How serious are bald spots on my rabbit's back?

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Q: I noticed yesterday that my rabbit (Tilly) has several bald spots on her back. She is about 2, otherwise in good health, and the skin is not broken and looks healthy. She is a black furred rabbit, and some of the exposed skin seems to have black pigment. The two main bald spots are 1-2 inches and irregular in shape. Do I need to be concerned?

A: I've been raising and showing rabbits for over 30 years, and I would like to help you with Tilly.

Heavy shedding in the fall is quite common. Losing large amounts of hair and bald spots appearing are also not unusual. I've found that individual rabbits may have a different shedding pattern from year to year.

I suspect Tilly is undergoing a normal, but heavy, molt. You don't need to consult a vet at this point, just monitor the situation. Watch for those fine hairs to appear on the pink areas within 2-3 weeks. Also keep an eye out for redness, sores, or flaking. When the skin looks healthy and normal, heavy shedding isn't a problem. If it's very flaky -- like a bad case of dandruff -- you may be dealing with fur mites and should see a vet. You can read more about fur loss here.

If Tilly lives outdoors, make sure she has a good deep bed to stay warm. As long as the skin appears healthy, she has a good appetite, and passes normal stools, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

-- Answer from Anna N., biologist on JustAnswer.

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