Disinterest in eating as a sign of pain
This is an extremely important sign that something is wrong with your bunny. A rabbit in pain generally will not eat or drink and a rabbit that stops eating and drinking will quickly develop GI Stasis, a fatal condition where the rabbit’s digestive system shuts down. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your bunny has stopped eating or drinking. A rabbit trained veterinarian will know that this is a dire emergency and should have you come in without delay.
Because a rabbit can die from GI Stasis within 24 to 48 hours, watching a bunny’s food and water intake is extremely important. For this very reason, a rabbit owner should put their bunny on a regular feeding schedule instead of free feeding pellets throughout the day. Free feeding is the practice of filling a bowl with more pellet food than the animal can eat in one sitting, thus making pellet food available throughout the day and night. However, it is necessary to continue free feeding hay.
The free feed process will not only make it hard to determine if your bunny is eating normally, but can also pave the way for an obese bunny. If a rabbit’s food intake is decreasing and it is drinking less water than normal, this is a sign that something is wrong and your companion needs to be examined immediately.
As mentioned above, if your bunny stops eating contact your veterinarian right away. Next, start your own examination by removing your bunny from the hutch. Did your bunny grunt or snap at you when you approached? Next, administer water. A 12cc curved tip syringe is helpful. Administer as much as you can before your bunny starts trying to get away from you. Next, put your bunny on the ground and look at its movements. Is there an uneven gait, limping, favoring one side or the other or any signs that the limbs are not working correctly? Does your bunny immediately lie down, not move and appear apathetic, or immediately seek a corner or someplace to hide? Did your bunny try to bite you when you touch it on any part of its body? Is your bunny licking or chewing on any part of its body?
This process takes a long time to tell, but only takes minutes to do, and can be accomplished as you are preparing your bunny for the veterinary visit. Answers to these questions can also help your veterinarian to determine what is wrong. Though the lack of eating or drinking in itself is a dire emergency, your veterinarian will need to also determine why your bunny quit eating. In some cases, it could be a blockage in the digestive system, but answers to the questions above could also help your veterinarian determine if there are any other physical injuries or problems hurting your bunny.