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Rabbit chewing fur off

22 10:42:45

Hello, I have a pet small breed rabbit who I believe is between 6 & 8 years old.  Every night we take him out of his cage and let him hop around the living room to get exercise and some human connection.  For about a month now, he has agressively chewed all of the fur off of his front leg and right shoulder.  His skin looks pink and healthy, so I do not think it is a mite or flea problem.  I recently put an 'E collar' around his neck to prevent him from going any further.  He is other wise doing great; he is eating and drinking fine, and he leaves normal looking poo everywhere (it is very soft with no odor and I can see tiny bits of hay).  I thought it might have been his diet, I was feeding him a commercial "gourmet" feed and he only ate the colored pieces.  I gave him Timothy hay and spinach leaves along with the feed until I read that his symptom could be from a lack of Magnesium in his diet- probably due to the lack of better feed.  I have since moved to another type of feed - no colored bits this time! - and I leave piles of Timothy hay and spinach in his cage.  
My question is:  when I try to remove the E collar and watch him, he still tries to chew on his fur, this time on his left side.  How long do you think it is going to take until I can get my rabbit nutritional levels up to where they should be so he no longer feels the need to chew on his fur?

Dear Dave,

In my experience, fur chewing is generally not due to nutritional deficiency, except in extreme cases.  If your bunny has a healthy diet, which you can check here:

then I would look for medical reasons for the self-mutilation.

Fleas and mites are not always evident--especially burrowing mites.  I would ask a good rabbit vet:

about trying Revolution (selamectin) to see if that clears up the problem.  In most cases, it does.  You can read more here:

though the photos are of extreme cases.  Often, mites can't even be seen.

Another possiblity is that he has some pain or numbness in his front legs, and is grooming excessively due to that.  A trip to a good rabbit vet for full evaluation would help you figure out what's going on, and the best way to treat it.

A remote possibility, if this is an unspayed female, is false pregnancy or hormone imbalance, causing nesting behavior.  If this is a possibility, then spaying will not only stop the false pregnancies, but prevent the very high risk of uterine cancer seen in unspayed, unbred females.

I hope this helps.