$300 later and no real answer...

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labyrinth001

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Last night I got home late (2 in the morning) and went to feed Honey his pellets. He showed no interest in them, ate a few but then hopped back to his litterbox and just laid there. I was worried but hoped he was just a bit off and went to bed for a few hours. I got up at six and went straight to check if he'd eaten, he hadn't and was in the same place in the litterbox. I offered him fresh hay and his favorite veggies, even some fruit, and he still showed no interest, so I knew something was up. I tried to get him to hop around to see if moving would cause any change in how he acted--when I got him out of the cage and made him hop a bit, he stopped and lifted his tail to pee on the rug (he's normally perfectly litterbox trained), and only a tiny bit of pee came out. Called my vet's office, and their rabbit vet wasn't in today :grumpy: So I called an emergency vet office an hour away from me, recommended by a local rabbit rescue as they have vets that specialize in rabbits, and they were able to fit me in.

Got there, and his gut definitely wasn't moving properly and the vet was suspicious of a kidney stone when I told her Honey had peed on the rug and had strained to do so. They did x-rays to check for a kidney stone or some other blockage and found nothing. Checked his molars, and they look fine. Took his temperature, and it's normal. So there was nothing obvious that would make him stop eating, but they gave him fluids and some critical care oxbow food to get his gut moving again, and they gave me enough metacam for three days in case there's some sort of pain, as well as the critical care oxbow food and metoclopramide to be fed with it. I'm to keep an eye on his feces and see if he starts eating on his own again today and tomorrow.

Is there any reason a rabbit would just stop eating if there's no obvious sign of a reason? The vet checked for everything as far as I know, unless there's something I'm missing that she should have checked for? I'm happy that they didn't find anything but worried at the same time, because I don't like the idea that Honey would just stop eating for no reason :(
 

MiniLopHop

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Did they do a urinalisis?
Are there signs of excess gas (him laying with his belly pushing against the ground and looking uncomfortable, you can also feel it in their bellies a lot of times)?
Have you tried feeding canned pumpkin (not the pie filling, 100% pumpkin)?
 

labyrinth001

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No urinalisis, but the vet said that after they gave him fluids he peed a large amount in his cage so there was nothing blocking it...He is laying flat on his stomach in his litterbox as he was earlier, and he's still not showing interest in eating on his own (and I've offered him all his favorites). He did drink a little from the bowl of water I've given him. What does the canned pumpkin do?

 

MiniLopHop

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The canned pumpkin gives fiber and water, plus it is extra yummy so it tempts them to eat.

It sounds like gas to me. Have you tried simethacone (baby gas drops)? A good dose of that and a tummy rub is what I would try.
 

Imbrium

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I hope Honey feels better soon! the pumpkin is indeed a good trick to try.

simethicone (any brand of baby gas drops that lists that in the ingredients) is incredibly safe for rabbits. in other words, whether it helps or not, it definitely can't hurt. the recommended dosage is 1-2 cc of it (20mg per ml suspension formula) as often as every hour for three doses, then 1 cc every three to eight hours after that.
 

woahlookitsme

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Wouldn't the gas have shown up in the x-ray? It usually shows up black in the intestines

Unless they didn't include his abdomen in the x-ray which I would find curious
 

missyscove

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Gas would have shown up on the radiographs so I'm guessing they didn't see any or didn't tell you if they did. Rabbits are so small that it wouldn't really be possible to radiograph the kidneys and not get the GI tract in there as well.
Still, the simethcone wouldn't hurt.
If he was straining to pee, I agree I'd probably ask about a urine analysis.
I can't think of any other treatments I'd expect to see. Pain meds are great and yes, simethicone can't really hurt even if it isn't gas.

Edited to add...

$300 is a pretty good price for an exam and radiographs and meds at an emergency clinic.
 

labyrinth001

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Thanks everyone :) Honey has eaten a tiny bit of hay this morning, and some of his pellets are gone. He had twenty small, very dry and misshapen poos stuck to the fur around his bum this morning, so at least something has been pushed through his system. He still won't eat an veggies or fruit. I'll try canned pumpkin though I don't know if he'll be interested in it at this point. I think I'll make an appointment for him to have some blood work done to rule out anything with his kidneys and also check for a UTI. Where can I get this simethicone you all are talking about?

How do you all go about syringe feeding your rabbits? The pain meds and such are easy to give him, but giving him the oxbow critical care is hell. He struggles to no end, even wrapped in a towel, and ends up just spitting half of it out and I don't even know if I'm getting enough in him.
 

MiniLopHop

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The simethicone is any drugstore or grocery store in the baby section. It is sweet so they take it easily.

With the critical care you have to doctor it up to taste better. I use cold chamomile tea rather than water and add some fruit flavored baby food so it tastes better. Make sure you are giving just a small amount and let them swallow before giving more so they don't choke. The pumpkin can also be syringed. Oh, and point the syringe across, not back. So it goes right behind the front teeth pointing towards a cheek so they are less likely to choke. Make sure they are right side up, not on their back as well.
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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Just like us, sometimes bunnies simply don't feel well sometimes. I will very occasionally have one disinterested in food for around 24 hours and then just like nothing happened, they'll eat again the next day. Good for you for being concerned! But now that he checked out okay, it is okay to wait a little bit and see if he improves.

