Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) in Rabbits



Rabbits with DJD can be treated at home by limiting exercise and administering prescribed medications. Physical therapy may be recommended by the veterinarian to help enhance movement and limb function. For obese patients, however, a diet plan to encourage weight loss decreases the stress on the joint.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually prescribed to alleviate inflammation and pain. While surgery may be a treatment option in some cases, such as reconstructive procedures to fix unstable joints.


Living and Management


Unfortunately, DJD is a progressive condition, and symptoms do eventually worsen. Nevertheless, there are some things which can be done to make the patient more comfortable.


Soft clean bedding is important, and activity should be limited to a level where the rabbit still feels relaxed. Rabbits in pain may also be reluctant to eat. These pets should be encouraged to eat by feeding fresh moist greens such as spinach, dandelion greens, carrot tops, and cilantro. If the rabbit still refuses to eat, nutrient injections may be necessary.



 Identifying and correcting predisposing causes, such as obesity, may help prevent the development of DJD. And while DJD is not necessarily preventable – especially for rabbits of old age – some sort of medical or surgical treatment generally allows for a good quality of life.