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Bunny with Tummy Troubles!

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vickilewis626

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Hello all,

My sweet Poppy has always had real issues with her gut, frequent bouts of stasis etc. I usually spot the signs easily enough and we can ward it off a bit but this time is a bit different... hoping for a little bit of advice if you've got any please!

1) Her appetite is normal, eating breakfast etc as usual, though not fussing for food and treats to her usual extent.
2) Started doing very small, dark poops on Monday or so? I tried the usual tricks which usually help but no joy.
3) Took her to vet on Tuesday evening who gave probiotic and painkiller and said could feel lumps and bumps in her tummy.
4) No improvement, though still eating and doing intermittent tiny poops. Returned her to the vet Wednesday evening who gave stronger pain meds, more probiotic and also gave me stuff to bring home.
5) Meds and painkiller administered overnight and this morning.
6) She's eaten her breakfast happily and produced about 20 tiny black poops.
7) did some tummy massage and gave some critical care recovery feeding for fluids.

Generally very quiet and squishing her tummy flat so obviously upset.

I just don't know where to go from here? I'm assuming at some point she'll stop eating? But I'm starting to get really very worried.
 

JBun

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Did the vet give a gut stimulant as well? And do a thorough dental exam to make sure that isn't the problem? Any xrays or blood work done? Did the vet check the bladder to make sure calcium build up or stones aren't the problem?

What exact diet are you feeding(food types, amounts, and her size)? Have you ever tried any dietary restrictions or food elimination to see if a particular food was causing the problem?
 

vickilewis626

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Did the vet give a gut stimulant as well? And do a thorough dental exam to make sure that isn't the problem? Any xrays or blood work done? Did the vet check the bladder to make sure calcium build up or stones aren't the problem?

What exact diet are you feeding(food types, amounts, and her size)? Have you ever tried any dietary restrictions or food elimination to see if a particular food was causing the problem?
apologies, I'm in the uk so I think my use of probiotic is the same as your gut stimulant? In which case, yes.
No dental issues, and weight steady from last health check in early October when she was about 2 kilos
No x rays or blood work as yet.
I assume he did full palpation and bladder check but at present we aren't allowed into the exam room with animals due to a national lockdown.
Diet is: kale / leafy greens with a few herbs on the morning, unlimited hay all day, small hand full of high fibre nuggets at tea time and then a treat of a small bit of banana or more herbs at supper time.
I have done dietary restrictions in the past when she's had issues but I know what affects her now and we just steer clear and stick with the same food items (she's had nothing new since forever).
 

JBun

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Gut stimulants and probiotics are different. In the UK, fibreplex or vet ark pro c are the ones used for rabbits. A gut stimulant is a prescription medication that helps stimulate digestive contractions. Metoclopramide and cisapride are the usual ones prescribed. They are commonly prescribed to rabbits with digestive slowdowns, to help get the gut moving again.
(metoclopramide use in rabbits)
(cisapride use in rabbits)

With this being a reoccurring issue, my guess would be there is an underlying internal health issue going on, possibly a heavy parasite load, which would need further diagnostics to determine(xrays, bloodwork, fecal float test, etc). Or the most common cause of reoccurring digestive trouble is dietary sensitivities. It could be one of the greens, herbs, or the fruit. Sometimes it can be the hay, but usually that will start causing issues after getting a certain batch of hay. Unless you feed a very rich hay like readigrass or a very soft leafy hay, then those can sometimes be an issue. But in my experience, much of the time it is the pellets/nuggets causing most digestive problems in rabbits.

I got a new rabbit that was primarily fed pellets when I got him. The stress of being in a new home caused him to develop stasis pretty bad. He finally got over it, was back to eating pellets but wouldn't touch hay, and then he got stasis again. This kept happening just as he would get back to eating his pellets. It was then I realized the pellets were making him sick, as I would see him squinting, frequently changing position, and belly pressing not long after he ate his pellets. Even the critical care recovery food was a problem.

I had to get him onto a hay only diet, which was difficult because he wouldn't eat hay. But I did manage it using a pelleted hay, and got him completely off pellets and onto a hay and select leafy greens diet. Once he was off pellets completely, he never had a bout with stasis again. I've also had buns with genetic megacolon, and they were always sensitive to the carbs and sugars in pellets.

So if you have never tried a no pellet/nugget, no fruit, or other high carb foods(grains, nuts, grain hays, starchy veg, treats, etc) diet, that is what I would suggest trying. It's what has always worked the best for me when I have had rabbits with reoccurring digestive troubles. I free fed a medium coarse non grain grass hay(usually timothy or orchard grass, good horse quality hay, no mold, no noxious weeds) and just a few leafy greens(never wilted or spoiled) that I had determined where safe and didn't caused digestive upset for each bun, along with a salt lick to provide dietary sodium. All buns on this hay and greens only diet, did really well and maintained a healthy weight. And it really helped keep the digestive issues under control, including the megacolon, which is a tricky one to manage.

Having a fecal float test done too, to rule out an intestinal parasite issue might also be a good idea. Because those results can sometimes be inaccurate, maybe ask your vet about doing a course of panacur regardless, to see if it helps.
 

vickilewis626

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Thank you for your really thorough reply. I'm definitely going to take all these tactics on board but my immediate issue is whether and how to get her through this latest crisis... does anyone have any ideas?

I think it was Metoclopramide that the vet has sent me home with... but I'll check when I pop home to check on her at lunch time.
 

JBun

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The best cure for most digestive issues, the best way to get the digestive tract working well and poops looking good, is a rabbit eating lots of good quality grass hay(no mold), a mix of soft leaf and crunchy stems preferred. If your bun is eating hay really well, I would remove all other foods and feed hay only(with salt lick provided). But this only works if your bun will eat lots of hay and is drinking from a water dish well. If not then it won't help and shouldn't be tried. Hydration and indigestible fiber from hay, are what promotes good gut movement, and that's what is needed to get the gut back on track. It's just what I do to help correct most gut issues with my own rabbits.
Sluggish Motility in the Gastrointestinal Tract | House Rabbit Society

If her poop doesn't improve on hay only in a day or two, or starts doing worse, then there is likely more than just a diet issue going on. In which case I would get back with your vet, immediately if she gets worse.
 

vickilewis626

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She usually eats her hay but has been ignoring it (as is the usual case when she goes like this) since Monday and to be honest the vet always says something going in is better than nothing as it will exacerbate the issue. I'm going to try feeding a couple of syringes of water over lunchtime and see how she is. Will ring the vet if no improvement. Poor Pops :(
 

JBun

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Usually hay is the first thing they will eat when unwell if they are still eating at all Either something being off with a new batch of hay or dental issues, would be the most common causes when a rabbit stops eating hay unexpectedly. The only way for a thorough dental check, is under sedation with xrays. May want to revisit this possibility with the vet if things don't improve.

Yes something going in is essential. And if she isn't consuming enough on her own and poops remain small, I would suggest syringe feeding more recovery food. It's important to keep that gut moving.
 

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