Bladder and Urinary problems
Sometimes a bladder problem can go unnoticed, but usually there are some very noticeable symptoms. Firstly you will notice that your rabbit who always had impeccable litterbox habits is not always making it to the toilet in time and when he is in his litterbox he is seen straining to pass a few drops of urine. Sometimes the fur around the tail area will be wet and matted from frequent urinating or there will even be blood in the urine. This is not to be confused with red urine which is usually caused from eating carrots and other red or orange vegetables. Rabbit urine varies in colour from clear yellow to brown to bright red. This is normal, but when the urine becomes thick, white and sludgy your rabbit needs a visit to the vet. Unfortunately rabbits do not metabolise calcium very well and unabsorbed calcium is excreted through the kidneys into the bladder. This is why it is so important for rabbits to get plenty of exercise and water to flush out the kidneys. Vegetables with a high water content will also help, as well as a low calcium pellet such as Bunny Chow.
Urinary infections can be treated with Baytril which is a safe anti-biotic for rabbits. Your veterinarian will prescribe this. More disappointing problems are bladder stones and crystals. Large stones may need to be surgically removed, and it is advisable to ration or eliminate pellets entirely from your rabbits diet thereafter to help reduce the calcium intake. Routine checkups should be done via ultrasound or x-ray, making sure that no more stones are formed.