Why is my rabbit limping?

If your rabbit is limping, there could be many reasons. One might think of an injured paw first, but it could also be a side effect of some other physical condition that can cause paw pain. If your rabbit is limping, you will immediately notice how it rests its paws on the ground. Or you might notice that it has stopped hopping, and no longer pushes its hind legs to move.

Whatever the symptoms, you need to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to do a thorough examination of your pet and see if there is any muscle damage that causes a limp or a skin infection (or nerve problem).

Symptoms and Types of lameness in rabbits

If your rabbit has limited mobility, or his joints seem swollen and weird, and as a result, it exhibits the following symptoms:

  • Pain and discomfort, both when resting and when trying to move
  • Lethargy
  • Depression;
  • It sits for a long time in a hunched position;
  • It doesn’t want to move;
  • It hides and doesn’t want to go out;
  • It grinds Its teeth;
  • When you try to move it, it grunts in pain;
  • If you lose your appetite and drink less water
  • If they find it hard to jump;
  • Loss of muscle tuna;
  • Swollen joints
  • Due to his reduced mobility, it urinates on itself, forming sores around the perineal area;

The most common causes of lameness in rabbits

There are several reasons why a rabbit limps. We list some of them:

  • It may have inherited a congenital developmental anomaly;
  • It can be injured in soft tissues, a joint or a bone;
  • An abscess may have formed;
  • It could be septic arthritis;
  • The rabbit may have a condition called pododermatitis which is a foot infection;
  • It may have a bone or soft tissue tumor
  • The limp can be caused by arthritis;
  • You may have a condition called dysplasia which is a dislocation of the shoulder, hip, or elbow;
  • It may have a torn ligament or muscle, or some leg injury
  • The rabbit can have a fracture;
  • The limp can be caused by spinal diseases – intervertebral disc disease ;
  • The condition can be caused by inflammation of the vertebrae – a condition called ankylosing;
  • Limping can often be caused by obesity and a lack of exercise;

How are limp conditions diagnosed?

If you notice that your rabbit is limping, the best thing to do is take it to the vet as soon as possible to get a correct diagnosis. Your vet can confirm whether your rabbit is lame due to a muscle imbalance or has a nerve disease. You need to tell the vet all the information about your rabbit’s health and how the limp symptoms started.

Then, the vet should perform blood and urinalysis. Performing other tests as well can confirm if your rabbit has some sort of joint disease. Your vet can do x-rays to see if your rabbit is not suffering from a muscle disease called a musculoskeletal disorder.


The treatment for your rabbit will depend on the causes of the limp. However, if your rabbit has stopped drinking and eating, the vet will give them fluids to prevent total dehydration.

If there is swelling on a joint (or another limb), your vet might prescribe an anti-inflammatory or de morphine. On the other hand, if they suspect that there is an infection, then they will be given an antibiotic.

If there is a fracture, bad abscess, or joint deformity, and it is the cause of the limp, the vet would need to perform some sort of surgery to repair any damage to a limb.


It is very important to make a full recovery after the care your rabbit has been given. Once they return home it is very important to give them a nice, cozy, and quiet place where they can regain their strength in peace.

It would be a good idea to put them on something soft and making sure you clean the place twice a day to keep it dry and clean. Cleaning your rabbit and the place where it rests is essential to prevent other infections that could worsen its health conditions. You should also limit its movement to avoid any wound complications.

During the recovery period, it is very important to make sure your rabbit is getting enough nutrition and hydration. You can offer them some leafy vegetables, carrot tops (which is their favorite food).

If, on the other hand, you observe that your rabbit does not want to eat, you need to check with your vet regarding the type of food you should give it. Foods that are high in carbohydrates and fats should usually be avoided, but always follow your veterinarian’s advice.

Final Thoughts

A rabbit can limp for many reasons, which is why it is important to have it seen by a vet. Once the vet has made a correct diagnosis, the condition can be treated with the right medication, or perhaps they would need to have some sort of surgery to correct the problem.

Recovery is very important for your rabbit, which means you need to keep it in a warm, clean and dry environment.

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