My rabbit ate itself

Perhaps one of the veterinary folks here can answer this.

My rabbit gnawed at its dewlap…a lot. First, it gnawed away all the fur. Then it kept gnawing and gnawing and eating at its dewlap until it was finally down into the meat - there was muscle or some tissue exposed (it was white, whatever it was). The wound started out really small but then it kept eating and eating at it until it was giant and red (with tissue hanging out) and really quite nasty to look at. Before it got to its worst state, the rabbit was taken to the local vet and she wasn’t sure why it was acting in such a way Prescription antibiotics were given and some soap or cleaner was provided, and both were used with regularity but the rabbit continued the behavior.

Anyway, the question is - why did the rabbit do that? Are there any diseases that might have caused it? Did it just go nuts?

It was let out to run around frequently, it was fed and watered well, it’s cage was kept clean. The odd thing is, I had the rabbit a few years before it started doing that. Before it went - insane, perhaps - it was quite normal.

Perhaps a mite allergy? We had two cats (mother and daughter) who had a mite allergy, and they’d first pull their fur out, then bite themselves bloody. The vet gave us a topical lotion to put on them and it would clear up for a few months before they’d start pulling fur out all over again.

Well, that’s no ordinary rabbit.

I thought rabbits needed to have something hard to chew on or their teeth would grow too long, and possibly that was the reason (didn’t have anything except itself to munch on). But if your vet didn’t bring it up, I doubt it (since your vet probably knows a lot more about rabbits than I do).

I dunno, when animals do abnormal things it tends to be due to illness (physical and/or mental). You keep using the past tense, is your rabbit no longer living? What did the vet say when the medication didn’t work?

Chaos Rules!

Is that you Lloyd Henreid?

Perhaps it had a taste for blood, and couldn’t find a president to attack.

There are several possibilities. The first one is boredom–animals trapped in cages are well-known to mutilate themselves out of frustration. Another one is fleas or other parasites bothering the delicate skin there. Another is what’s called “wet dewlap” which is where basically the dewlap gets wet (rabbit accidentally dunks it in a water bowl) and doesn’t dry out and starts to itch. Rabbit licks it, it itches more, rabbit licks it more, etc. Eventual infection and hair loss will ensue. This happens in the summer months, especially. If the dewlap appeared healthy before, my first guess would be boredom. Rabbits need toys to play with, they need (depending on size and age) up to four or five hours of exercise a day, and they need human interaction. I am personally shocked that you’d let your rabbit chew on itself until it started losing fur, and still didn’t take it to the vet until an open wound appeared. Dude.

Oh well. It’s dead now.