In Practice 24:358-367 doi:10.1136/inpract.24.7.358
  • Clinical Practice
  • Companion Animal Practice

Anorexia in rabbits

1. Causes and effects

  1. Frances Harcourt-Brown

    Frances Harcourt-Brown qualified from Liverpool in 1973 and is in general practice in Harrogate where rabbits form 80 per cent of her present workload. She is currently working on an FRCVS thesis entitled 'Metabolic bone disease and related dental problems in pet rabbits'. She is a past recipient of the BVA's William Hunting Award and the BSAVA's Melton and Dunkin Awards.


ANOREXIA is a common reason for pet rabbits to be presented for veterinary treatment and there is a long list of potential causes, including pain, stress, dental disease, chronic renal failure and various digestive disorders. Certain physiological characteristics of rabbits make them particularly vulnerable to the effects of anorexia and many will die without treatment. Prompt and accurate diagnosis is vital. This article describes the digestive physiology of rabbits and discusses the causes and effects of anorexia in this species. The diagnosis and treatment of anorexia in rabbits will be discussed in an article in the next issue.

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