Rabbit Diarrhea – Treatment, Prevention and Causes Of Bunny Diarrhea


The essential guide for anyone who has a rabbit with diarrhea. Find out why diarrhea in bunnies occurs, how to prevent it, plus home treatment and medicine.

If your bunny has soft-looking poop for the first time, you probably have some questions, such as “Why is my bunny’s poop soft?” or “My rabbit has diarrhea, what should I do?”

Like many small animals, rabbits have a finicky digestive system. For a number of reasons, rabbits may develop runny poo when they’re upset. You may also find cecotropes caked to your rabbit’s bottom. In this article, we’ll discuss what causes it and rabbit diarrhea home treatments.

What Is Rabbit Diarrhea?

So, how is diarrhea in rabbits different from the other types of waste that bunnies produce?

After all, rabbits defecate both dry fecal pellets and cecotropes. Cecotropes are not feces, but bunny-made doses of nutrients, so don’t be surprised to find your rabbit eating them.

diarrhea in rabbits

By digesting their food twice rabbits can get nutrients that weren’t digested the first time. Bunnies pass these pieces of partially digested food in groups and ingest them. It may seem gross to us, but rabbits love them and it’s good for them.

Unlike normal rabbit poo, cecotropes are produced in the cecum, located between the small and large intestines. They are high in vitamin B, which bunnies cannot produce on their own.

Occasionally, what looks like rabbit diarrhea could actually be loosely formed cecotropes. When your bunny has diarrhea, what does it look like?
If your bunny’s feces are normal, but there’s a smelly, mucousy poo clinging to their bottom or tail, it’s likely that their cecotropes are too soft. Unfortunately, this can make them difficult to eat, or your rabbit may simply find the texture unappealing.

However, the causes of loose cecotropes are different from those of genuine diarrhea.

What Does Rabbit Diarrhea Look Like?

A rabbit with diarrhea produces extremely watery, non-formed feces. Unlike normal feces, which is hard and round with visible pieces of hay, if your bunny has diarrhea it will be soft and loose. This is more common in baby rabbits than adults.

Let’s take a look at the causes of loose stools and diarrhea in rabbits.

Rabbit Diarrhea – Treatment, Prevention and Causes Of Bunny Diarrhea

Why Does My Rabbit Have Diarrhea?

What causes rabbit diarrhea and soft cecotropes? We’ve listed a few of the most common causes below.

Rabbit diarrhea may be caused by any of the following:

  • A bacterial or viral infection
  • Inappropriate use or overuse of certain antibiotics
  • Direct or indirect ingestion of toxins
  • Parasitic infection, often coccidia, roundworms or tapeworms
  • Chronic disease.

Soft Cecotropes

Soft cecotropes may be caused by any of the following:

  • A diet too high in carbohydrates (too much alfalfa hay or pellets) or too low in fiber (not enough grass hay)
  • A diet too high in fiber (more than 20% crude fiber)
  • A sudden change in diet
  • Excessive amounts of water-rich vegetables such as cucumber
  • High-sugar fruits, vegetables, grains or human foods
  • Hidden health problems that slow your bunny’s digestion, including dental problems and conditions causing pain or stress.

Also, overweight or elderly rabbits who are unable to reach their anus and ingest cecotropes may appear to only have soft stool or diarrhea. Unable to consume them, these bunnies simply sit on their cecotropes and press them into their fur, creating the appearance of runny poo.

If your bunny is overweight, consider facilitating weight loss through exercise. Elderly rabbits should be taken to the veterinarian for possible arthritis treatment. Because cecotropes contain necessary nutrients, it’s important your rabbit does not miss out on them.

My Rabbit Has Diarrhea or Soft Cecotropes, What Should I Do?

Well, that depends on the severity of your rabbit’s condition. Whether they are still eating and how long the condition has been present are important factors to consider.

Let’s take a look at how to help your rabbit recover from diarrhea and soft cecotropes in different scenarios.

Soft Cecotropes, Otherwise Normal

A bunny with a healthy appetite and normal fecal pellets but frequent soft cecotropes should have their diet examined. They may also need to be evaluated for an underlying health condition.

Often a simple change in diet can alleviate symptoms altogether. So remember to give your rabbit free-fed grass hay or include fiber-rich vegetables in their diet.

Insufficient fiber is one of the most common causes of rabbits with diarrhea. As is giving your bunny too much of a good thing, like pellets or starchy, sugary treats.

Although soft cecotropes aren’t a medical emergency, keep your vet informed so that they can guide you in keeping your rabbit healthy.

It’s also important to keep your bunny’s hind end clean until they’re passing and consuming normal cecotropes. This can take a few days to a few weeks.

If a diet change doesn’t do the trick, a trip to the vet is in order. Your bunny may have a condition that’s slowing their cecotrope production or causing stress. Both can upset the normal digestive process.

