• All Paws & Equine Vet Physio

Osteoarthritis in rabbits


Osteoarthritis is a painful condition where joints become stiff due to inflammation.

It may be presumed that osteoarthritis only effects older animals? But this is not the case. Osteoarthritis can effect animals of all ages.

Rabbits although likely to suffer some form of arthritis in later life may already have bony changes occurring when as young as 2 years old! With giant breeds tending to become arthritic at an even younger age than small rabbits.


Early signs are hard to identify due to rabbits being prey animals and being very good at hiding pain.

Signs may include:

- reduced activity (especially in cold or damp weather)

- limping

- stumbling or becoming unbalanced

- dirty bottom area which may also be wet with urine due to your rabbit being unable to effectively tilt her pelvis when urinating.


If your rabbit is diagnosed with arthritis the vet will likely prescribe some pain relief and anti-inflammatories.

However there are other ways in which you can help your rabbit:

- reduce extra strain on joints by ensuring your rabbit does not gain excess weight

- bring outdoor rabbits inside during spells of damp or cold weather. If this is not possible you could provide a heat pad (at a temperature comfortable for you to hold your hand on)

- if your rabbit uses a litter tray ensure the edge is low enough for him/her to easily get in and out

- provide exercise space on a non slippy surface

- controlled exercise is good for joint mobility

- or better yet book an appointment with your physiotherapist for more therapy treatments



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