Do Rabbits Have Rabies?

Bunnies are vulnerable to multiple diseases and can even die due to health conditions. As a result, a lot of pet owners often become concerned about the health of their pets. Lyssavirus, a member of the rabdovirus group, causes rabies.

But, do rabbits get rabies? You can find here details related to rabies symptoms, prevention and care in rabbits.

Do rabbits have rabies?

Rabies in rabbits is not common. It is a rare disease in them. But, they can get rabies as they are warm-blooded animals.

In general, the rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of the infected mammal. Therefore, if a rabbit is bitten by another mammal infected with rabies, it can get rabies.
Rabies in rabbits is fatal as there are not many medical ways to treat rabies in them. But, rabies is not that common in bunnies like dogs.

What are the symptoms of rabies in rabbits?

Your bunny can get infected with a rabies virus if it gets beaten by another infected animal. In some cases, the virus can also invade the body of your pet through its injuries or bite wounds.

The main symptom of rabies in rabbits is different from the symptoms seen in other animals like cats and dogs. Infected rabbits will usually become sluggish and tired. In most cases, rabies causes paralysis in rabbits. Hence, if you suddenly find your rabbit paralysis attack with a visible bite mark, can the doctor.

Other symptoms include-

  • Weakness
  • Nasal discharge
  • Tilted head
  • Bilateral conjunctivitis
  • Teeth greeting
  • Head tremors
  • Recumbent and non-responsive state
  • The rabbit refuses to eat

If you think that your bunny is suffering from rabies, try to get an immediate appointment at the vet. Only a medical test can determine if your pet is under the infection or not.

In general, the following tests are performed to check the virus infestation in a rabbit-

  • Radiography or radio imaging of the brain of the rabbit
  • Blood tests
  • Direct Fluorescent antibody assay or DFA test
  • Histopathology
  • Rabies specific antibody test
  • The direct rapid immunohistochemistry test
  • Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction test or RT-PCR test


Since rabies is a highly infectious disease, rabbits need special care. Most infected rabbits are admitted to a special isolation unit to ensure they do not infect any other bunnies, animals, or humans. Often rabbits are quarantined for up to six months and are given antibacterial and antiviral drugs.

In the case of rabies, there is no formal treatment for the bunnies. Hence, in severe cases, the infected rabbits are euthanized. However, in some cases, using rabies immune globulin or anti-rabies injection at the bite wound can offer recovery. But, the injection should be given as soon as the bite incident has occurred.

Due to the lack of formal drugs, most of the rabbits die of rabies. A bunny will die within three to four days of infection.


The only cure for rabies is prevention. Rabies vaccination can help to prevent rabies in bunnies. You should always vaccinate your pet rabbit on time and ensure it gets a proper vaccine to protect it from rabies.

Final Words

Rabies, although rare, can be fatal for rabbits. Hence, their owners should prevent any infection of this deadly disease. They should also vaccinate their bunnies on time to prevent any infection of the rabies virus.

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