Rabbits and Mistletoe

Perhaps surprisingly mistletoe is poisonous to rabbits, the internationally known Viscum album is all kinds of toxic to rabbits.

So you should take it away from this fellow!

r m 1

Needless to say most rabbits in australia aren’t exposed to mistletoe, as we spend most of our time kissing under it.


As a fun aside if you have google and free time this holiday season, search australia and mistletoe. And you will find yourself exploring a pretty wide ranging and interesting topic about australian mistletoe.

Or find yourself down the rabbit hole, so to speak.

You may find out how its different from Viscum album, the internationally known mistletoe, how the mistletoe kissing tradition began, and how mistletoe is used for herbal medicine. There’s a solid weekend of research here alone.

As another side bar, apparently mistletoe can be used in cancer therapy due to their cytotoxic lectins.


The more you mistle-know.

I do find this seriously interesting, so i’ll jump back to this another time. However today we are focusing on how rabbits shouldnt eat it!

Clinical signs
As it’s in high places, most rabbits can get to it. So your risk of toxicity is really quite low. But if your adventurous rabbit does find some delicious tasty tree, you may see signs of
  • Hypotension
  • Diarrhoea
  • Collapse
  • Ataxia
  • Seizures
  • Death

But why do rabbits hate christmas?

They don’t.

But mistletoes contains glycoprotein lectins that inhibit protein synthesis, leading to cell death. In addition to toxins that act as cardiac depressants.


Fluids, supportive care, christmas cheer!

With minimal ingestion, prognosis is great! With seizures and ataxia, provide aggressive supportive care and christmas cheer!

And keep your rabbits away from mistletoe!

rab mc.jpg

Merry Christmas Everyone!
>>>>Never do this for a scientific paper!!!!>>>> Wikipedia –¬†https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistletoe#Toxicity

Medirabbit – Viscum album – Mistletoe

Mistletoes in Australia – Australian National Herbarium

Gwaltney-Brant, SM – Christmastime Plants in Small Animal Toxicology 3rd Edition. 2013. Elsevier.

Wynn. SG. Veterinary Herbal Medicine. 2007. Mosby