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What is Excess Thirst?

Excessive drinking, or drinking more than is typical (known as polydipsia) has a variety of possible causes. A rabbit with polydipsia will likely have polyuria, or excess urine, as an increase in thirst and an increase in water output will often go hand-in-hand. It is important to determine the cause of your rabbit’s excess thirst in order to treat any underlying disease processes that may be present.

Excess thirst in rabbits is also called polydipsia and is considered the intake of water that is above and beyond what is usual to see in a healthy rabbit.

Excess Thirst Average Cost

From 382 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Excess Thirst in Rabbits

You will notice that your rabbit is drinking more water than usual; a situation like this should always be evaluated by a veterinary professional. Typical water intake is 50-150 ml/kg/day; should your rabbit be drinking more than that it may be a sign of a problem. In addition to watching to see if your rabbit’s water bowl is emptied more quickly than usual, you will want to watch your rabbit’s urine output (120-130 ml/kg/day is typical) to see if it has increased or decreased and if there is any change in color. Additional symptoms will depend upon the underlying cause of your rabbit’s excess thirst. It is a good idea to note any changes you have seen in your rabbit so you can easily describe the differences to your veterinarian.

Types 

Excessive thirst could be due to heat, increased activity or acute dehydration, or when accompanied with excess urine output, an underlying medical condition. An increase in your rabbit’s urination will trigger the brain to signal thirst. Conversely, excess thirst and fluid intake will lead to an increase in urination.

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Causes of Excess Thirst in Rabbits

There are a variety of possible causes for your rabbit’s excess thirst, therefore it is important to have your rabbit evaluated by a veterinarian to determine whether there is an issue. Possible causes include:

  • Increase in thirst due to hot temperatures
  • Diabetes or insulinoma (a pancreatic tumor)
  • Dehydration (in cases of dehydration, urine output will typically decrease)
  • Kidney disease (to include bladder stones, where mineral deposits are formed in the urinary tract).
  • Liver disease
  • Toxicity 
  • Drugs or large quantities of sodium chloride
  • Behavior issues (your rabbit may be marking territory, for example)
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Diagnosis of Excess Thirst in Rabbits

The veterinarian will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine what is causing the polydipsia in your rabbit. You should be prepared to discuss what you have seen in regards to changes in your rabbit’s water intake and urine output. Blood tests and urinalysis will be conducted in order to determine your rabbit’s kidney and liver function, as well as whether there is excess blood glucose (typical in diabetes). Should your veterinarian suspect bladder or kidney stones, she may recommend radiographs or ultrasonography. If this is the case your rabbit will likely have to be sedated and stay for the day at the hospital or clinic for observation after the procedure.

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Treatment of Excess Thirst in Rabbits

How your rabbit will be treated for his excess urination will depend upon its cause. Below are some possible causes for your rabbit’s polydipsia along with what the veterinarian will consider for treatment.

Diabetes

Your veterinarian will look to treat the underlying cause. Often treatment will involve your rabbit losing weight and a change to a healthier diet (that includes hay and vegetables and eliminates foods with a lot of carbohydrates) may be recommended. Insulin is not necessary; rabbits can maintain their health with an appropriate diet. 

Bladder Stones

Your veterinarian will consider surgery or a change in the diet of your rabbit.

Kidney and Liver Disease

Your rabbit may need to be hospitalized in order to receive fluid therapy, which can aid liver and kidney function. Your veterinarian will likely further examine your rabbit to see if his condition can be reversed. Sadly, many diseases are progressive and cannot be cured.

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Recovery of Excess Thirst in Rabbits

The recovery of your rabbit will depend upon the cause of his increased thirst. You will want to follow the treatment plan recommended by your veterinarian. 

There are things you can do for your rabbit to help prevent the possibility of disease that can lead to excess thirst. These include:

  • Providing a safe, secure and non-stressful environment for your rabbit which offers shelter and an area for exercise; it should also offer your rabbit places to hide, material to nest in, toys, wood to chew, soil to dig in, etc.
  • Providing, clean, fresh water in a bowl that is large enough for a full day’s worth of water
  • Ensuring your rabbit has a healthy diet 
  • Taking your rabbit for an overall check-up once a year, as well as anytime you notice anything unusual with him (changes in appetite, drinking, urination or activity, hair loss, changes in hair coat, etc)
  • Avoiding overcrowding in your rabbit’s environment
  • Keeping toxins away, including toxic plants
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Excess Thirst Average Cost

From 382 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

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Excess Thirst Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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evie

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Mini lop

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2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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5 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Excess Drinking And Peeing,

babysitting granddaughters pet rabbit at my house--has been here before--was fine first 24 hrs. Gave her one raspberry as a snack yesterday. Last night Excess drinking and peeing-drank entire water bottle overnight,lots of pee in litter box and peed through bed. She had been eating some hay because there was less in her holder. Wasn't that interested in her romaine lettuce but came back to it several times. Normally it is gone in a flash. Not eating her hay even with a bit of alfalfa in it. Seems rather skittish--doesnt want to be petted. Daughter will be picking her up tuesday. Monitor her, I know, but should I take her to their vet before tuesday if symptoms persist?

July 28, 2018

evie's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

5 Recommendations

There are many different conditions and physiological processes which may be causing an increase in thirst which may include environmental temperature, hormonal conditions, kidney conditions, poisoning, infections among other causes; without examining Evie I cannot say what the specific cause is but you should keep a close eye on her and visit a Veterinarian to be on the safe side if there is a marked decrease in appetite. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 29, 2018

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Benny

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Rabbit

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9 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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4 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Water

Hello all. I currently work at a veterinary practice but my boss who sees small animals is not in until Friday. I just got a rabbit who’s about 9 weeks old I got off craigslist...he looked healthy and doctor said he was healthy. I gave him revolution to treat any fleas or ear mites he might have, gave the right dosage as the doctor said. I’m concerned that my bunny is drinking A LOT of water..just sits at the water bottle and drinks and drinks. I was reading online this could be caused by the romaine lethuce and cilianto I have been giving him? It’s a very small amount but ever since I gave him these he’s been at the water bottle. Is there any advice you could give me to keep him comfortable until Friday? I know I need to get him rechecked.

April 3, 2018

Benny's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

4 Recommendations

I'm not sure that i can comment on your situation without seeing Benny, but any systemic disease that might occur would be unusual at 9 weeks old, and Revolution should not cause increased drinking like that. It might be best to stick to rabbit pellets for a while , and monitor his water consumption for the next few days to see if it improves. i hope that all goes well for him.

April 3, 2018

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Excess Thirst Average Cost

From 382 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

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