Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Does Wet Tail Kill Rabbits? (Detailed Prevention Guide)


One of my rabbits likes to sit in damp places. Initially, I assumed that to be normal since he wanted to cool his body. But, his tail turned soggy at some point resulting in a wet tail. Does wet tail kill rabbits? I kept asking myself and began applying remedies that worked the best for him. Do you have rabbits with a wet tail? This article is going to be for you containing my experiences and proven methods. Before that, let me answer your question.

Does wet tail kill rabbits? Wet tail does not typically kill rabbits but is a serious condition if left untreated for long. Since it is caused due to parasites, urine, loss of fur, and flystrike, you should address the problem immediately before it proliferates.

How dangerous is a wet tail?

Wet tail, urine scalding, is a serious and often fatal condition that can affect rabbits of all ages, but it is most commonly seen in young rabbits. The tail remains soggy and loses fur as a patch. Most importantly, you can observe a decline in the movements of your rabbit.

If left untreated, a wet tail can lead to death. However, with prompt treatment, most rabbits will make a full recovery.

If your rabbit is showing symptoms of a wet tail, it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Having raised rabbits for long, I would like you to treat the bunny immediately and not let him suffer as it can affect other organs.

How do rabbits get wet tail?

Rabbits can get wet tails through their urine contact or long hours of sitting on the water. The wet tail can also be a result of other health problems such as parasites, stress, malnutrition, and contact of the urethra with urine/water stagnated on the floor.

There are also other reasons for rabbits to get wet tails.

  • Loss of fur in the hind region – caused by urine and feces scalding
  • Redness and swelling around the anus- as a result of continuous wetting of the skin.
  • Abnormal droppings: watery, mucus, bloody or with bits of undigested food.
  • Wet fur – sign that the animal is not able to keep itself dry.
  • E. cuniculi – a single-celled parasite that can cause wet tail. It can even turn incurable at some point.
  • Infection – Wet tail can also be caused by various types of bacteria, most notably Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • Fly strike – a serious complication that can arise when the rabbit’s rear end is wet and soiled.
  • Arthritis – Older rabbits that are obese tend to find difficulties raising hindlegs and peeing.
  • Crystals in urethra – Crystals can block urinary region and your rabbit is going to silently suffer with a wet tail being unable to mention the presence of blockage.

According to Cottontails Rescue, wet tail or urine scalding can also allow the proliferation of bacteria and fungi within their bodies.

If you have an old rabbit, wet tail is due to arthritis and you need to get him treated.

Rabbits with wet tails often have a fever, and they are very weak and tend to lose weight quickly. Further, it can also be a complication due to castration. They stay dehydrated in those cases.

Here is an article on – how to tell if a rabbit is dehydrated?

Does my rabbit have a wet tail?

In order to find out if your rabbit has a wet tail, you need to ask certain things upon reviewing the existing condition of your rabbit.

  1. Is your rabbit obese?
  2. Is your rabbit finding difficulties lifting hindlegs?
  3. Has he got injured recently?
  4. Is he passing watery diarrhea?
  5. Does he have a soggy tail?
  6. Does he frequently sit on water?
  7. Has he recently got sterilized?
  8. Has he been recently diagnosed for urinary issues?
  9. Does he have a rough patch of fur lost somewhere at his hind region?

If you have answered YES to any of these questions, you should take to a vet to check the presence of a wet tail. Before things go out of hand, taking an expert help is always ideal.

Wet tail treatment at home for rabbit

Cleaning urine scald

The primary treatment for rabbits having wet tails is to clean urine scald. Here are the steps involved.

  • Take up half teaspoon of dry cornstarch and apply it to damp area.
  • Pat the bunny for sometime so he cooperates.
  • The cornstarch has the ability to totally absorb dampness.
  • After sometime, you can see cornstarch powder dropping on the floor. Alternatively, you can also brush the rabbit.

This is a way to fix urine scald without a bath.

Diapers cannot fix wet tail. Here is an article about it – Can a rabbit wear diapers?

Using anti-inflammatory medicines

If you see visible changes in your bunny, you might have to take to a vet who will prescribe for anti-inflammatory medicine (usually Metacam) to control the pain.

The advantage with anti-inflammatory medicines is that it allows the rabbit to move normally without struggles. This will also activate hindlegs to function normally. As a result, the possibility of a wet tail is negligible.

