A healthy rabbit loses its fur twice a year, and if all is going well, new fur will grow in place of the shed fur. However, some unfortunate rabbits may lose their fur without any fur growing back – a condition known as alopecia.
Shedding is normal for most rabbits, but alopecia comes with small or large bald parts on your rabbit’s coat. Alopecia is also accompanied by a lot of itching, which will make your rabbit very comfortable.
Incidentally, the condition may be accompanied by inflammation, open sores, and flaky skin. If you notice this on your rabbit, then it’s time that you consider a visit to the vet.
Both normal and abnormal fur shedding has reasons why they happen. Fortunately, whether it is an abnormal or normal shedding, there is always a solution to stopping it.
Here are the types of shedding, why they happen, and the possible solutions.
As stated above, a normal rabbit will shed its fur twice a year, with the process taking 2-6 weeks. The process of shedding fur for rabbits is also known as molting or ‘blowing their coat.
Normal shedding for most rabbits will follow a distinctive pattern. First, the fur starts shedding off from the neck, back, stomach, and finally tail.
The amount of time taken for molting and the shed fur will vary from rabbit to rabbit. As a rabbit owner, it is good to note that natural molting in rabbits is seasonal. So if your rabbit sheds fur throughout the year, you may need to take them to the vet.
Also, normal shedding may completely change how your rabbit looks. For example, during the molting period, your rabbit might have an uneven color on its coat.
Compared to the sleek, shiny, and soft look most rabbits have, you might be worried. But as the shedding season is fading off, your rabbit will eventually get back to its usual sleek look.
Your rabbit’s coat is a window to their health. Your rabbit’s coat will tell you when there are underlying health problems with your rabbit. For instance, if you notice that the shedding is accompanied by inflammation, it is a clear sign that there is an underlying health problem.
Abnormal shedding may also be accompanied by open sores, which can be painful for your rabbit. Such abnormal shedding of your rabbit’s coat should signal a serious health issue that will require a mandatory veterinary medical check.
Reasons Why Your Rabbit is Losing Patches of Fur
If your rabbit has large or small patches on its coat with no fur, this can be considered abnormal shedding. There are many reasons why your rabbit is going through such fur loss. Below are some of the most common reasons why:
1. Parasite Infestation
Dogs and cats are not the only animals that are attacked by fleas; rabbits get attacked too. A severe flea infestation on your rabbit results in a subsequent severe itching. The itching becomes so intense that your rabbit scratches off its fur.
Apart from fleas, other parasites that cause hair loss include:
- Ear canker mites
- Fur mites
- Mange mites
Fortunately, a loss of fur associated with a parasitic infestation can be stopped. There are a variety of medications that are rabbit-friendly, and they help get rid of the parasites.
The absence of these parasites will reduce the itchy feeling on your rabbit and finally do away with it. When the rabbit is not scratching, it also means that its coat will stay intact.
2. Dental Problems
The fur loss, in this case, will be restricted to parts under their chin, down their chest, or even on the folds of the dewlap. Sometimes your rabbit may lose fur on this part because of wetness in this area. Apart from the wetness of fur around this area, your rabbit may also have dental problems that may cause them to shed fur.
So how do you know that your rabbit has some dental problems causing its fur to fall off? First, monitor your rabbit’s eating habits. You might notice that your rabbit might develop some picky eating habits.
For example, your rabbit might choose to feed on pellets and refuse to feed on hay. Sudden picky eating habits are a sure sign that your rabbit is going through a dental issue. In addition, conditions such as molar spurs and molar abscesses may cause your rabbit to drool.
If you see your rabbit drooling, it can be a sign that they have a dental issue. The best solution for this is to deal with the dental problem at hand.
3. Urine Burn
A urine burn on your rabbit directly exposes a urinary tract infection. If you notice that the fur loss is strictly around the tail and also behind the hind legs, it means that your rabbit might be suffering from urinary tract infections.
A rabbit with a urinary tract infection is a very uncomfortable rabbit, so if you suspect that your rabbit could be suffering from a urinary tract infection, you need to visit the vet as soon as possible.
Bacterial infections in rabbits are common in humid and warm areas. If you have a rabbit living in these areas, it means that their fur will never be completely dry, thus causing frequent bacterial infections and subsequent fur loss.
When rain or humidity gets on your rabbit’s fur, it might be difficult for your rabbit to reach some parts of their fur. After some time, the fur becomes damp, and the fur will be prone to flystrike which subsequently causes fur loss.
As you have noticed, the causes of your rabbit’s fur loss have solutions, and the best of them involves taking your rabbit to the vet.