Hairballs occur when the rabbit has ingested too much hair through grooming. There is a much higher risk of hairballs when the rabbit is moulting...
Hairballs occur when the rabbit has ingested too much hair through grooming, leading to a blockage in their digestive system. This condition is relatively rare in domestic rabbits but there is a much higher risk of hairballs when the rabbit is moulting.
Domestic rabbits, particular those kept indoors and therefore exposted to central heating, may moult several times a year as opposed to wild rabbits who only moult twice a year. A typical moult starts on the rabbit's forehead and moves back along its body, down the flanks and finishing at the tail. The process can take several weeks and some rabbits can appear to moult almost continuously.
- smaller or fewer droppings
- droppings containing a lot of hair
- rabbit is subdued, unwilling to move around freely
Prevention / Treatment
Hay should be freely available at all times as this high fibre helps to keep the rabbit's digestive system moving.
Moulting rabbits should be brushed at least once daily to remove dead hair and thereby prevent the rabbit ingesting it during grooming.
Consult your vet if you suspect your rabbit's digestive system is slowing as this may lead to gut stasis.