Urinary Incontinence in rabbits




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Typically, urination outside the litterbox is observed

Urine leads to yellow staining of the fur

Urine leads to alopecia on the ventral abdomen

Alopecia on the foot sole can lead to pododermatitis

Emma Staub


Rabbit suffering from incontinence caused by a bacterial infection; the condition improved after administration of antibiotics.



Bacterial causes

Urinary tract infection (UTI), by Pasteurella spp, Staphylococcus spp., or other bacteria

Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder)


Parasitic causes

Encephalitozoon cuniculi, in this case it is often accompanied by paresis of the hind limb


Presence of worms in the bladder


Calcium related causes

Hypercalciuria (increased calcium in the urine)


Mechanical causes

Urolithiasis or the presence of kidney or bladder stones

Vertebral fracture and nerve damage at the sacral level

Subluxation or luxation of the spinal cord (usually at L6 level)

Deformation of the female or male genitalia

Ambiguous genitalia (e.g. hermaphroditism)



Nervous system causes

Trauma of the spinal cord, fracture or luxation

E. cuniculi


Other causes

Obesity, with a rabbit becoming “lazy” and unable to clean himself

Hypercalciuria (abnormal amount of calcium in the urine)

Renal failure

Polyuria / polydipsia

Urolithiasis, or the presence of kidney or bladder stones

Response to estrogen in recently spayed female rabbits



Surgical causes

Response to estrogen after an  ovariohysterectomy (spaying) surgery


Polydipsia (increased drinking)


Stress resulting in psychogenic polydipsia

 Thanks to Emma Staub and her rabbit pp for helping illustrate the problem of incontinence in rabbits and

to Wendy Douglas (UK) for the information of incontinence in hermaphroditic rabbits.





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