Diarrhea, but Still Eating

If your rabbit has diarrhea but is still eating, treat them as a sick pet. Although eating is a good sign, if your bunny has diarrhea, it can quickly lead to dehydration if left untreated.

A rabbit diarrhea home treatment is to change their diet. Decrease carbohydrates, increase fiber and cut back on high-sugar and starchy elements in their diet. Symptoms should subside in a day or so, but keep your rabbit’s hind end clean until then.

Also, you might consider talking to your vet about rabbit diarrhea medicine.

If your rabbit’s diarrhea persists even after a diet change, then it’s time to take them to your veterinarian.

Typically, your vet will perform a thorough exam. This may include taking samples of both cecotropes and fecal pellets to check for bacterial and viral infections. Once the underlying cause is identified, your vet will administer rabbit diarrhea medicine.

Diarrhea and Not Eating

Rabbit with diarrhea + not eating = a dangerous situation.

As mentioned above, diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration. This, combined with not taking in nutrients, is a dire situation. If this happens, contact your vet immediately.

Your vet will likely administer IV fluids and vitamins to your bunny before obtaining blood and stool samples to determine the cause of diarrhea.

Baby Rabbit with Diarrhea

A baby rabbit with diarrhea can quickly become life-threateningly ill. It takes only a few hours for your baby bunny with diarrhea to become dangerously dehydrated.

baby rabbit diarrhea

Baby rabbits bought from pet stores are particularly prone to diarrhea-causing bacteria in their digestive tract. This is because they are taken from their mothers too soon, depriving them of essential antibodies in their mother’s milk.

In fact, their immune systems are so weak, baby bunnies are even susceptible to human intestinal bacteria!

Also, baby rabbits are especially susceptible to inflammation of the intestinal tract. This causes lethargy, decreased appetite, weight loss, and diarrhea or constipation.

Regardless of the cause, your baby bunny with diarrhea should be taken to the vet immediately!

Preventing Rabbit Diarrhea

Diarrhea… Rabbits, cats, dogs, livestock, people – Regardless of the species, a bout of diarrhea can range from temporary nuisance to life-threatening situation.

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The key to preventing diarrhea in baby rabbits is two-fold.

Wait two full months before weaning them from their mother’s milk. This will allow them to take full advantage of the antibodies and nutrients in her milk.

Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling a baby bunny. Otherwise, you may unknowingly transmit human-borne digestive viruses and bacteria to your bunny.

With adult rabbits, a proper diet is the easiest way to prevent diarrhea. As we’ve mentioned a few times in this article, a diet high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and sugar is ideal.

Rabbits should have access to high-fiber grass hay at all times. This ensures that their digestive system is always moving. Alfalfa and an overabundance of rabbit pellets can actually slow your bunny’s digestion.

Furthermore, changing your rabbit’s diet, do so gradually. This helps your bunny maintain the proper balance of bacteria, which is the key to maintaining a healthy gut.

A low-stress lifestyle and adequate exercise are also important in keeping your rabbit’s digestion healthy. A stressed or pained rabbit is more likely to develop diarrhea.

Diarrhea in Rabbits – a Summary

Diarrhea in rabbits can be worrying. There are several causes, but knowing which is responsible makes solving the problem easier.

Observing your rabbit’s poop will help you make the best decisions when it suddenly becomes consistently abnormal.

Soft cecotropes can be mistaken for diarrhea in rabbits due to their congealed consistency and tendency to stick to your bunny’s rear when they’re not consuming them.

Genuine rabbit diarrhea is often a symptom of an underlying condition. Because of their susceptibility to infections, such conditions can quickly become fatal in baby rabbits.

Rabbit diarrhea home treatments include changes in diet and activity level, but it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian about rabbit diarrhea medicine.

Have you had a rabbit with diarrhea? Leave a comment about your experience!

This article was revised and updated for 2019.



  1. My bunny was fine I day and this morning when I took her out of her cage she had diarrhea all over her the cage and litter box. She wasn’t moving very well either she stayed in one place and just wasn’t herself. Took her to vet and she started to have seizures there and he told my she wasn’t going to make it. I don’t understand how this would happen she was fine yesterday .i wish I knew what was wrong I miss her so much !!

    • This just happened to my 10 week old bunny yesterday.. he started having diarrhea as we were leaving the house but I had no clue diarrhea in bunnies are life threatening. I cleaned him up and made sure he had food and water and took care of him for a bit and we left the house. We came back hours later and he was dead. We’re not sure what caused it, maybe my daughter fed him something she wasn’t supposed to that morning or maybe the dog we were dog sitting stressed him out, honestly not sure. So now I’m reading all I can to try to figure out what happened and why..

