Rabbit Mag

Do rabbits get hiccups? – 4 Easy Prevention Tips

I was recently eating dinner with my family when I noticed my little sister’s rabbit, Toby, hiccupping. We all got a good laugh out of it and started wondering if rabbits actually get hiccups.

Yes, rabbits can and do get hiccups! In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons why rabbits might get hiccups and what you can do if your rabbit starts hiccupping.

So, I did some research to find out the answer and discovered that, yes, rabbits can get hiccups!

But what causes them and how can you help your rabbit if they start hiccupping? Keep reading to learn more.

Do rabbits get hiccups?

Yes! rabbits Do get hiccups. Rabbits, like humans and a large majority of other animals, get hiccups. The sound is similar to a human being but is usually shorter. This may be because rabbits have faster metabolism, are more muscular, are smaller animals, have faster heart rates, are not obese, have different chests, have no diaphragm or notch at the sternum.

Thus making it harder for their lungs to expand, have less hiccups per day, hiccup at a different rate, and don’t vocalize their hiccups.

Why do rabbits get hiccups – Common Causes

There are many reasons as to why a rabbit may have hiccups. 

Some possible causes could be due to the following:

Carbon dioxide overproduction or deficiency in the blood: Carbon dioxide deficiency or excess is often due to hypoventilation, hyperventilation, pnemonia, asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung diseases.

gastrointestinal issues: If a rabbit has hiccups soon after eating then there may be an issue with their gastrointestinal tract. This could be as a result of intestinal blockage or enteritis. It also maybe due to esophageal reflux or motility disorder such as megaesophagus.

dehydration: Rabbits frequently drink water and must always have access to fresh clean drinking water throughout the day for them to stay hydrated and maintain good health overall! If they do not get enough moisture in their system they can also experience hiccups, as well as dry nose and mouth.

Distension of stomach from gas : Gas is a common cause of hiccups. Once the stomach is distended with gas, it may produce hiccup. Foods that are high in fiber, highly salted foods, or other gas-forming foods may increase the frequency of hiccups. You also have to keep in mind that a rabbit’s stomach is very delicate and troubles may arise from gas that the rabbit drinks or eats. Some foods like corn, carrots and tinned or fresh fruits have a high water content. These foods may cause a rabbit’s stomach to distend with gas if they drink too much of them at once so it is important to introduce these foods gradually in small portions over a period of days for the particular rabbit.

Tumors: Any tumor that grows larger and presses on surrounding tissues can result in hiccups by irritating the vagus nerve and accessory nerves, which go to the diaphragm , causing spasm and contraction of diaphragmatic muscle. It can also lead to compression of the esophagus or other similar problems such as bowel obstruction or distension.

Intestinal blockage : blockage in the intestinal tract can lead to many issues for rabbits. It includes digestive problems, diarrhea or constipation and is most often due to hairballs or fur ingestion.

Eating too fast: This is the most common cause of hiccups in rabbits, typically just after eating. If rabbits are allowed to eat too quickly, they may choke on their food causing the air to get caught in their esophagus or stomach. This can lead to a lot of discomfort and then produce hiccups as a result.

Baby bunnies are the most common victims of this! They do this when they are teething or playing because their teeth are constantly growing in so they chew on everything. If rabbits eat too quickly it can lead to digestive issues, obesity and dental problems.

They may also experience indigestion, bloating in the stomach area or gas in the digestive tract if they eat too fast. Indigestion in turn can also lead to nausea, vomiting and more hiccups!

How Long Do Hiccups in Rabbits Last?

Hiccups in rabbits can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. The duration of hiccups will depend on the underlying cause. If it is due to intestinal blockage or other underlying conditions, they are likely to be long term and much more serious.

The factors that determine the duration of hiccups are:

the age of the rabbit. Rabbits under 4 months tend to have more serious health concerns and problems that will need to be addressed ASAP

the severity of a rabbit’s condition can vary from mild all the way to very severe. If it is a more serious case, then they will likely have hiccups for longer durations

if it is due to eating too fast, then the hiccups will typically subside within a few minutes once the rabbit has finished eating. If there are other underlying conditions at hand, then they may experience longer episodes of hiccups

Hiccups in rabbits can be an indicator that there are issues with their health so if you notice long term hiccups, always consult with your vet.

Are Hiccups Dangerous for Rabbits?

Hiccups are typically quite harmless and will not cause any serious problems for rabbits. but if the cause is due to a more serious condition, such as blockage of the intestinal tract or tumors, they may be indicative of something potentially life threatening. If you notice that your rabbit has long term or chronic hiccups, then it is important to visit with the vet ASAP because it could be an underlying issue that needs treatment.

