What is Excess Urine?
While incontinence in your rabbit may be due to bladder stones or a bacterial infection, it could also be due to a behavioral issue. Your rabbit may be spraying in a show of aggression. Regardless, incontinence may not actually mean that your rabbit is experiencing an increase in urine production. 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.
Excess urine in rabbits is also called polyuria and is considered to be the elimination of urine above and beyond what is typical.
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Symptoms of Excess Urine in Rabbits
Excess urine, also called polyuria, has a variety of possible causes. A rabbit with polyuria will likely also have polydipsia or increased water intake, as an increase in thirst and water output will often go hand-in-hand. When your rabbit urinates more, he is no longer as hydrated, which will stimulate the brain’s thirst mechanisms. In other cases it is increased thirst that will lead to excess urination and the key is to determine the reason for the excess thirst.
Causes of Excess Urine in Rabbits
As there are a variety of possible causes for your rabbit’s excess urine, it is important to have your rabbit evaluated by a veterinarian to determine what is leading to his developing this issue. Possible causes include:
- Diabetes or insulinoma (a pancreatic tumor)
- Kidney disease (to include bladder stones, where mineral deposits are formed in the urinary tract).
- Liver disease
- Drugs or large quantities of sodium chloride
- Behavior issues (your rabbit may be marking territory, for example)
Diagnosis of Excess Urine in Rabbits
The veterinarian will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine what is causing polyuria in your rabbit. You should be prepared to discuss what you have seen in regards to changes in your rabbit’s urination as well as any changes you have noticed in how much water he drinks. 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.
Treatment of Excess Urine 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 polyuria along with what the veterinarian will consider for treatment.
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) may be recommended.
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. Your veterinarian will likely further examine your rabbit to see if his condition can be reversed.
Recovery of Excess Urine in Rabbits
The recovery of your rabbit will depend upon the cause of his excess urine. 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 urine. 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, wood to chew, soil to dig in, and toys
- 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 by the veterinarian 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