Change the hutch

An inappropriate, unhygienic hutch is often the reason for rabbits to have a wet tail. You need to know the exact space your rabbit might need based on the need.

Here is an article about space for angora rabbits – How much space do angora rabbits need?

When you change the hutch, there is a gap between the hind part and the floor where they pass urine. In this case, you should ensure you maintain a cleaning routine so they don’t develop exposure to infections.

Wet tail drops

Can rabbits have wet tail drops? Wet tail drops are highly recommended under vet’s supervision and it is the perfect treatment for diarrhea and needs to be given with water.

You can purchase wet dail drops on Amazon but ensure that your vet is aware of it. Some rabbits (especially baby bunnies) might develop allergies and other complications.

While wet tail drops cannot be treated as the perfect solution, these can still work great in solving the wet tail problem.

Rabbit butt bath

Some rabbits that are unable to self-clean ask for a butt bath. This is also an excellent way to keep their hind part neat.

Here’s how you can do it.

  • Take a litter box with towel at the bottom.
  • Take about half cup of lukewarm water and fill in the litter box.
  • Hold his front part upways so his butt completely immerses in the water.
  • As you squish water, you can see poop or any particles stuck in the region falling down.
  • Take out your rabbit from the box and gently pat with the butt region with a towel.

Ensure that you use an absorbent towel that instantly dries the region.

You should avoid a certain things in this process.

  • Do not use shampoo or conditioner to give him a butt bath.
  • Do not use a paper towel as it can stick to the butt and double the process.
  • Do not use an electric dryer to dry the region. It might be inconvenient for your bunny.

Is wet tail contagious?

Wet tail is generally contagious as it touches various objects and can transmit to fellow rabbits or other animals around.

If there are many rabbits, here is an article that tells what can happen when you isolate rabbits – do rabbits need to be in pairs?

It is always recommended to isolate the rabbit with a wet tail. You can use a broader hutch to isolate him and he should be fine with this process. Just that the entire treatment might need a couple of days to see significant recovery.

Note. If your rabbit has multiple complications, the recovery time can take longer.

Why is my rabbits bum always wet?

The rabbit’s bum is always wet because of the closeness to the hutch or post-castration complication or watery diarrhea.

In all of these cases, it can be stressful to your rabbit as he can turn depressed and dehydrated. To avoid the likelihood of a wet bum, you may have to provide him ample space to move around so he doesn’t sit on his pee.

The second thing is to take him to a vet and check if he has other urinary tract issues. This can also leave his bum soggy.

Why is my rabbit peeing on himself?

The symptom of rabbit peeing on himself is the case of urinary incontinence where the bladder tone is either lost or interrupted with crystals. When your rabbit is unable to stand, he might pee on himself.

If you have rabbits in the age group of 3-5 years old, you are more likely to find him peeing on himself and sometimes, he might even remain unaware of this accidental urine leak.

According to PetMD, the urinary continence can happen due to –

  • Structural issues
  • Abnormal calcium levels found in blood
  • Paralysis/injuries in the hind region
  • Obesity

In such instances, you may have to treat him with better living standards. While his vet might prescribe medications for the same, you should also strive harder to give better spaces.

Why rabbits make noise when peeing?

A squealing or whimpering noise while peeing usually indicates pain or discomfort caused by the urinary tract. Sometimes, it can also be due to gastrointestinal stasis.

You need to observe the noise for a few times before you take him to a vet for further treatment. There are more chances for your rabbits to develop urinary tract infection (UTI) if there are constant noises with pitches increasing slowly over time.


It is not uncommon for rabbits to develop wet tails but when they do, they need excessive care and should be isolated from other animals.

It is advisable to carry your rabbit to a vet but there are also home remedies to treat wet tail in rabbits especially if it is in the initial stage. You can try butt bath or drops or a change in hutch.

Always remember that the quality of life you provide to him keeps him away from medical emergencies! I have personally witnessed it and also advise fellow bunny owners to maintain the same since it can be a peaceful life for you and your bunny.

Sowmya Sankaran
Sowmya Sankaran
Sowmya Sankaran is crazy about animals and birds! An avid rescuer and rehabilitator of animals and birds, she uses PETSMOND to share her experiences in raising different creatures and paying attention to intricate aspects of their health. Know more about me - https://petsmond.com/about/

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