Sub navigation

Musculoskeletal problems in rabbits

As your rabbit ages, you may notice it starts to slow down - this can be a normal sign of aging, and may creep up very slowly. However stiffness may be a sign of arthritis. Arthritis is a general term given to the inflammation of a joint or joints, and any joint within the body can be affected. Arthritis can occur naturally as your rabbit ages; however rabbits are particularly susceptible to arthritis if the joints are put under extra strain, ie large breeds of rabbit, fat/obese rabbits or those with missing limbs. Infection in the joints can be caused by penetrating injuries where bacteria are introduced to the joint. This type of arthritis can occur at any age and in any breed of rabbit.

Generalised muscle weakness in rabbits has numerous causes, many of which are extremely rare. Muscular dystrophy is defined as a degeneration of muscular tissue sometimes caused by faulty nutrition and has been recognised in rabbits. In this disease the muscles become weak and affected animals lose the ability to move around.