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Is my rabbit sheding or has some other problem?

22 9:50:19

bald rabbit
bald rabbit  
QUESTION: I am Indrani from India. I have a baby female rabbit of about 4 months. I dont know what breed it is of, as I was not told from the shop. She is spayed or neutered. The vet said India doesnot have the required equipments and medicines for such an operation and it could risk my rabbit. I have rechecked the same with other vets of our locality.
Recently I have noticed bulks of hair missing from her back , belly, legs and sides. And I am worried, is she just shedding or has some illness or is she being overgroomed by her male partner? I have attached a pic for you to see.
She lives in an inhouse wired cage with a male mate. We feed them lots of hay, green leafy vegetables and water. I also give her carrot or papaya once or twice a week as a treat.
Please tell what happened to her and what i should do to get her well . I would also like to know what breed it is.

ANSWER: Hi Indrani:

Your bunny is losing its hair because your male is killing it.  Male and female rabbits can not be kept together after they are 10 weeks old, they MUST be separated at that age.

At 10 weeks old, males become sexually mature and will begin to mate with the female.  Females can become pregnant at 4 months old, so if your female is truly 4 month or older, she may already be pregnant.  She looks a bit younger than that too me, so you might be ok.  But its clear the male is sexually mature from the damage he is doing to her.

The first signs of an aggressive male is clumps of hair being ripped out on various parts of the body as you have noticed.  The males will mount the female to try to mate and in an attempt to keep from being thrown off by her, they will bite down and when the female does throw him off - he rips the fur off her.  Afterwards, he will aggressively groom her pulling out even more fur.
This is very painful for the female and will cause her to live in constant fear.

If you don't separate them immediately, he will kill her.  They will fight to the death.

Adult rabbits are solitary animals and cannot be housed together.  Even if they were spayed - they could not be housed together.

You need to immediately get them into separate cages.  There's a chance your female is already pregnant, so be prepared for a litter.

As far as diet - I'm not familiar with what is available in India, but a good quality rabbit pellet is best if its available.  It should have a minimum of 16% protein.  If that is not available, then the majority of the diet (at least 90%# needs to be alfalfa hay #not timothy hay or orchard grass- pure alfalfa hay) and you can feed very small amounts of green leafy veggies with it.  Not much as they cause diarrhea and offer no nutritional value.

Because of the damage to the fur, its very hard for me to determine the breed.  If you send me another photo once she is fully healed, I can help.

Please - for the health of the rabbit - do not wait even another day without getting them separated.  At this point, permanent mental damage is probably done to the female but you don't want permanent physical damage as well.

Lisa L.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your fast reply. The male partner is of same age as that of the female rabbit in concern. Even then, can the male rabbit cause problem to her? Moreover,I have noticed  the areas from where the hairs have fallen off previously developed hair hair-crysts. And only those hairs which had developed such crysts had shedded. I am sorry I should have given these information as well in my first letter.

Yes, if the male rabbit is the same age he still can and still will cause just as much of a problem.  Even if they are brother and sister from the same litter, the problem would be the same.

The older they get, the worse it gets.  By 6 months of age, he will be fully hormonal and will kill her.  That's only if she hasn't already castrated him (tear off his testicles) and he will bleed to death.  I cant begin to express how important it is to immediately separate them.  Male and female rabbits cannot be housed in the same cage.

I've never heard the term "hair-crysts" before.  It's not a phrase we use here, so I'm not able to understand.  Do you have a better description of these crysts or another word to call it?

The rabbit may have a form of mange and/or fur mites which will need to be treated.  If possible, take a close up photo of the areas where you see skin issues so I can further help you.

Even if she has a skin problem, she still needs to be in her own cage before she and the male fight to the death.

Lisa L.