If your bunny does experience chronic/long term issues with their digestive system and they also have bouts of hiccups, this can lead to other complications like:

  • indigestion (bloating) in the stomach may cause nausea and vomiting and if left untreated will result in malnutrition
  • the lack of fluid intake will affect their urinary tract which can lead to infection and dehydration
  • when rabbits get sick, gas builds up in their digestive tract and they will need to expel the gas. This can cause pain which is why rabbits with hiccups will often be seen kicking or stretching out their legs

Hiccups may indicate that there are larger issues at hand, but it does not always mean that is the case.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, Make sure you consult with your vet before administering any home remedies because not all of them may be safe or appropriate.

Respiratory Conditions Related to Hiccups in Rabbits

Respiratory can also be a factor related to hiccups in rabbits. If your rabbit has lung problems, this could trigger hiccups.

Pulmonary abscess – an infected pocket of pus near the lungs that builds up over time due to bacteria Clostridium tetanii (tetanus) – bacteria found in soil and manure which produces spores leading to muscle spasms, seizures, respiratory issues and tremors Pneumonia – bacterial or viral infection that causes inflammation of the lungs or air sacs

Rabbits with any type of respiratory condition may experience hiccups as part of their symptoms. Symptoms of respiratory conditions include:

  • coughing, wheezing and sneezing
  • labored breathing and gasping for air
  • distress or difficulty breathing which can result in a bluish tinge to the skin (cyanosis)
  • straining to expel the gas from their digestive system (which can also lead to hiccups, as discussed above)

If you are concerned about your rabbit’s breathing pattern, make sure to consult with your vet for an accurate diagnosis.

Digestive Conditions Related to Hiccups in Rabbits

Digestive Conditions are another reason why hiccups are seen in rabbits. If something is impeding their ability to eat or drink, they will experience long term hiccups as a result of dehydration. obstruction is a blockage that prevents the proper movement of food and fluid through the digestive tract .

gastrointestinal stasis are the most common issues related to chronic hiccups in rabbits

If you notice your rabbit experiencing long term bouts of hiccups, investigate for other signs associated with gastrointestinal stasis which include:

  • loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • dehydration, due to lack of water intake or vomiting
  • straining to defecate without results
  • hardened droppings that are difficult to pass (due to dehydration and lack of fluid to soften them up)
  • weight loss because they are unable to eat normally which may lead to malnutrition. the formation of gas bubbles in the stomach or intestines can further exacerbate the condition because there is nowhere for the gas build up because it cannot be expelled through normal channels. This can result in significant pain for your bunny.

Hiccups vs. Seizures in Rabbits

Seizures are often misdiagnosed as hiccups but there are some key differences between the two:

Seizures (aka convulsions) last only a few seconds and your rabbit will lose consciousness for a short time. Hiccups can last for minutes at a time and your rabbit may not pass out.

Seizures do not necessarily involve muscle spasms, whereas hiccups often result in leg kicking and general discomfort (which is why they might stretch their legs). Seizures can cause involuntary urination or gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea because the muscles in those areas become uncontrolled. Hiccups usually do not affect either of those functions unless it is related to respiratory distress which causes gas build up.

Some rabbits have both seizures and hiccups, which can make it very difficult to determine what is causing the issue without medical tests. Many times you will see both symptoms at once; if that is the case, then your bunny should be taken to a rabbit-savvy vet immediately.

Hiccups in Rabbits During Labor

It is not uncommon for female rabbits (doe) to experience hiccups during labor as a response to the rapid changes in their body and hormone fluctuations they are going through. If you notice your doe experiencing this symptom after she gives birth, wait a few hours before taking her to the vets office for an assessment because these bouts of hiccups usually go away on their own within 24 hours even if there are complications with initial delivery.

Maternal Hiccups in Rabbits after Birth

But what about the time after birth? Does a doe experience hiccups when she has her kits? Will this affect her babies? Well, it is not uncommon to see your rabbit experiencing short bouts of hiccups in the hour or two following the delivery. And no, this does not affect her kits. You may even notice that they are feeding off of these small spurts of energy by “catching” the air bubbles with their mouths if you are watching them! This is an excellent sign that all is well and you should let nature run its course because there is nothing you can do to stop or prevent it from happening.

