rabbit ill

Rabbit hardly moves: 7 shocking reasons + help

If your rabbit hardly moves and lies partially apathetic in the hutch, different reasons can be responsible for it.

One thing in advance: no cause can be described as “harmless”.

Quick action is required!

For this reason, we will tell you in this article the 7 most common causes for the fact that no rabbit no longer moves and also give you proven tips on how you can take immediate action against it.

Rabbit does not move: First immediate measures

If your rabbit is barely moving or not moving at all, it’s frightening at first.

In order to start the right treatment, the first step is to touch and feel the rabbit carefully.

If you can’t see the reason yourself, consult a veterinarian immediately.

If you already know your animal very well and can answer important questions, this is an advantage. Because then the trigger can usually be found faster, because the search can be more targeted.

The following questions will help you to collect important information and to identify the cause as precisely as possible, in consultation with the veterinarian:

What has the rabbit eaten in the last few days?
Does your animal drink and eat?
Could your rabbit have fallen?
Has it had free run indoors or in the garden?
Has mobility suddenly decreased or did the animal appear ill before?
Is the rabbit kept with other animals?
Is the cage in a safe and quiet place?

Let’s now look in detail at the 7 most common reasons why your rabbit stops moving.

1: Indigestion

One possible reason for less movement can be in the area of digestion. This could be bloating, cramping or pain in the abdomen.

These occur when, among other things:

the wrong food has been given
you offer highly flatulent vegetables
a sudden change of food has taken place
there is constipation
wrong materials were nibbled

Often the abdomen appears distended and hard. The animal may also grind its teeth.

Other signs are:

loss of appetite
gurgling or grumbling noises
lack of defecation

Your rabbit may also be sensitive to touching its abdomen.


In any case, see a veterinarian immediately in case of digestive disorders.

There is no great danger in the case of mild flatulence, but herbal remedies or gentle medications can still relieve the discomfort.

The situation is different in the case of intestinal obstruction.

This can occur, for example, if your rabbit has gnawed on textiles or has swallowed too much fur while grooming.

In these cases, there is danger to life and the condition can deteriorate rapidly. A veterinarian or veterinary clinic must therefore be consulted immediately.

If it is only constipation, a laxative can be used.

This softens the feces and makes them easier to pass.

In the case of an obstruction, on the other hand, surgical intervention is required. This is because sections of the intestine can die, leading to sepsis.

There are a number of things you can do to prevent problems in the digestive tract.

We have put together some important tips for you:

  • Diet: avoid sudden changes in food and highly flatulent foods, such as cabbage.
  • Be careful when outdoors: If you let your rabbit run free indoors, there are some dangers. Curtains, carpets and wallpaper are more than problematic, along with poisonous plants and electrical cords. If your rabbit gnaws on textiles or the wall, this increases the risk of blockages and intestinal obstruction.
  • Supports grooming: Long-haired breeds in particular tend to pick up lots of long fur hairs when grooming. These can bunch up in the stomach and become a bezoar. This is a type of stone made of organic material that can block the intestines. Regular brushing and offering rough surfaces to rub the hair off can prevent this.

2: Poisoning.

Poisonous houseplants, medications and cleaning products can lead to poisoning.

In addition to digestive discomfort, significant effects on the nervous system are possible. Your rabbit will then not move or barely move because it is disoriented, suffering from nausea and pain.

Potential other signs include:

heavy salivation
bleeding from nose or mouth
Tilting of the head
Teeth grinding
Tearing of the mouth

An immediate visit to the vet is urgently necessary, because your rabbit is in mortal danger.

If possible, an antidote can be given. If this is not the case, at least the symptoms can be treated.

However, you must unfortunately expect that poisoning will be fatal.

This is the case, among others, with blood-thinning agents. These can cause internal bleeding, which often remains undetected for a long time.
Preventive measures

Make sure there are no potentially dangerous substances in your rabbit’s environment. These include:

poisonous plants in the open
cleaning products
Poison (for example against rats)

3: Injuries

Injuries to the musculoskeletal system cause your rabbit to adopt a protective posture. For example, it tries to relieve pressure on the sprained paw.

