If you notice red colored urine in your rabbits, then the first shock is certainly great.
What is behind it?
One thing in advance: It is not always a serious health problem. Nevertheless, you should not take this topic lightly.
Why do rabbits have red urine?
There can be various reasons for this. In some cases it is only due to the food, in others blood admixtures can be the trigger for the discoloration.
How you can distinguish this and why it is important to pay attention to it, we show here.
Possible causes for red urine in rabbits
Depending on diet and water intake, urine in rabbits is light and slightly yellowish to reddish brown.
It should be thin and may have a slight cloudiness.
As long as the urine is fresh, it has only a slight odor. This is therefore the normal condition.
In addition, rabbit urine may darken and turn reddish or brown if it comes in contact with air and oxidizes. The more fresh food you provide your rabbits, the more pronounced this effect usually is.
However, this is not a health concern. You just have to make sure that the coloration is consistent.
In addition to food, other factors can cause a reddish discoloration. These are, among others:
Diseases of the kidneys
insufficient fluid intake
But let’s look at the influence of diet first.
1: Red urine due to diet
Dyes and secondary plant compounds from fresh food are responsible for the discoloration.
These include, for example:
Red bell pepper
Foods with an intense coloration or a high content of tannins can cause an orange, red or brownish tint to the urine.
However, the odor remains normal.
In addition, no other signs of disease are noticeable. The animals behave normally and are neither fatigued nor do they suffer from loss of appetite.
2: Red urine in rabbits due to bladder stones or bladder infections
The metabolism of rabbits works in such a way that minerals from the food are absorbed in increased quantities.
What the body does not currently need and cannot store in fat reserves is excreted.
However, if the diet is rich in minerals and the water intake is insufficient, the minerals may be very concentrated in the urine.
This can lead to the formation of bladder gravel or bladder stones. On the one hand, these can irritate the mucous membrane of the urinary bladder. On the other hand, they can thus increase the risk of bladder inflammation.
Injury to the urinary tract is also possible.
This causes the urine to become bloody and thus red or reddish.
What is striking is that usually only streaks of blood are found in the urine. It therefore appears normal, but contains traces of it.
In the case of a bladder infection or bladder stones, urine is also constantly discharged. However, your rabbit seems strained and can only urinate to a small extent.
He is often tired, eats less and may shy away from touching or become aggressive because of the pain. Smeared, damp fur around the genital area is also often associated.
The urine will appear red streaked at first and dark brown when dry. If you notice something like this, you should immediately consult a veterinarian. Because such an infection can quickly rise and thus also attack the kidneys.
If the trigger is a bladder stone, the urinary tract can also be blocked so that the animal can no longer pass urine.
This can also lead to life-threatening conditions, and within a short period of time. Therefore, do not wait if you suspect such a case or are unsure.
3: Diseases of the kidneys
Diseases of the kidneys increase the risk of problems in the urinary bladder area. Urine may change color and smell noticeably. In addition, the frequency and amount of urination may be affected.
In this case, again, other symptoms appear. Among them, for example
the animal eats less
increased need for sleep
reacts painfully to touches in the area of the back and the sides.
Urine may also be discolored and have a strong odor.
Often your rabbit will only pass very small amounts. As with diseases of the kidneys, an immediate visit to the vet is important.
The earlier the cause is identified, the better the chances of treatment.
Injuries to the kidneys, bladder or genital area can also cause blood to be found in the urine. They can occur, for example, if your rabbit falls, twists, or sustains wounds in a fight.
The urine will not smell different, but it may contain traces of blood and be streaked with red. As it dries, it will also turn dark brown.
5: Insufficient fluid intake
If there is little fresh food and if your rabbit drinks only small amounts of water, the urine is very concentrated. It may therefore be darker already at the beginning.
If there is coloring in the food or if there is a disease and therefore blood in the urine, the reddish coloration will be stronger.
How can I tell if it is blood?
Use a piece of cellulose and soak up the urine with it.
Let the material dry.
If it darkens a lot and becomes brown or tan, you need to consult a veterinarian immediately. If, on the other hand, it remains reddish or orange, it is merely discoloration due to nutrition.
A good indication is also the color distribution in the urine: a uniform coloration usually indicates a nutritional cause. Different shades, streaks and mucus or lumps, on the other hand, are reasons for an immediate visit to the vet.
When should I see a veterinarian for red urine?
Since rabbits can quickly die from even supposedly harmless infections, you should always see a veterinarian immediately if there is blood in the urine.
Even if you cannot distinguish whether it is a harmless discoloration or blood, you should have an examination performed.
This is also true if your pet’s general condition is compromised.
Do all rabbits have red urine?
Yes, with the appropriate diet, all animals can have this urine color.
However, this is usually not permanent.
Normal would be a lighter coloration that does not indicate blood.
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