Gi stasis—how long not pooping/peeing?

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Wenet

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Hi all,

My bunny Wenet is 2.5 years. We noticed yesterday morning that she wasn’t excited to see her breakfast as she usually is, and that she was actually hunching in her litterbox scared-like. We waited a few hours and we saw that she didn’t poop/pee nor eat, and was behaving strange. So we ran to the animal hospital. They did xrays and just noticed that her tummy was a bit enlarged, but no obstruction. They said she probably had gi stasis and sent us home with metoclopramide, meloxicam and critical care force feeding.

Ever since we came from the vet she seemed to us even worse than before. She remained frozen on a corner the entire night (and I woke up several times throughout the night to check on her. At one point in the middle of the night she did eat the leaves that I gave her, and munched the hay, but nothing else. I’ve force fed her two doses of critical care now (20 ml each) between yesterday night and this morning, and about one hour ago she ate three pellets from my husband’s hand. However she spends the whole time either frozen or laying down in one spot. She doesn’t drink on her own —I’ve been force feeding her a bit of water although the vet didn’t mention that. Sometimes she’s completely still and even if I put my hand or food in front of her she doesn’t react — the only hint that she’s alive is her quiet breathing.
What’s worse, since yesterday morning (so more than 24 hours now) I haven’t seen her poop nor pee. I don’t want to take her to the vet yet because I have the impression that she got very stressed after her visit yesterday (when the nurse was giving her the meds in front of me to show me the method, her third eye lid got all swollen, I’ve never seen her doing that). I did call them and I’m waiting for the doc to call me back (although she’s a different one).
How long can a rabbit go without pooping or peeing while on stasis? Should I expect her being a bit more reactive yet or is it still early? Any tips?
Thank you!!
 

h.sullivian

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How is your bunny now? I would definitely take her back to the vet. Our rabbit, Cookie, has had stasis twice. Both times he was eating and moving about within about an hour of critical care feeds. He pooped after about 2 hours. You seem to be doing everything correctly so I’d ask the vet again for advice.
 

Wenet

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Thanks for your reply! I got her pediatric simethicone for gas (she’s gotten 2 doses now of 20 mg). She munched maybe one fiber more of hay on her own, ate two leaves, she chewed her wooden tent, dug in the floor, and she seemed a bit more reactive than before. Still she’s not moving around, nor pooping/peeing. The doctor told me that, for the first 24-48 hours after stasis, the lack of feces/pee is not entirely uncommon. She was worried about her lethargy because that could mean that she’s in pain, so she told me to bring her back if she doesn’t get better throughout the afternoon. She said they’d go more aggressive with IV fluids and pain killers (all which they did already yesterday). I’m not entirely happy with the vet idea because the experience yesterday was so traumatic for her, and I am not sure if what they’re going to do will be more effective than what I’m doing already.
I am concerned about her not peeing. What is the connection with the GI?
I attach a picture of her position now, she’s been like that for a while (she’s never been super active at this time of the day, but she’d always be really enthusiastic of food, which now she’s not)
 

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Diane R

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Did they check teeth with an otoscope? Are you sure she has not peed? Not peeing for 24 hours is a serious emergency. Is she straining to pee?
 

Dagny

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Thanks for your reply! I got her pediatric simethicone for gas (she’s gotten 2 doses now of 20 mg). She munched maybe one fiber more of hay on her own, ate two leaves, she chewed her wooden tent, dug in the floor, and she seemed a bit more reactive than before. Still she’s not moving around, nor pooping/peeing. The doctor told me that, for the first 24-48 hours after stasis, the lack of feces/pee is not entirely uncommon. She was worried about her lethargy because that could mean that she’s in pain, so she told me to bring her back if she doesn’t get better throughout the afternoon. She said they’d go more aggressive with IV fluids and pain killers (all which they did already yesterday). I’m not entirely happy with the vet idea because the experience yesterday was so traumatic for her, and I am not sure if what they’re going to do will be more effective than what I’m doing already.
I am concerned about her not peeing. What is the connection with the GI?
I attach a picture of her position now, she’s been like that for a while (she’s never been super active at this time of the day, but she’d always be really enthusiastic of food, which now she’s not)
I recently went through a scary Stasis with my bun.. Two nights with the emergency vet and 7 days of meds at home. She did not start to perk up until the night of the 2nd day home. I made the same choice as you and did not take her back to vet. I worried too that it was more stressful for her. I found it helped to make her move around some. It felt mean, but I know that movement helps stimulate gut motility. I was giving pain meds, 2 gut motility meds, simethicone, and critical care. Seemed like we were doing some medication every 6 hours. I reduced pain meds (under discussion with doctor) sooner than prescribed because I think they were making her more lethargic.
I hope she is improving, it is such a hard thing to go through!!
 