For syringe feeding, hold him so that he is sitting normal side up, belly laying lengthwise against your chest (head near your head, tail on your stomach). Do this sitting down. Place your index finger between his ears and hold firmly, as if you are scruffing him. DON'T be afraid to be "rough." If you don't get a firm hold, he could injure himself trying to wiggle away. Then slowly flip him onto his back. Use your free hand to swing his butt under him and keep him against your arm so that when he's on his back, your arm is securing him alongside of your body. Keep that firm hold while you or a family member syringes the critical care slowly.

You may want to practice with a stuffed animal first so you can get a feel for it. Because your hands are holding and supporting him the whole time, this will NOT hurt Honey. It is the safest way I've found to force feed when that has become necessary in the past. I usually have a very gentle touch, so it took some coaxing by a friend to get me to do it. But now that I have, it is much easier and keeps the rabbit secure.

Doing a bunny trance or towel cocoon is NOT secure enough for this and I've heard from friends who have had rabbits break their backs or otherwise injure themselves in those holds.

As you get better at this, it's best to hold them at a more upright angle. But for your first time or two, back may be easier.

The best way to syringe is very slowly. If they're on their back, I just squeeze a bit onto their lips at a time so that they're able to lick it off. I stop when they stop licking. If they're more upright you can be a little bit more aggressive about it. At that point, they'll be more comfortable with it too and may actually ask for more.

This past spring, I had a rabbit with go off feed for 18 days and the vet was absolutely no help at all. I had to hand feed him like this that whole time just to keep him going until his system finally kicked back in. What helped us was a Probiotic paste made for livestock by Manna Pro and Pedialyte. I tried a WIDE variety of other things before trying this, but this is what finally got him eating again within 48 hours. So that may be something to try. I think I gave it to him three times a day.

Hope honey is feeling better soon. :)
 

labyrinth001

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MiniLopHop wrote:
The simethicone is any drugstore or grocery store in the baby section. It is sweet so they take it easily.

With the critical care you have to doctor it up to taste better. I use cold chamomile tea rather than water and add some fruit flavored baby food so it tastes better. Make sure you are giving just a small amount and let them swallow before giving more so they don't choke. The pumpkin can also be syringed. Oh, and point the syringe across, not back. So it goes right behind the front teeth pointing towards a cheek so they are less likely to choke. Make sure they are right side up, not on their back as well.
Okay thanks, will pick some up after work this afternoon--I'm glad I only have to work a few hours today! I got some organic fruit baby food yesterday so I'll mix that in with the critical care next time I give it and try to make sure I'm pointing the syringe across, that might be where the issue is. I've just been keeping him on the floor to do it, wrapped in a towel.
 

labyrinth001

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OakRidgeRabbits wrote:
Just like us, sometimes bunnies simply don't feel well sometimes. I will very occasionally have one disinterested in food for around 24 hours and then just like nothing happened, they'll eat again the next day. Good for you for being concerned! But now that he checked out okay, it is okay to wait a little bit and see if he improves.

For syringe feeding, hold him so that he is sitting normal side up, belly laying lengthwise against your chest (head near your head, tail on your stomach). Do this sitting down. Place your index finger between his ears and hold firmly, as if you are scruffing him. DON'T be afraid to be "rough." If you don't get a firm hold, he could injure himself trying to wiggle away. Then slowly flip him onto his back. Use your free hand to swing his butt under him and keep him against your arm so that when he's on his back, your arm is securing him alongside of your body. Keep that firm hold while you or a family member syringes the critical care slowly.

You may want to practice with a stuffed animal first so you can get a feel for it. Because your hands are holding and supporting him the whole time, this will NOT hurt Honey. It is the safest way I've found to force feed when that has become necessary in the past. I usually have a very gentle touch, so it took some coaxing by a friend to get me to do it. But now that I have, it is much easier and keeps the rabbit secure.

Doing a bunny trance or towel cocoon is NOT secure enough for this and I've heard from friends who have had rabbits break their backs or otherwise injure themselves in those holds.

As you get better at this, it's best to hold them at a more upright angle. But for your first time or two, back may be easier.

The best way to syringe is very slowly. If they're on their back, I just squeeze a bit onto their lips at a time so that they're able to lick it off. I stop when they stop licking. If they're more upright you can be a little bit more aggressive about it. At that point, they'll be more comfortable with it too and may actually ask for more.

This past spring, I had a rabbit with go off feed for 18 days and the vet was absolutely no help at all. I had to hand feed him like this that whole time just to keep him going until his system finally kicked back in. What helped us was a Probiotic paste made for livestock by Manna Pro and Pedialyte. I tried a WIDE variety of other things before trying this, but this is what finally got him eating again within 48 hours. So that may be something to try. I think I gave it to him three times a day.

