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Gas: Causes & Treatment

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Happy Hollands

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Two of my bunnies have recently been having gas issues, and I have been syringe feeding baby gas drops every now and then to help. This came about suddenly a few days ago, with no change of diet! Rest assured, they're eating and pooping fine. Their stomachs just feel a little bit hard, and I can hear some popping noises. What are the causes of gas, so I can avoid this happening in the future? Are there any other treatments besides syringe feeding baby gas drops to help relieve symptoms? Thank you 💞

p.s. one has fully recovered and the other is doing better today fyi :)
 

Apollo’s Slave

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If I can remember correctly; gas is caused by bacteria build-up in a rabbits stomach.

It could’ve been caused by the amount of a certain veggie fed to the rabbits (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc). Some rabbits are also just more susceptible to get gas than others, so if you find that one (or some) of your rabbits get gas frequently, you might want to try to cut things out of their diets - such as certain veggies or pellets.

Gentle stomach massages should help the rabbit to pass any gas out, so that is often recommend ( I think it also stimulates the stomach to help them eat? I might be wrong about that.).
Cooled peppermint or chamomile tea - just chamomile/peppermint without honey or anything added to it, will act as a substitute to simethicone.
and if you can, try to get them to run (or hop) around to help stimulate their stomach and pass gas.

It’s great that they’re eating again ☺
 

HalaBuns

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I think Gigi had gas yesterday too. She was totally uninterested in her pellets, or anything else for that matter. She just wanted to hide in her hidey house or lay around, which was totally out of character (she loves her food). I tried giving her baby gas drops and syringing water, but because of my fumbling and her squirming, I think most of it got down her chin instead of in her mouth.

All the stress of that (me trying to catch / hold her) would have put her off food in itself, regardless of anything else, but it did keep her moving around at least. She was also quite annoyed about the stuff on her chin and kept cleaning it off, so not sure whether she managed to ingest some of the gas drops that way.

Once I settled her down a bit, I stroked her and did some belly massage. Just as I was about to make a vet appointment, she sprung up and ran to her bowl and had a few mouthfuls, but hardly anything. She would not take hay, but I have some hay cubes which I give as a treat and she loves, so I figured that was better than nothing and she had some of that too. By this point 3 hours had past.

I let her be, because her buddy had settled down for their afternoon sleep and there was no way I would get her to eat anymore if she wanted to be with her, she would just get annoyed and stressed which would make things worse.

I kept checking on her and listening to her tummy for gurgling / movement and she did not seem uncomfortable, but I was still quite concerned. Later in the afternoon I spent about 20-30 mins gently massaging her tummy, which she seemed to enjoy. Once she was up she ran straight in for hay and was eating, pooping and drinking fine, plus a few binkies along the way, so I was very relieved.

I’m not sure I really got very much of the gas drops into her (if any) so in her case, I think it was moving her around and massage that seemed to get her back to her usual self. I’ll still be keeping a close eye on her today though.

Pleased yours are feeling better too 💕
 

Happy Hollands

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gas is caused by bacteria build-up in a rabbits stomach
Any idea what may cause the actual bacteria build-up though?

It could’ve been caused by the amount of a certain veggie fed to the rabbits
This week, the veggies consisted of romaine lettuce, parsley, cilantro, basil, and I sparingly fed a few raspberries and mini carrots. They've had all of these before, but it could have been a different quantity or something! They are also all organic...


Gentle stomach massages should help the rabbit to pass any gas out
Yes I meant to mention I also have been giving them gentle belly massages for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time, when needed! My older bun is very sensitive, so I don't do it too often as it stresses her out. I also let them have extra time in their outdoor exercise pens to get them moving more - This especially seems to help my bun who is sensitive around her tummy area :)


It’s great that they’re eating again
And yes, I'm so relieved they haven't stopped eating! They both actually have been eating and pooping fine, just when doing my normal routine check I know this they had a little bit of popping noises and sensitivity around their tummies. Yet my other bunnies are totally fine, who I gave exactly the same greens to... could it be the time of year or some other factor that could be contributing to this?
 