Generally speaking, most rabbits enjoy good health and do not experience extended bouts of hiccups. But if you notice your rabbit experiencing repeated and long term bouts of hiccups that seem to be associated with other digestive issues or behavior changes, then take him or her to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Hiccups vs. Upset Stomach

It is important to know the difference between hiccups and an upset stomach because they both can present with similar symptoms such as:

  • loss of appetite (anorexia)
  • dehydration, due to lack of water intake or vomiting
  • straining to defecate without results
  • hardened droppings that are difficult to pass (due to dehydration and lack of fluid to soften them). If you note these signs in your rabbit, you should take him/her to the vet as soon as possible because it could be a more serious condition that requires medical treatment.

Hiccups in rabbits may or may not be a concern but if they become chronic or associated with other health issues (like acid reflux and gastrointestinal problems), then your best approach is to enlist the help of a veterinarian familiar with treating rabbits and similar types of small pets.

How to get rid of bunny hiccups – Treatments

Waiting is the best cure for a bout of hiccups. If it has been less than an hour, the best thing to do is leave your bunny alone – sometimes they just need time to process whatever food or treats you gave them! You can also try holding your bunny upright (with his/her head higher than their bottom) for 15-20 minutes; this might help them burp and release some of the air they’ve swallowed.

If your rabbit’s hiccups persist for longer than an hour, then there are a few options you can try at home before bringing him/her to the vet (and these tips work on dogs too!):

Option 1 – Use gravity! Gently hold your bunny upside down so his/her head is lower than their bottom. It might be difficult to maintain this position for too long, but it’s worth a try.

Option 2 – Use your finger! Extend your index finger toward your rabbit’s face and press just below the point where their jaw meets their skull. If you’re using the right spot, there will be an indentation that you can feel with your fingertip when you press in firmly. Hold this pressure for 10-20 seconds or until they stop hiccuping (whichever comes first). Keep in mind that they might kick out of reflex if they are uncomfortable with this, so start with very shallow presses until you see what they react to most!

Option 3 – Use a cold pack! You can use a plastic bag filled with ice cubes or frozen peas wrapped in a thin towel as a cold pack. Slide it under your rabbit’s lower back and hold it against their spine for about 2 minutes at a time. This should interrupt the spasms that cause hiccups. NOTE: Do not leave your rabbit alone with a cold pack because they can cause frostbite if left unattended!

Option 4 – Use massage! Hold your bunny in your arms (similar to how you would hold them while you give them back rubs!) and use the tip of your fingers to press gently on their diaphragm (the muscular wall under their rib cage) for about 10 seconds at a time, down along both sides of their spine. This should help ease any tension that is causing their hiccups.

How to Prevent Rabbit Hiccups in the future

The hiccups are usually caused by several factors, both internal and external. Any stomach upset can cause your rabbit to start hiccupping, as well as respiratory problems. This is why it’s important to understand the different causes of hiccups, so that you know what you’re dealing with.

Clean Air

make sure that there’s enough fresh air in the room where your rabbit is. This means opening the windows and doors so you can increase ventilation.

If your rabbit is in an enclosed room with a lot of air pollution, smoke or toxic fumes, it’s best to put him in a less-polluted room.

Alcohol and Other Chemicals

Do not feed your rabbit any type of alcohol, as it can be poisonous to him. Some other chemicals and toxins can impact your rabbit’s system and cause hiccups as well.

If the hiccups started after your rabbit ingested or breathed any kind of chemical or poison, then you need to take him to a veterinarian ASAP.

Gastrointestinal Upset

Try to figure out what caused the gastrointestinal upset if that’s the case. If your rabbit has eaten anything he shouldn’t have or drank any poisons, you should take him to a veterinarian as soon as possible because an impacted gut can cause hiccups.

always feed your rabbit healthy, fresh and nutritious food to prevent any gastrointestinal problems before they start. Foods that often Gastrointestinal Upset are:

  • Dairy Products
  • Dried or Artificial Sugars
  • Starches
  • Weed Seeds

Clean Water

keep a clean water source for your rabbits at all times. Ingestion of contaminated water will also cause hiccups. Keep an eye on their drinking habits and make sure they drink plenty of clean water throughout the day.

Treatments:  Rabbit hiccup treatments vary depending on what triggers them and what other symptoms may be present with them. If you think that your rabbit’s hiccups are caused by something else, such as pneumonia or gastroenteritis, then

what do bunny hiccups look like?

When your bunny’s diaphragm goes into spasm, you’ll see their sides heaving in and out very quickly. Their throat will be slightly open because it’s hard for them to breathe during these episodes. However, unlike people who get hiccups all the time, rabbits hardly ever lose control of their bladder when they get them.

what do bunny hiccups sound like?

They sound like a loud snore or gasp, because rabbits have to work very hard just to get air into their lungs during the spasms.

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