Wenet

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Thank you all for your comments!
She is much better I think. Thank goodness! She pooped and peed (she peed A LOT) yesterday afternoon, and also during this night. This morning she is running in her play pen. Already yesterday afternoon she was asking for pets, grinding her teeth, and licking my hand. She’s been eating hay and drinking a bit on her own. Not a lot, but probably that’s because I still force feed her critical care. She’ll gladly eat fresh leafs, pellets and half a barley biscuit that I gave her. I can’t highlight how relieved I am! This has been one of the worst weekends of my life.
In my case, I think the vet visit really stressed her (but it was absolutely necessary, because now she’s getting better), and she was frozen and not peeing probably because of the traumatic experience. Because of covid, I couldn’t get inside with her. They picked my carrier up at the parking lot, and then I had to wait somewhere else for 5 hours. Although She was admitted as an emergency, she stayed at the hospital for so many hours, and I don’t know where they put her (was it close to other animals?). I had never ever seen as scared as when the tech was giving her the meds — she doesn’t react like that when I do it at home. That’s why I think it was a good call to wait and see if she got any better during the afternoon, and since she did, we stayed at home.

I know they checked their teeth, but I don’t know if they used an otoscope. I couldn’t be inside with her due to covid, and the diagnosis paper that they gave me is silent about that.
 

ChloeBunny

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Another member mentioned the teeth. As a lop owner, it's my understanding that tooth issues are common with this breed. I didn't know this when I rescued my bun, and it wouldn't have mattered except that in my case it came with more expense. My bun would huddle in a ball like the picture you provided and stop eating/drinking when she had a tooth spur (she had two of these within months of each other, plus a dead tooth). In fact, one of the spurs was cutting into the tongue preventing her from eating or drinking - quite bad/painful in this case. The otoscope is necessary to see all of the molars and be sure that there is no developing infection. I'm so glad your bun is doing better. House Rabbit Society is an excellent, well-respected resource for all types of rabbit info; care, toys, basic 101, etc., even a list of vets. I found this site incredibly helpful in addition to the experience provided by owners on this forum: Gastrointestinal Stasis: The Silent Killer | House Rabbit Society
 
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Wenet

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Another member mentioned the teeth. As a lop owner, it's my understanding that tooth issues are common with this breed. I didn't know this when I rescued my bun, and it wouldn't have mattered except that in my case it came with more expense. My bun would huddle in a ball like the picture you provided and stop eating/drinking when she had a tooth spur (she had two of these within months of each other, plus a dead tooth). In fact, one of the spurs was cutting into the tongue preventing her from eating or drinking - quite bad/painful in this case. The otoscope is necessary to see all of the molars and be sure that there is no developing infection. I'm so glad your bun is doing better. House Rabbit Society is an excellent, well-respected resource for all types of rabbit info; care, toys, basic 101, etc., even a list of vets. I found this site incredibly helpful in addition to the experience provided by owners on this forum: Gastrointestinal Stasis: The Silent Killer | House Rabbit Society
Thank you so much for this. It is really helpful as I’ve been torturing myself trying to brainstorm reasons for this sudden stasis. The vet suggested that I brush her more because she swallowing her hair while grooming might be the cause, but in that case I’d have expected the xrays to show an obstruction. The teeth exam might have been just visual, since the receipt does not mention that, only physical exam appears along with the xrays, subq fluids and medicines. I’m waiting for the vet to call so that I can follow up on the meds prescription given her improvement. I will ask about the otoscope and if the answer is negative, I’ll take have her checked for that.
She doesn’t seem to be in pain anymore as of now, but I guess that teeth pain can come and go, and I definitely don’t want this happening again any time soon.
 

