Arthritis due to Bacterial Infection in Rabbits

Septic Arthritis in Rabbits

Arthritis is the general medical term for inflamed joints. Septic arthritis, on the other hand, is a condition that occurs when bacteria infects one or more of the rabbit’s joints.

There is no age, breed, or gender predisposition for septic arthritis in rabbits.

Symptoms and Types

  • Sluggish behavior
  • Lameness
  • Anorexia
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Warmth emanating from the joints
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Signs of infection (e.g., urinary tract infection or dental disease)


Pyogenic bacteria causes septic arthritis. There are many types of pyogenic bacteria, including staphylococci, pasteurella, and anaerobic bacteria (which can survive without oxygen). These bacteria may lead to an infection in the body and can also migrate to the joints, where they cause septic arthritis.

There are some characteristics that may put an animal at higher risk for developing septic arthritis. These include long-term (chronic) cases of bacterial infection, traumatic injuries to the joints, and immunosuppressive disorders (immune system does not function properly). Some other sources of infection may include dental disease, an infection of the upper respiratory tract, or a wound.


A rabbit with a history of upper respiratory tract infection, dental disease, or previous traumatic wound – such as bite wound – may suggest septic arthritis.

If septic arthritis is suspected, a number of tests can be done by the veterinarian. An analysis of fluid taken from around the joints (synovial fluid analysis) may reveal characteristics of septic arthritis, such as an increased volume of fluid or the presence of bacteria. These fluid samples are submitted for testing so the type of bacterium may be pinpointed and treated accordingly. Alternate tests include X-rays and a urine analysis.

upper respiratory tract

The section of the respiratory system that contains the mouth, nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and epiglottis.

urinary tract infection

Also referred to as a UTI; a medical condition of the urinary tract and system in which the cells are damaged by microorganisms.


A type of bacteria, round in shape


The singular form of the word bacteria; a tiny, microscopic organism only made up of one cell.


A medical condition in which the joints become inflamed and causes a great deal of pain.


a) living in an environment lacking free oxygen b) pertaining to an organism with the ability to live in an environment lacking free oxygen.


Anything that produces pus

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