Happy Hollands

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I’m not sure I really got very much of the gas drops into her (if any) so in her case, I think it was moving her around and massage that seemed to get her back to her usual self.
Glad to hear she is doing better! I'll keep you posted, hopefully both of mine recover too 🤞
 

Apollo’s Slave

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I’m not too sure what causes the bacteria build up, sorry. Other causes of gas are; dehydration, eating too fast, stress, or even an underlying health condition which is causing pain.

It might jit’s be that it was a big meal for them, or they could be more sensitive to one of the veggies that you fed?

It could be something else but I’m not too sure
 

Happy Hollands

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I’m not too sure what causes the bacteria build up, sorry. Other causes of gas are; dehydration, eating too fast, stress, or even an underlying health condition which is causing pain.

It might jit’s be that it was a big meal for them, or they could be more sensitive to one of the veggies that you fed?

It could be something else but I’m not too sure
Thank you for your help! I am pretty sure it was one of the veggies, as every batch is different. They have been to the vet and gotten a clean bill of health so they could have eaten the veggies too fast. I doubt it was caused by dehydration, but that's good to know ;)
 

JBun

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Reoccurring confirmed gas issues are often going to be caused by food or sometimes stress. Intestinal blockages from something ingested or a problem in the intestine can also be a cause, though this will usually be a more acute problem and not reoccurring. And when this happens it's usually much more serious and may require surgery to correct.

With diet it could be sudden food changes/introduction(pellets, veg, greens, fruit, grains/carbs, etc) altering the delicate microbial balance in the gut, too many high carb/sugary foods(which can include pellets, particularly certain brands) altering the bacterial balance in the gut, sensitivity to a new food, veggies/greens/fruit that are off/started to spoil, packaged herbs/veg that is treated with a wash to prolong shelf life, or sometimes a newly opened bag of feed or bale of hay can be tainted or bad in some way with mold, pesticides, herbicides, or tainted ingredients for pellets during the pelleting process. If you've recently opened up a new bag or bale just prior to this starting, I would be looking at that as the possible cause.

Then there is stress that can start to alter the microbial balance in the gut. Changes in the environment; new pet or person in the home, furniture changed around, environmental noises, changes in temperature, change of area, new rabbit moved next to their area. Anything new or different has the potential to be a stressor.

Though I would say if the gas issues are happening in multiple rabbits that previously never had a history of it, then a food issue is the most likely culprit.
 

Happy Hollands

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Thank you for the detailed & informational response! I am also assuming it could be that the veggies / fruit / herbs were starting to spoil, I noticed they were a tiny bit wilted but nothing too bad so I fed anyway. My mistake! Along with stomach massages, increased exercise time, and limited veggies hopefully the problem will be solved ASAP. Even my pregnant buns seem to have some gas which isn't a great thing so I threw away the greenery I was feeding and will feed fresh starting tomorrow. Also our weather has changed drastically, it was 38°F today, which is really cold for Seattle's autumn! This could definitely be the culprit too. Hard to know for sure, but thanks for the suggestions :)
 

Happy Hollands

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On a side note, is it safe to give gas medication to pregnant does? I do not have intentions to unless it gets bad, just curious.
 

Mariam+Theo

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It should be safe, I don't see any reason that it wouldn't be safe for pregnant does. If you have any second thoughts about gas drops for pregnant does, use peppermint or camomile tea as a substitute.
 

JBun

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Simethicone(the active ingredient in most gas meds) is a surfactant, it's antifoaming and reduces surface tension. It passes through the digestive tract and is not absorbed into the blood stream. It is stated as being safe during pregnancy(for people). Where problems could occur is the other ingredients added to the suspension, so checking those and verifying that the gas med doesn't contain artificial sweeteners that are confirmed to be harmful for pets.
 
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