    • Sandy , I had a nine month old healthy rabbit that one day had a scratch and it was treated by our vet and he died two days later. He got septic even though our vet treated him appropriately with antibiotics. I was so upset. I even called a vet friend and he told me “Ashley, rabbits are just very fragile “. To anything. Bunnies have to go to the vet as soon as anything is different. I’ve had to accept that they can get sick and we take them to great vets but they are so fragile. I’m so sorry about your bunny. Know you did right by taking him to the vet as soon as you knew he was sick.

  2. I unfortunately lost a rabbit due to this. I was hand rearing a orphan rabbit who was doing well and made it to 4 weeks old. All of a sudden he started having a bit of Diarrhea but was eating and drinking his milk regularly. He was perky and eating that night and was fine at 11.15pm then first thing the next morning at 7.30 was cold, dehydrated, huddled up and listless. He refused milk or anything and never made it to the vets and passed away in my arms. If your baby rabbit has diarrhoea and is still eating and drinking they say to monitor it etc but in my experience within 8 hours he went from having a bit of loose poo to passing away. It gutted me.

  3. I have a rabbit kit with diarrhoea. It is sticky, smelly and brown in colour. This developed today. I gave the rabbit some scourban and water by force feeding. It’s difficult to find a rabbit savy vet here. I will have to make do with the antibiotics I have on hand and hope that works.

  4. I got some older bunnies and soon after the one female had a little diarrhea. Then I put her and the male together. About a week after that her diarrhea got worse. Now the male (Petey) has it really bad. I tried gentle gastric massage and cleaned him up. The girl has diarrhea and is laying down normally, but Petey is hunched up. When I did the massage to his abdomen he started to have a bunch of bad diahhrea and I heard gurgling sounds. They don’t seem to be eating much but are drinking. It’s so frustrating! None of the other bunnies are having this problem. This seemed to become a problem when I put the male in with another male and they fought. So maybe part of it is stress? Petey wasn’t sick until that day and then I separated him from the other one but he’s still got the poops.

  5. Hi my bunny has recently had have deria and I was really scared I’m going to try the advise on the morning I really hope it works and now that I think of it my bunny doesint have a good diet so ima they it I really really hope it works *fingers crossed*

    • I use pennchlor 64 . I think you can order bu amazon too. We buy in our vet. Its work really good. Its powder concentration you mix with water.
      I selling bunnies, and give this to our customers for free. Because sometimes change food can couse diarea to.

    • Take them to the vet as soon as they have diarrhea. Anything can make bunnies stopped up or a bacteria can overgrow in their gut, kind of like when we get C.diff, and they can pass away really easily from gut issues. My little female got diarrhea and my vet gave her medicine and she did survive.

  6. Just brought mine to the vet yesterday. Yesterday morning, I was panic as I see her watering poo scattered all over the floor. She looked lethargic, I quickly brought her to the vet and the veterinarian gave me does for 10 days. She get better but one thing that still in my concern is she stopped eating her pellets and hay. She just prefer her carrot and vegetables.

    My advice is DO NOT GIVE YOUR FUR FRIENDS TOO MUCH WATERY PLANTS as it’s not good for their digestive.

    Anyway is there any trick to give your rabbits stop being picked on their pellet and hay??

    Cheers ❤️

  7. Guys im freaking out my supposedly 2 month old rabbit has diarrhea and i just hope its a little stressed i gave it extra water because all the sad death storys have me traumatized. Im praying it’s nothing

  8. Hi, am Peter. My bunnies have been dying in their numbers daily given to diarrhea, loss of appetite and grinding of teeth. I was used to giving them hay in dry season until I went out of hay and now it’s raining season, can’t get hay no more and when I switched to grass I noticed their negative response to it with effect of death by the day. What can I do?

  9. Rabbits cannot Have excessive high carb vegetables or fruits like carrot banana apple strawberries blueberries spinach kale etc. it is cute to see them eat it but it makes them sick. They need fresh Timothy hay ( not grass) not alfalfa ( too much carb) all day long. They need some pellets 1/4 cup 2 x times a day. They can eat a bit of green leaf lettuce but not much. They need to have clean water all day. For diarrhea get bunny to vet asap. If bunny not eating get to vet asap. They get GI Stasis and die within 24 hours! For non urgent tummy problems they can have infant meloxodil ( gas drops) and if you can get them to eat it Critical Care. For pain they can have pain relief get it from vet. For all of these get the right dose from your vet, bunnies come in different sizes! Never feed your bunny crackers, bread, cereal grapes etc. they love it but it creates painful gas and they will go into GI Stasis and die die to not eating. They will not eat because they are in so much pain. Please take your pet to a vet for dosage and proper care. They may even need to get immediate hydration at they vet by IV saline. Good luck! 🍀

  10. my dwarf rabbit is 1years old he has just gotten diareha he still eats and drinks and still runs around as normal what do i do i have no vet n i dont no what to do

    • Hi Sandy, I hope your rabbit is feeling better. If not, please do try to find a veterinarian to check him over. If you can’t afford their fees then call around and check online as there are some charities that can help.


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