Is my rabbit obese?
What Causes Obesity in Rabbits?
Overeating is typically the reason for obesity in rabbits but this factor alone may not affect a very active rabbit. Rabbits need to take in more calories than they are exerting in order to pack on the pounds and since many pet rabbits are unfortunately caged for the majority of their lives, obesity is a common problem when they don’t get the exercise they need.
Sugary treats are also contributors to the obesity problem in pet rabbits and are marketed as cute but the fact is your rabbit doesn’t care what their food looks like. But many pet owners give in to the gimmicks and want to give their rabbits whatever the pet store has to offer.
Being stationary is the main culprit for obesity in every species. Rabbits are made to jump and run but too often we keep them contained in small cages or only allow them to hop and binky for short periods of time. This lack of energy exertion can create a multitude of problems for your rabbit and also gives them nothing to do but eat, sleep, and gain weight.
How Can You Tell if Your Rabbit is Obese?
Being obese means that your rabbit has more body fat than is healthy for their body size. Each rabbit species has a different set of breed standards that tell you what a normal size and weight of that particular breed should be. These standards should be used as a guideline to help you and your veterinarian judge whether or not your rabbit weighs an appropriate amount.
By assigning a body condition score to your rabbit you will be better enabled to monitor your rabbit’s weight. A body condition score is a number that correlates to certain physical attributes and most body condition score scales are a one through five with three being ideal. A rabbit that you can feel but not easily see the ribs on is typically a three. The easiest way to tell if the ribs stick out too much (if they are too prominent it means your rabbit is underweight) is to compare feeling your rabbit’s ribs to your closed fist. Make a fist with your hand and then feel the knuckles. If the ribs feel like this your rabbit is too skinny. Now feel your fingers (where your rings would normally sit on your hand) while your fist is still clenched. This is what it should feel like on a rabbit that has an ideal body condition score. If you cannot feel your rabbit’s ribs or you have to push hard to feel them then your rabbit is overweight. We can help you with this process if you are not sure of it.
Remember, we are offering 50% off nurse weight clinics through January, so book your phone consultation today!