ChloeBunny

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I don't know if you scrolled down that link to, "The hair-ball myth" but it explains (and another member here said to me about stasis) that stasis is often a result of another condition rather than the cause. From the article: "In reality, an apparent hairball usually is a result of GI stasis–not the cause." Buns are experts at hiding pain as a way to stay alive in the wild. Guessing what could be causing the pain/stasis is the challenge. The otoscope is just inserted into the bun's mouth to open it wide for proper viewing of molars. If it's just visual (w/out the scope) they likely can't see the molars well. If they are eating hay regularly/often it keeps the molars worn down, helps prevent spurs. I don't want to get off on the wrong path by suggesting it's a tooth issue, but because it appears common with this breed, it should be ruled out first. In my bun's case, she stopped drinking as well as eating because it was too painful to swallow with the spur cutting into her tongue. I see that you're in AZ as I am. Dove Valley Animal Hospital on Carefree Hwy is excellent - I can recommend Dr. Newquist. My best wishes for you and Wenet.
 
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Wenet

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I talked to someone at the reception yesterday (the vet that saw Wenet wasn't there when I called). I asked whether she knew if an otoscope exam had been performed, and she told me that that was part of the physical examination, so Wenet's teeth should be fine. Thank you for the recommendation! We moved here recently (and amidst the pandemic) so I haven't had the time to find a reliable bunny vet yet.
I did read about the hair ball myth (I came across that HRS article during that terrible insomnia night crazy worried about Wenet, googling all the stuff I could think of about GI stasis) but I was wondering if ingesting hair can still cause stasis by slowing down the guts movement? Are they naturally able to just pass all that hair that they lick while grooming themselves?
 

Diane R

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I talked to someone at the reception yesterday (the vet that saw Wenet wasn't there when I called). I asked whether she knew if an otoscope exam had been performed, and she told me that that was part of the physical examination, so Wenet's teeth should be fine. Thank you for the recommendation! We moved here recently (and amidst the pandemic) so I haven't had the time to find a reliable bunny vet yet.
I did read about the hair ball myth (I came across that HRS article during that terrible insomnia night crazy worried about Wenet, googling all the stuff I could think of about GI stasis) but I was wondering if ingesting hair can still cause stasis by slowing down the guts movement? Are they naturally able to just pass all that hair that they lick while grooming themselves?
Some bunnies do get into trouble from ingesting too much hair. Brushing every day helps. And making sure they eat at least their body size in hay every day.
 

ChloeBunny

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You're welcome, Wenet (such a cute name). :) It's so stressful wondering what's wrong and how to best treat. Stasis can be caused by any pain or stress a bunny is under. With Chloe's tooth issues, I couldn't see them, even when she would let me gently (and carefully) pull back her bunny cheeks. I haven't experienced the hairball issue. I brushed Chloe but not regularly, and she would blow coat a couple times a year. She just passed the hair from grooming with no problem. Chloe actually passed away after 3 days of stasis (despite critical care and syringes of water) at the end of last year. Just two weeks earlier we discovered she had a tumor (behind one eye) believed to be causing her ongoing stress. If they are eating plenty of hay, theoretically, it should minimize the chance of hair balls and keep the teeth from developing painful spurs. My understanding is if the teeth appear okay, x-ray is the next step. For what it's worth, I've read in other articles and heard on this forum that female buns have a greater chance of developing tumors if they were not spayed early. Maybe other, more experienced members can speak to this better than I. Ultimately, it's best to have a clear picture/full assessment by an experienced exotic vet. In our case, Chloe was a rescue and had been used by the previous owner for breeding, so our vet was not surprised by the development of the tumors, even though we had her spayed when we rescued her.
 
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