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Long Haired Bunny Care Guide: The Great Bunny Moult, What To Do When All Your Rabbit's Fur Falls Out
What If It's Not A Moult?
Your rabbit's fur loss may not always be caused by moulting. If your rabbit gets mites, its fur may also fall out.
You can tell the difference between mites and moulting by the fact that mites tend to cause patches of total fur loss, which usually take place around the ear region. There is usually something of a dandruff effect caused when there is a mite infestation.
If in any doubt as to the cause of your rabbit's fur loss, talk to your vet.
A relatively under discussed phenomenon in rabbit keeping is moulting. Owners of short haired rabbits should not have too much trouble with moulting, because the short hair falls out easily enough with just basic grooming and generally speaking does not give a rabbit too much trouble. Longer haired rabbits are a different story all together however. When your rabbit goes into a moult, huge chunks of hair come loose, and a good grooming regime becomes even more important. If you do not groom your rabbit and remove the fur there is a high likelihood that the rabbit will swallow some and develop a fur ball in the intestinal tract.
These aren't any cute laughing matter either, fur balls can quickly kill a rabbit, so you must stay on top of the moult in order to best keep your rabbit healthy. There are also various products on the market to aid in fur ball prevention, and some rabbit keepers swear by small weekly amounts of pineapple to help lubricate the digestive tract and ensure that fur balls do not form.
If your rabbit hasn't gone through a major moult as yet you might be puzzled as to why this is such a big deal. Trust me, once you pat your bunny and find that half his or her fur is coming away in your hand, you'll know why this is an important subject. You're at a certain advantage however, because many rabbit owners have no idea what is going on when their rabbit goes through its first major moult, and become afraid that perhaps their rabbit is sick. (It is worth noting that some rabbits never moult this way, and others do so a couple of times a year.)
This particular vision of bunnicular wrath is in the middle of a very heavy moult indeed. Most moults are not this severe, in her case, most of the fur on the back has fallen out, and only the darker undercoat remains. This is what is known in the rabbit keeping world as "blowing" a coat. The hair just comes away in chunky tufts, and the rabbit is left with very little hair in some areas.
If this happens with your rabbit, do not worry, the fur starts regrowing amazingly quickly, and although the rabbit certainly looks strange for a week or two, as long as they are in good health, full of energy and are eating and drinking well, there is nothing to worry about.
The first major moult normally takes place around 6 months of age, and then again every year around the rabbit's birthday. This is only a general rule however, and temperature shifts can have an effect on the bunny's moulting schedule, or he or she might simply march to the beat of their own bunny drum.
The three rules of long haired rabbit care when it comes to moulting go thus: Groom, groom, groom, and your rabbit will be a happy, healthy bunny.