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

Toxoplasmosis in rabbits

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)

Traumatic lesions of the female or male genitalia, e.g. (self-)mutilation of the penis, prolapsus of the female genital tract

Congenital malformation or ambiguous genitalia (e.g. hypospadias, hermaphroditism)



Nervous system causes

Trauma of the spinal cord, fracture or luxation

Encephalitozoon cuniculi


Other causes

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

Renal failure

Polyuria / polydipsia

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 about incontinence in hermaphroditic rabbits.





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