What are they?
Hiccups are an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm (diaphragm spasm) characterized by a ‘hic’ vocalization. They may occur in bouts or individually. However, their duration and rhythm are somewhat constant.
In most cases, they will go away on their own and they do not need any treatment. However, some chronic causes might require treatment.
In human beings, they are often due to several reasons including eating quickly, swallowing excessive amounts of hair, chewing gum, smoking, stokes, brain tumors, acid reflux, noxious fumes, liver problems, stress, anxiety among other causes. What about bunnies, do they get them?
Do rabbits get them too?
Like human beings, rabbits can have hiccups. In these pets, they are often faster and constant. You may notice somebody twitching when this animal is having them and you are likely to confuse them for seizures, shaking or breathing problems.
Although “baby rabbits frequently get hiccups and these are normal and happen often for babies that are 2 weeks and younger, especially after eating,” adult bunnies can also have them. However, this is rare.
Like in the case of human beings, hiccupping will often go away on its own after some time. David Dilmore, DVM, Medical Editor, has this advice for you, “if you notice that your bunny has recurrent hiccups or if they don’t go away within a few minutes I recommend that you take him to see a veterinarian.”
Sometimes, underlying respiratory or heart issues may be the reason why this occurs for a prolonged period.
Furthermore, gastrointestinal problems including bloating and fur balls may exert pressure on the diaphragm and trigger these involuntary contractions.
Finally, in case of hiccupping, ensure your rabbit eats and has the right diet, is active (not lethargic) and does not show any other signs of illness including signs of pain such as a hunched posture, teeth grinding or being in one place for a long time.
Hiccupping in bunnies is not well documented and it needs the help your vet to diagnose and treat the underlying cause if it is chronic.
Diagnosis may include X-rays to check for any liver, lung, or gastrointestinal problems including bloating.
If it occurs occasionally for a short time, this may be normal. However, in case of constant or prolonged cases, you should see your vet.