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Rabbit Trouble: My Bunny Stopped Eating

Veterinary Emergency Group

Feb 29, 2024

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Your beloved little bunny is hopping around, munching adorably, and doing binkies and zoomies. He’s always been a healthy little fuzzball. Then one day out of the blue, he stops eating. What’s the deal? Does he need to see a vet?

There are a few reasons rabbits stop eating abruptly. Showing little to no interest in food is cause for concern, so let’s explore some possible reasons why your bunny isn’t eating.


Stasis: This is a term used to describe when the passage of food through a rabbit’s GI tract slows down and/or stops. Stasis can be primary or secondary, meaning it can have a number of underlying causes. Here are some possibilities, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.

  • Diet – a large percentage of stasis cases are caused (or at least predisposed) by a diet that is not high enough in indigestible fiber or a diet that is too high in carbohydrates. A balanced rabbit diet consists of 70-75% hay, some fresh veggies, very small amounts of pellets, and minimal carb-heavy treats such as fruits and yogurt drops. A sudden change in food can also cause dysbiosis, that is, an imbalance that upsets your bun’s delicate digestion.
  • Dental problems – Interesting thing about rabbits, their teeth grow throughout their entire lifetime. When they don’t eat a diet high enough in fiber, their teeth can overgrow and cause major problems with chewing food, as well as being very uncomfortable.
  • Stress – Bunnies can be very sensitive to changes in their environment, so changes in schedule, moves, new pets, construction next door, etc. may all be reasons your rabbit is not eating.
  • Pain – If uncomfortable—whether from arthritis, injury, urinary stones, or another cause—your rabbit may stop eating and thus develop secondary GI problems. See our blog on how to tell if your bunny is in pain.

GI obstruction: How destructive is your pet? If your bunny is inclined to eat non food items, like the baseboards, power cords, or cardboard, it can get stuck in his intestines and cause very serious issues. Even hair can cause a blockage. A hare with a hair blockage? Yes, it happens. Think: hairballs. Yuk. And any blockage is a serious matter. A rabbit with a GI obstruction usually becomes very sick very quickly. If your bunny stopped eating a few hours ago and already looks very unwell or painful, get them to a vet immediately—it’s a true emergency.

Liver lobe torsion: Part of a rabbit’s anatomy is called the caudate lobe of the liver, and for some reason, that little lobe is predisposed to twisting on itself. This becomes serious business as it cuts off its blood supply and can quickly become life threatening if not addressed, typically with surgery.

Cancers: Just like older dogs and cats, as rabbits age, they can develop tumors. These can cause a rabbit to slowly lose weight and eventually stop eating altogether, or act very sick all of a sudden. Different cancers in rabbits can have a variable prognosis depending on the type of tumor and its location. Female rabbits should always be spayed if they’re not breeders, as a very high percentage of unspayed females will develop cancer of the uterus.


Rabbits are delicate, sensitive creatures, and any health problem can lead them to stop eating and get very sick. Because their digestive process is constant, a bunny should be munching most hours of the day and night. If they aren’t, there can be serious consequences. A full physical exam and diagnostics with your vet can help determine the underlying cause and how aggressively to treat. The vet will most likely discuss other factors with you, like:

  • Chronicity – So, how long has this been going on? It’s worrisome if your bun hasn’t touched food in multiple days, and he should be seen right away. However, if it has only been an hour, it might be reasonable to try offering one of his favorite things (say, parsley) to see if it might get things back on track.
  • Energy level – If your bunny is acting like his normal self, performing zoomies and other cute rabbit antics, it’s not as concerning as hiding in a corner and acting hunched and uncomfortable.
  • Defecation – Oh poop! This is another cause for concern if your bunny is not eating. Consider if your pet:
    • has stopped pooping (See our blog for more info on this.)
    • is pooping fewer pellets or pellets are smaller or firmer
    • is having diarrhea. (A not-so-fun fact: diarrhea can be fatal for rabbits.)

Any of these symptoms are cause for serious concern, and your bunny should see the vet.


Treatment depends on finding the underlying cause of the problem and then addressing it. For example, a bunny with a GI obstruction or a liver lobe torsion may require surgery for the best outcome, and a bunny with tooth problems should see his regular vet for a dental exam. An emergency vet will likely recommend some diagnostic tests to help pin down exactly what is going on.

In the short term, there are a few cornerstones to treatment. One of these is addressing dehydration, either by getting your bunny eating and drinking as quickly as possible, or with a fluid injection under the skin. In severe cases, an IV placement and hospital stay for more intensive fluid therapy may be recommended if your bunny is sick enough. Another cornerstone of treatment is getting nutrients into your pet with syringe feeding when appropriate (i.e., not if there is a GI obstruction).


If your rabbit is not eating, contact your family veterinarian or your nearest VEG location (where you can always speak to a vet right away, 24/7). Addressing the issue quickly gives your bun the best chance of making a full recovery and getting back to munching and doing binkies.