What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Bunnies?

Written by elle stober
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What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Bunnies?
A rabbit in renal failure will appear lethargic and listless. (löwenkopfwidder image by Yvonne Bogdanski from Fotolia.com)

There are two forms of kidney failure in rabbits: acute and chronic. Blood infection, heart failure, injury, shock, stress and stroke can cause acute renal failure. Both forms of the malady can be caused by ageing, diabetes and urinary tract infections or obstructions.

Onset of acute renal failure is often rapid; chronic renal failure takes place over time. If your bunny seems tired or exhibits a change in eating or elimination habits, contact your veterinarian. She will examine your pet and evaluate lab test results to determine a diagnosis.


Rabbits with kidney disease appear tired and lethargic. Anemia is a consequence of kidney disease. This reduction in red blood cells is wearying because red blood cells are responsible for distributing oxygen throughout the body.

A rabbit in renal failure just does not feel well. It has likely suffered from increased thirst and urination and endured nausea and fatigue if long-term kidney disease is the cause of its renal insufficiency. It may be dehydrated because its kidneys have lost the ability to extract water its body needs from urine. When properly functioning, kidneys serve as filters that remove toxins from the blood. They also help maintain fluid balance.

Reduced Appetite

As the kidneys' ability to filter toxins is diminished, toxins normally transported out of the rabbit's system via urination begin to build up in its blood stream. This can cause nausea and, in turn, loss of appetite. Phosphorus within a bunny's body increases as toxin removal decreases; this also causes nausea. Weight loss often occurs.

What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Bunnies?
One symptom of kidney failure in rabbits is a loss of appetite. (Gray Rabbit Standing image by Claudiu Badea from Fotolia.com)


Those trapped toxins that once were escorted out of your rabbit's body through urination are damaging. As they circulate through the body and to the brain, they can cause seizures. Contact your vet if your bunny has a seizure--she will want to rule out other possible causes.

Fluid therapy can provide relief and assist with toxin removal. Your vet can administer treatments that address specific manifestations of kidney failure and analyse lab work drawn on your bunny from time to time. Treatment goals for a rabbit in renal failure are geared toward easing its discomfort.

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