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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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There is what appears to be blood on the bottom of the kennel

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There is what appears to be blood on the bottom of the kennel where one of our rabbit lives but there are no open wounds any idea where it may be from

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.


First, how is Cricket?

Any changes to her appetite, thirst, fecal consistency?


Can you tell me what she is fed on? Any red pigment in her food or red veggies (ie beet, etc)?


If you look HERE, is what you are seeing appear like a) or b)?


If possible, could you take a photo of this? If you can do so and post them online, I am happy to have a look (since it will let me see what you are seeing). To post them, you can either use the wee paper clip on the tool bar. Or you can post them on a 3rd party site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, etc) and paste the web address here.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
hello Dr. B. cricket's appetite is normal and her thirst is normal as well. some of the food she eats has both pellets and larger items that are dyed red. The brand of food she eats is "Kaytee" Fiesta blend. we also feed her timothy and alfalfa hay and veggies from time to time (carrots but no beats) Photo A looks a lot like what we've been seeing but it's over a dark surface so hard to be sure. we just cleaned the kennel but i'll see what i can find

Thank you for the additional information about Cricket.

If we can assume that Cricket is suffering from no wounds and there is fresh red blood-like material on the floor of the kennel, then the most common origins will be from the mouth, rectum and urinary tract/uterus. If the blood from the mouth, we’d likely have see blood staining on the lips or she’d have a long term history of dental disease or recent trauma. If the blood was part of a GI inflammation or disease, it’d be likely you would see blood with the feces or a change in the her fecal consistency. Therefore, we do have to consider the most common source of blood or blood-like liquid, the urinary tract and uterus.

Now before we discuss urinary/uterine based bleeding issues, it’s imperative to know that we can see red urine (like photo (a)) as an incidental finding. And while it looks suspicious, its actually not blood at all. This is often due to the rabbit’s digestion of highly pigmented vegetables or feeds and can give us a scare despite all being well with that rabbit. In this case, I'd be quite suspicious that the red pieces in the Fiesta blend could be to blame here. It would be a good idea to try and remove those pieces for the next few days if possible and line her cage temporarily with newspaper to let you see if this settles with removal of the highly dyed bits.

That said, we do need to be careful not to miss those cases where blood is actually present. Often we will see clots to help us differentiate (again this sounds less likely here), but if in doubt it is always worth submitting a sample to your local vet. They can do a quick in-house urine examination/dipstick to tell you if blood is actually present. If it is, they can look under the microscope to see if there are any other abnormalities (ie bacteria, white blood cells, crystals that can be a hint of potential bladder stones).

Just to briefly note what we'd have to be thinking about if blood were present in her urine, we'd have to consider infection (from the kidneys down to the bladder), kidney or bladder stones (where either cause erosion to the delicate internal tissues of these organs leading to bleeding), and diseases of the uterus (infection but this is a species that is very prone to uterine cancers if left unspayed). As well, though again less likely here, we can see bleeds from these organs in rabbits who have been exposed to poisonous plants or toxins that could affect their blood's ability to clot.

Overall, I am suspicious that her red urine is due to dietary pigments (especially if it looks like picture a). Still it is worth trialling her without the red dyed portion of her diet and putting her on newspaper to make sure this was the cause. If in doubt, a urine sample is an economical and non-invasive way of determining if blood is actually present. And if goodness forbid, there was blood confirmed, then you'd want to discuss options with your vet in ruling out infection or anything sinister for wee Cricket.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

Dr. B.


Remember that if you have any lingering questions or concerns, please reply so that we may continue our conversation. I will be happy to work with your further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. Please remember to rate my answer when you are satisfied (with 4-5 stars or a happy face) so that I may receive credit for my assistance. Thank you & have a great day. : )
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your help and suggestions
You are very welcome

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All the best for wee Cricket,
Dr. B.
Hi Mike,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Cricket. How is everything going?

Dr. B.