor, would be extremely painful and he feared the medication would not help fast enough to combat the speed at which the tumor is growing. He is currently on Baytril (antibiotic), Metacam, and buprenorphine. For the last month, the tumor will grow in size, changing appearance sometimes multiple times a day. Then, it will start bleeding, quite a bit, suddenly and the outer scab will seperate and come off. It's quite stressful for him (and us) as the blood will get in his nasal passage and cause difficulty breathing I think
. The only options I see right now are doing nothing and watching it grow, or taking him to the oncologist and asking about radiation possibilities. I am hoping that instead, there is an alternative treatment that can slow/stop the growth of the rapidly enlarging tumor and keep him comfortable. I would greatly appreciate any help. - Christina"
05/02/2009: WildHeart from Andover, MN: "Is there any home remedy for fleas that is safe for outdoor rabbits? anything I can put around the hutch or on them to keep the flease from the wild rabbits at bay? thanks."Replies
04/11/2011: Sandy from Sanford, Fl replies: "Eucalyptus is great for repelling fleas. I am not sure if you can put it directly on the rabbit, but you can sprinkle the oil outside. Be careful not to put it where he eats. And make sure you get pure oil and not just the fragrance."
09/26/2012: Tntfreedom from Ottawa, Kansas replies: "I use flea free in there water it keeps fleas, flys, tick, mosqetios and other blood sucking hungery animals off them. All flea free has over 200 hundred natural vitamins and minerals treat ear mites, ring worm and more. Hope this helps. The taylor's Family rabbit farm Ottawa, Ks"
04/10/2009: Calra from Homer, MI/USA: "Misc Remedies for Rabbits:
I have not tried any of these myself but was given the list through another rabbit website.
Okugest tablets are a homeopathic medicine for humans, which are used for, diarrhoea, bloat and for improvement of the gut motility, intoxication.
the tablets do contain the following homeopatic ingredients:
Okoubaka aubreveille D3 - prevention and treatment of poisoning, (foodpoisoning, pesticide poisonong, and self poisoning (auto toxic) diseases/ alergy .Okoubake helps the body regain control and normalizes the immune system to fight of other potential aggressors. For treatment, gastroenteritis, intestinal infections/ intoxification, and diarrhea.
Arsenicum album D12 - treatment of indigestion, anxiety, fever, pain and lots more.
Carbo vegetabilis D6 - treatment, bloat/gas, Abdominal distention with cramping pains, worse lying down,
Croton tiglium D6 - treatment acute and chronic diarrea, upset stomach, gas,
Veratum album D12 - treatment, sudden collapse, painful cramping followed by great weakness and exhaustion, diarrhea or constipation"
11/28/2009: Dorothy from Colorado Springs, Co: "I have house rabbits that picked up mange mites possibly from a pair of guinea pigs we took in. Anyway, I've been searching for a way to treat them that is not Ivermectin or Revolution or Advantage or any other of those heavy chemicals that may cause other problems down the road. Anyway, I read up on borax, and it is NOT a safe product to be using. Even the box carries a warning. And it has been known for a long time that hydrogen peroxide causes cell damage. So I'm wondering about the information on this site. I'm also wondering if anyone has a treatment that isn't dangerous that might work on my rabbits. Ointments are useless. Bathing is extrememly stressful for bunnies. I've started using diatamaceous earth, but it is very drying to their fur and doesn't seem to do anything very fast. They have a great diet (better and fresher than most people) with fresh items and quality hay."Replies
12/23/2011: Anna Nikki from Toronto, Ont replies: "Cedar oil is good for getting rid of parasites, fleas, mites and bedbugs and is harmless to animals and humans. You can find it at the health store or online."
06/21/2012: Jennifer from Austin, Texas replies: "Please don't give your bunny cedar oil because it's poisonous to them just like using pine or cedar wood shaving for bedding is poisonous."
01/05/2009: Joyce from Arcadia, CA, USA: "I WILL TRY THE PUMPKIN FOR MY SAD CONSTIPATED BUNNY. I HOPE IT WORKS."
04/16/2011: Carol from Pontefract, England: "Please please help my bunny has swollen eyes and slightly swollen genitals. I took her to the vets on Thursday 14th April the vet checked her chest and took her temperature and said these were both fine. she said its unlikely to be the big [M] and gave her some antibiotic medicine. Please please please help me I dont want to lose her and I cant stand to see her suffer."Replies
04/25/2011: Sarah from Trowbridge, England replies: "Hi, It sounds like your rabbit has syphilis."
05/04/2012: Teresa from Piney Flats, Tennessee: "Does anyone know if it is ok to use Castor Oil on a breast lump and to give Tumeric internally to a rabbit for this condition? And how much tumeric to give internally.... I am assuming that you just rub the Castor Oil on the lump."
04/09/2012: Teresa from Piney Flats, Tennessee: "The vet found a lump close to our female rabbit's breast. She doesn't know if it's benign or cancer. Can we use remedies on her (rabbit) that are suggested here for dogs and cats???Please let me know your thoughts....
Thank you! Teresa"Replies
03/07/2013: Yeli from Indonesia, Bali replies: "Mites. Prob solution is rub or make the infection area with iodine first if open wound and next days is just vinegar and water. Very good result. Good luck!"