Hope honey is feeling better soon. :)
Thank you for the advice! Just five minutes ago he started eating a lot more hay and finally ate some of the parsley I gave him, so it seems he's starting to feel better :) Hopefully he'll keep eating more on his own so I can slowly start giving him less of the critical care.
 

MiniLopHop

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OakRidgeRabbits wrote:
For syringe feeding, hold him so that he is sitting normal side up, belly laying lengthwise against your chest (head near your head, tail on your stomach). Do this sitting down. Place your index finger between his ears and hold firmly, as if you are scruffing him. DON'T be afraid to be "rough." If you don't get a firm hold, he could injure himself trying to wiggle away. Then slowly flip him onto his back. Use your free hand to swing his butt under him and keep him against your arm so that when he's on his back, your arm is securing him alongside of your body. Keep that firm hold while you or a family member syringes the critical care slowly.

OakRidge- every thing else was great, but please do not force feed them on their back. It is much more dangerous that way due to risk of the food getting into the lungs (air tube to lungs is on top, food tube to stomach is on the bottom). If food gets into the lungs then they end up with lots of horrible complications.

I always put them up on something so I can scruff as you described but all four feet are on the stable surface. Being up higher on a table tends to make them fuss less and they are fully supported. If this doesn't work I had to "sit" on Sophie to give her medicine. She is 10.5 pounds and would kick like a crazy woman. I kneel on the ground and have my knees wide, feet together to form a triangle under me. Then I would shove her between my knees and lower myself to be just barely touching her back. This hadher hemed in on all sides, just her head sticking out from under me. Then I could hold her head and dose. She would try to back out but my feet were there. If she came forward I had my hands on that end. Just don't sit too far and squish them.
 

Imbrium

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here's a really good video showing how to syringe feed (also shows how to mix up critical care for it): [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iGZVYVm5Bg[/ame]
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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MiniLopHop wrote:
OakRidgeRabbits wrote:
For syringe feeding, hold him so that he is sitting normal side up, belly laying lengthwise against your chest (head near your head, tail on your stomach). Do this sitting down. Place your index finger between his ears and hold firmly, as if you are scruffing him. DON'T be afraid to be "rough." If you don't get a firm hold, he could injure himself trying to wiggle away. Then slowly flip him onto his back. Use your free hand to swing his butt under him and keep him against your arm so that when he's on his back, your arm is securing him alongside of your body. Keep that firm hold while you or a family member syringes the critical care slowly.
 

OakRidge- every thing else was great, but please do not force feed them on their back. It is much more dangerous that way due to risk of the food getting into the lungs (air tube to lungs is on top, food tube to stomach is on the bottom). If food gets into the lungs then they end up with lots of horrible complications.

I always put them up on something so I can scruff as you described but all four feet are on the stable surface. Being up higher on a table tends to make them fuss less and they are fully supported. If this doesn't work I had to "sit" on Sophie to give her medicine. She is 10.5 pounds and would kick like a crazy woman. I kneel on the ground and have my knees wide, feet together to form a triangle under me. Then I would shove her between my knees and lower myself to be just barely touching her back. This had her hemed in on all sides, just her head sticking out from under me. Then I could hold her head and dose. She would try to back out but my feet were there. If she came forward I had my hands on that end. Just don't sit too far and squish them.
Feeding them on their back is safer and more secure (in my opinion) if you consider their powerful back legs. Like I said later in the post, I'm never squirting anything directly into the rabbit with this method. Force feeding that way could cause problems regardless of position if they are resisting. Instead, I drop small amounts onto the lips. As soon as they start licking (which they will), you can slowly syringe more until they stop.

A rabbit still on its feet can easily injure itself as it tries to struggle free. I can name several cases off the top of my head where someone was doing something the rabbit didn't like, the rabbit struggled and it broke its back. Restraining rabbits can be pretty dangerous. Even if they can't move, the action of trying to kick can really hurt them.

When rabbits are scruffed* and flipped, they are much less mobile. If they do try to kick, they still have full movement. But most are sort of "paralyzed" in this way and will not kick. You'll see this effect if you visit shows. The judges turn the rabbits this way to check toenails, gender and teeth. Very few of the rabbits will cause a fuss, but if they do, kicking won't be as likely to cause injury.

Of course, no one has to do it my way. :p This is just what works best for me from experience with a lot of rabbits of all ages, so it is what I recommend to others having troubles too.

* Note: Again to clarify, by scruffed I mean a supported hold as described before. Never toting the rabbit around by its neck, of course.
 

labyrinth001

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I got home from work and checked food/litterbox. He's peed and pooed in the litterbox, still a lot of small poos but a couple somewhat normal ones, as well. He'd finished his pellets as well as some dandelion greens, and I gave him some more pellets, which he started eating right away. Also gave him fresh hay and he started eating that--he even left his spot on the litterbox to move around the cage a bit, which I was happy to see. Not much interest in coming out of the cage yet, but he definitely looks more alert in general. So much better than last night!
 
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