Why Is Your Pet Rabbit Limping?

Why Is Your Pet Rabbit Limping?

Here we can see, “Why Is Your Pet Rabbit Limping?”

Rabbits are well-known for their hopping agility and have strong back legs. However, just like other animals, a rabbit’s limp can be caused by a variety of factors.


If your rabbit’s leg has been fractured (broken), it may suddenly begin to limp. Although this is an obvious cause of limping in rabbits, it is also a significant one. Rabbits can jump off of high places or out of your arms while you’re holding them, breaking their legs if they land too hard on their legs. This happens frequently when tiny toddlers try to carry pet rabbits. A fractured leg might result from the rabbit struggling and falling or jumping and landing awkwardly. If you think your rabbit has fractured its leg, take it to an exotic vet as soon as possible.

A fracture could also occur if your rabbit’s leg gets caught in anything, such as its cage bars. Hay hoppers and improperly sized cage bar spacing, as well as ramps in their cages and floor vents in your home, are common offenders. Check to see if your rabbit’s legs can fit into or through any of the items in their environment.


Pododermatitis, sometimes known as “Bumblefoot,” is a foot ailment that can affect rabbits. This type of issue can be excruciatingly uncomfortable, causing your rabbit to limp. On the bottoms of their feet (usually at the heel) or hocks, you’ll see redness, sores, hair loss, and even scabbing or oozing (ankles). 1

Several reasons can induce bumblefoot in rabbits. Bumblefoot can be caused by your rabbit being overweight and putting too much pressure on their feet and hocks, resulting in sores that become infected; dirty environments that cause persistent moisture on the feet and hocks; rough surfaces such as metal wires that your rabbit has no relief from; your rabbit sitting in their dirty litterbox for extended periods of time; and sedentary rabbits who sit for long periods of time without much exercise. Bumblefoot can also happen if one of the rabbit’s legs is injured and the rabbit relies on the other good limb for a long time.

Depending on the severity of the condition, antibiotics, pain medications, increased cushioning, and treating the cause of the disease are all common treatments for bumblefoot.

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While it’s hardly the answer anyone wants to hear, tumours can cause rabbits to hobble. Bone tumours are common in rabbits and are extremely painful, causing them to hobble. If you observe any kind of swelling or lump on your rabbit, schedule an appointment with your exotic veterinarian to determine what it is. It may be necessary to remove the tumour surgically if it is a tumour. If the growth is malignant, it may be necessary to amputate the legs.


Abscesses are extremely common in rabbits. Abscesses can appear anywhere on a rabbit’s body and are extremely tough to remove. They can also grow large enough to bother your rabbit and cause limping if they’re on their legs.

Abscesses are pus-filled lumps that are treated by lancing (cutting them open) and administering antibiotics, pain relievers, and, in some cases, surgical debridement or removal. If you discover any form of mass on your rabbit, have your exotic doctor check it to determine how to treat it, just like a tumour.


Osteoarthritis, sometimes known as arthritis, is an inflammation of the joints that can harm rabbits just like it can humans, dogs, and other pets. Arthritis affects older rabbits and might cause them to limp.

Arthritis can affect both the front and back legs, and it’s crucial to realise that it can affect any joint. Arthritis is not limited to the elbows and knees, as many people believe; it can also affect the carpus (wrist), hock (ankle), hip joint, and any of the many joints in the feet and toes.

In order to diagnose arthritis in rabbits, radiographs (X-rays) are employed. There is no way to reverse arthritis, but there are treatments for the pain and inflammation it can cause. Your exotic vet may prescribe or recommend various medications and vitamins, but it is critical to discuss any of these with them before attempting to medicate your rabbit. Your vet may also offer physical therapy, laser therapy, or even acupuncture, in addition to the above treatments.

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With their fragile gastrointestinal tracts, several long-term drugs and dosages may be dangerous to rabbits. Since there are no medicines that are labelled or made to treat rabbits’ arthritis over the long term, anything you give them will almost certainly be off-label.

For rabbits with arthritis, there are diets and supplements with additional substances. These things are intended to help with the treatment of osteoarthritis in rabbits, but they may not be sufficient to entirely eliminate the limping. Omega fatty acids, glucosamine, turmeric, and other natural nutrients may make your rabbit healthier and stop joint problems from happening in the future.

Nail Overgrowth

Your rabbit’s nails may naturally grind down if they spend time on rough surfaces, but most pet rabbits require regular nail trimming. If a rabbit’s nails are left untrimmed for an extended period of time, they will grow into the pad of the foot or break off at the quick, causing pain and discomfort.

The long nail that has curled into your rabbit’s footpad will need to be cut and removed from the pad. It will almost certainly bleed, requiring antibiotics, pain medicine, and possibly a bandage. If the nails are just too long, they could get caught on carpets or in the cage, ripping them off and causing the bird to bleed.

If you have styptic powder, you can typically handle this at home, but if your rabbit is in too much pain, pain medication may be helpful. Make sure your rabbit’s feet stay clean regardless of the nail issue. Infected nail damage sites are caused by dirty feet.


Rabbits, like other animals and people, can have their joints dislocated. A dislocation occurs when a joint “pops out of place,” and it may require assistance to return to its original position. Your rabbit may limp until a dislocated joint (such as the hip or knee joint) pops back into place. A joint that has been displaced for an extended period of time cannot be replaced. If you suspect your rabbit has a dislocation, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.

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Spinal Disorders

Rabbits backs can be injured by kicking too hard, being dropped, or suffering from intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). It might be a chronic problem (due to bulging discs that get inflamed and put pressure on the spinal cord) or an acute problem (due to trauma), but spinal disorders can cause your rabbit to hobble and wobble.

Spinal problems are dangerous in any species, so if you’re concerned about your rabbit’s spine, you should visit an exotic veterinarian. To aid in diagnosis, radiographs and other imaging such as MRI or CT may be recommended, as well as steroids, pain medicines, and other therapies to treat your rabbit.

Soft Tissue Damage

Your rabbit may hobble due to sprains, strains, and other soft-tissue ailments. Although a fracture or dislocation may appear to be a soft tissue injury, surgery is not required. Rest and anti-inflammatory and pain medications are commonly suggested, but soft tissue injuries normally heal on their own (unless a ligament or tendon is torn, which will require an MRI or CT scan to diagnose).

User Questions

Can bunnies sprain their legs?

Your rabbit may hobble due to sprains, strains, and other soft-tissue ailments. Even though a break or dislocation may look like an injury to soft tissue, surgery is not needed.

How do you tell if a rabbit’s leg is broken?

Rabbits’ weak bones can shatter when they crack, making mending more difficult. The first symptom of a broken leg in a rabbit is when they begin to limp. They may also have signs of pain, like a hunched back, shallow breathing, feeling tired, or not wanting to move at all.

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Will a rabbit’s broken leg heal on its own?

The fracture in this bunny’s leg could take up to two months to heal. It is necessary to rest and use the leg sparingly during this time in order for the fracture to heal. He can walk on it comfortably with the splint, which is a vital component of the healing process.

Do bunnies heal fast?

Adhesions (normal tissue healing) begin to form in rabbits within 24 hours of surgery. A male will normally recover faster after a spay/neuter since a neuter is less invasive than a spay. A man is usually ready to go back to normal activities a few days after surgery.

Can a rabbit live with three legs?

Rabbits adjust to life on three legs amazingly well (and can even adapt to life with two, if cared for properly). We know a lot of young bunnies who get around quite well with one leg missing; they run, hop, play, binky, and get into mischief like any other bunny.


I hope you found this helpful guide. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the form below.


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