This makes normal walking difficult.

The same is true for fractures and strains. These problems are often caused by falls.

However, it is equally possible that your rabbit tries to squirm due to stress or incorrect holding and injures itself, something falls on the rabbit in the free run, or it becomes trapped.

Animals can also overstretch a bit or bump into obstacles when fleeing from (perceived) danger.


In the case of injuries to bones, tendons or ligaments, but also in the case of tension, strains or overstretching, a veterinary examination is required in every case.

Treatment may require immobilization, administration of painkillers or anti-inflammatories.

Avoiding falls and eliminating potential injury hazards reduces the risk of fractures and other ailments.

You should therefore use a secure grip when carrying, as well as making sure there are no excessive height differences in the cage or hutch and during free running.

Jumping from the sleeping house is usually not problematic, but if the cage consists of several floors, the stairs should not be directly above each other.

4: Diseases

From infections to arthritis, a wide variety of conditions can be responsible for decreased mobility. With infections, your rabbit may be weakened to the point where it is difficult to move and tired.

With osteoarthritis or arthritis, on the other hand, there is considerable pain during movement, so your pet will avoid it as much as possible.

What is striking here is that the problems do not usually come on suddenly. Instead, they gradually intensify.

Usually, treatment consists of administering medication.

However, comprehensive examinations are necessary for successful treatment. If it is an infection, antibiotics are usually sufficient. Otherwise, painkillers, muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory agents may be used.

Depending on the cause, you can support the therapy with herbal remedies, warmth and rest. However, there is no general information on this, as many individual factors play a role.

A species-appropriate attitude with a balanced diet and sufficient protection as well as exercise is crucial for keeping the dog healthy. Even with this, however, there is no guarantee that infections or diseases of the joints can be prevented.

However, well trained and supplied muscles are important in any case to protect bones, ligaments and tendons.

Allow your rabbits to run and jump daily. This also improves blood circulation and supply, and thus the immune system.

5: Anxiety and stress

Rabbits are sensitive animals. They take flight when threatened or perceived danger, become frightened quickly and are overall fearful.

In cages, hutches and enclosures, animals cannot escape. Often, there is barely enough space for a proper sleeping house. Because of this, the rabbits cannot retreat when stressed and thus freeze out of fright and fear.

The rigidity dissolves as soon as the cause disappears.

However, this is a problem that you should take seriously. This is because frequent stress or anxiety can affect not only behavior, but also overall health.

Susceptibility to illness increases. In addition, problems can develop in the cardiovascular system.

When very high, stress becomes life-threatening.

Therefore, find a quiet and safe place to house your rabbit. Avoid constant rapid movement, loud noises and, if necessary, keep other pets such as cats and small children away from your rabbits.

Also provide ample space and hiding places. These provide security and protection.

6: Conflicts with conspecifics

Rabbits are often kept alone, even though they are social animals and need contact with conspecifics. However, this is only true if the rodents get along well with each other and have sufficient space available.

Otherwise, the risk for conflicts is very high. Fights or other aggression between the animals can cause a rabbit to hardly move. As the inferior, it then does not dare to attract attention to itself, eat normally or drink.

Provide your rabbits with ample space and several places to retreat.

Also, keep a close eye on how they get along with each other.

If a rabbit crouches on the floor with his ears flattened or doesn’t seem to want to move freely, it may indicate poor compatibility with each other.

When bringing rabbits together, you should therefore proceed correctly and also pay close attention to the animals afterwards. Because the behavior and the relationship between them can change over time, which can result in dangerous fights, among other things.

7: Old age weakness

Like other creatures, rabbits slow down and are less agile as they age. This does not necessarily indicate health problems. Nevertheless, it makes sense for seniors to have regular veterinary examinations.

In this way, diseases or other ailments are detected early and can be treated accordingly. Restrictions can thus be kept to a minimum for longer.

In addition to the veterinary examination, it is important that you check your pet.

Check whether it drinks and eats sufficiently.

It is also best to scan it daily and observe its behavior closely. You will then notice any changes immediately and can take appropriate measures more quickly.

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