If your rabbit does not urinate, you must act quickly and go to a veterinary center. The causes why your pet stops urinating can be several. However, in the vast majority of cases, if action is taken quickly, the problem can be fixed.
Understanding the urinary tract of rabbits
The urinary system of the rabbit is made up of two kidneys, a urine bladder, two ureters, and a urethra.
The kidneys are large, dark in color, and with a smooth surface. They play an essential role in the metabolism of calcium since they are capable of excreting or conserving it according to the metabolic needs of each moment.
The rabbit’s urine bladder is in the caudal part of the abdomen. From this comes the urethra, which is responsible for transporting urine from the bladder to the outside during urination.
Urination that sometimes happens on top of a person. Yes, it may have happened to you that your rabbit urinates on you.
But in this case, what interests us is to know why the rabbit does not urinate, in general.
Causes why my rabbit does not urinate
To begin with, it would be necessary to distinguish between anuria and oliguria. Anuria is the total arrest of diuresis (the excretion of urine), while oliguria is the decrease in mass.
Both cases can be due to alterations or pathologies of the urinary system. These pathologies could be:
- Prerenal (before the kidneys).
- Renal (in the kidneys themselves).
- Postrenals (after the kidneys, in the urinary tract).
The most common are the last ones.
Let’s now look at the pathologies that can give an answer to why a rabbit does not urinate.
It is the presence of stones or uroliths in the urinary tract. The formation of stones is caused by hypercalciuria together with reduced water intake, change in urine pH due to infections, or diets rich in calcium oxalate.
In addition to urolithiasis, there are other causes that can cause obstructions in the urinary tract such as:
When a urinary obstruction persists for a long time, it could lead to a rupture in the urinary tract. That would cause urine to leak into the abdominal cavity.
When a calcium intake is excessive in the rabbit’s diet, it will be expelled via the kidneys. In this case, a calcium carbonate deposit may occur in the urine bladder and this, in turn, will cause a strong dilation of the organ.
This can be the reason why a rabbit does not urinate. But in addition to this, other symptoms that you could present:
- Blood in the urine ( hematuria ).
- Difficulty urinating in case of oliguria.
- General signs (depression, weight loss, anorexia).
- Very thick and whiter urine than usual.
- Dermatitis on the skin of the perineum because calcium carbonate deposits in the urine are irritating to the skin.
Acute kidney injury
Another reason why the rabbit does not urinate could be acute kidney injury (AKI). Those pathologies where there is acute damage to the nephrons (functional unit of the kidney), will lead to AKI.
Among the main causes of AKI are nephritis, nephrotoxicosis, and ischemic necrosis.
It is a neurological problem that causes the bladder to lose its contractile capacity, preventing urination. Because of this, the bladder becomes excessively dilated.
Any cause that causes blood flow to the kidney to decrease will also decrease the volume of blood that is filtered, and therefore also the volume of urine.
The causes will be a shock, dehydration, heart disease, and renal arterial thrombosis.
My rabbit does not urinate: what do I do?
The first step will be to go to the vet as soon as possible. In many cases, the situation can be reversible. Failure to do so and act, problem could lead to irreversible kidney failure.
When the bladder is very distended, it will have to be emptied by means of a bladder puncture or catheterization. In this way, the rupture of the urinary tract and its consequent ur abdomen (that the urine goes to the abdomen) will be avoided and hydronephrosis due to retrograde accumulation of urine in the urinary system, which would reach the kidney, will also be prevented.
If the causes are hypercalciuria or urolithiasis, the factor that caused the process should be treated (motivate the rabbit’s water intake, exercise, reduce calcium intake, etc.).
Pain relievers will be prescribed and administered. If the stones can be removed with pharmacological treatment, this will be done and if not, surgical intervention will be necessary to remove them.
When the causes are renal, in addition to specifically treating the primary cause, the animal will be rehydrated with the appropriate fluid therapy.
For prerenal causes, appropriate treatment will be established to increase renal blood flow and thus reverse azotemia.
Although you now have the information on why your rabbit does not urinate, as you have seen, it is essential that you go with him to a veterinary center to be treated. Remember that the health of your pet is in your hands.