International Rabbit Day is coming up on September 24th. Just like any other animal, these cute little furballs are susceptible to illness and disease, including heart problems. Heart issues are actually not uncommon with rabbits, especially in older ones. A San Antonio, TX vet offers some information on heart disease in rabbits in this article.
Bunnies can develop several types of heart disease. Congenital heart disease is caused by abnormalities or defects that bunnies were born with. Myopathies are diseases of the muscles in the heart wall. Congestive heart failure is associated with a drop in oxygen in the blood. This is often caused by a weakening of the heart muscle. Bunnies can also develop pulmonary congestion, which is when the heart can’t pump correctly. Last but not least, there is tachycardia, which is associated with erratic heart rates.
This is where things can get tricky. Some rabbits show few or even no symptoms. That said, there are some things to look for. You may notice Floppy seeming less active than usual. She may appear bloated, and/or may lose or gain weight rapidly. Weakness and loss of appetite are also red flags, as are respiratory issues. With more severe cases, bunnies may cough, faint, or keep their heads lifted in a strange position. Keep in mind that many of these things can be symptomatic of several different health issues. Contact your vet right away as soon as you notice anything unusual.
What if Floppy does develop a heart condition? Don’t panic: this isn’t an automatic death sentence. Your beloved pet may still lead a long, happy life, and she may have plenty of binkies left. In some cases, medication may control the issue. Treatment options ultimately will depend on how sick your bunny is. Your vet will be able to discuss these with you once a diagnosis has been made.
A proper diet is crucial here. If your furball becomes obese, her risk of developing heart issues go way up! It’s also important to keep Floppy active. Finally, try to protect her from stress. That means making sure she’s getting plenty of time outside of her cage, and feels safe, secure, and, most of all, loved.
Do you have questions about your bunny care? Contact us, your San Antonio, TX animal clinic, anytime!