Hard/dry poops but everything else is normal, help!

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lynne2809

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Hi everyone! I have a 2 year old neutered male lionhead named Mickey. Mickey had an episode of stasis in August and he ended up being hospitalized at a university teaching hospital for 3 night. Since then, I am very paranoid about his poop and I am always freaking myself out about it. Recently, his poops have been a bit harder and drier than normal. He is finishing molting, but he is almost done, so I’m not sure if that is the cause. He gets 1.5 tablespoons of Oxbow Adult Timothy Hay pellets in the morning and 2 tablespoons at night with unlimited access to Timothy hay and fresh water. He also gets a few basil leaves every day and a few small pieces of Oxbow Simple Rewards treats. He is acting totally normal, eating and drinking well, etc. He just had his annual exam with his first RHDV vaccine a few weeks ago and he is due for his next RHDV booster in 2 days. He was totally fine after this first vaccine, but I’m worried that he might go into stasis after his vaccine in a few days since his poops are a bit weird. His poops are usually much darker in color and more uniform in size, they just seem a bit smaller, harder, and drier lately even though nothing has changed. Should I be concerned? Pictures from tonight’s poops.
 

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Mariam+Theo

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Sorry no one got back to you! How is Mickey doing? Did the vet get to check on him when he got his RHDV booster?
Normally smaller/darker poops can be caused by dehydration. How much water has he been drinking recently?
 

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Along with not enough fluid intake causing smaller fecal balls(and so making sure your rabbit is drinking normally), consistently smaller than usual fecal balls will usually mean a rabbit isn't eating as much hay as normal, particularly the coarser strands. Indigestible fiber is what promots good gut movement and larger fecal balls, and coarse hay is mostly made up of indigestible fiber.

First would be making sure your rabbit isn't having any problems eating hay. If he is eating hay fine, then you could try reducing pellet amounts slightly as well as carb filled treats. If he isn't eating hay really well, there could be an issue with the hay, especially if it's a new batch, or he could have a health issue going on like dental problems. A rabbit ingesting fur during molting can also affect poop size. Usually increased hay consumption and less pellets, can help increase gut motility and poop size, and help 'push' the fur through the digestive tract.
 

lynne2809

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Along with not enough fluid intake causing smaller fecal balls(and so making sure your rabbit is drinking normally), consistently smaller than usual fecal balls will usually mean a rabbit isn't eating as much hay as normal, particularly the coarser strands. Indigestible fiber is what promots good gut movement and larger fecal balls, and coarse hay is mostly made up of indigestible fiber.

First would be making sure your rabbit isn't having any problems eating hay. If he is eating hay fine, then you could try reducing pellet amounts slightly as well as carb filled treats. If he isn't eating hay really well, there could be an issue with the hay, especially if it's a new batch, or he could have a health issue going on like dental problems. A rabbit ingesting fur during molting can also affect poop size. Usually increased hay consumption and less pellets, can help increase gut motility and poop size, and help 'push' the fur through the digestive tract.
Mickey was eating and drinking fine until yesterday. He wasn’t eating as much and he seemed uncomfortable, so I took him to the vet. Everything was normal including his temperature, and the vet said that she couldn’t feel any gas and his gut sounded normal. We administered about 150 ml of SQ fluids and I went home with him. He still seemed uncomfortable so I gave him a dose of Metacam, but he still wasn’t too interested in food. About 2 hours later, he passed this huge clump of mushy stool mixed with cecotropes and some normal stools (I have never seen anything like this). Of course, I freaked out a little bit. The nearest ER that he could be seen at was 3 hours away and I as worried that a long drive might make it worse, so I decided to monitor him. He began eating and drinking normally and passing normal stools overnight. His stools are formed now, but they are very stinky and slightly softer than normal (I’m not sure if this could indicate a bacterial imbalance). I was just out of town for 4 days, so maybe it was exacerbated by stress? Nothing has changed in his diet recently and his vet sent out a fecal sample last week and it was negative for parasites. I do have Bene-Bac on hand but I’m not sure if I should give it to him, or wait to see the specialist. I have an appointment with an exotic specialist on Tuesday to see how we can prevent this from happening again and to evaluate what may have caused it in the first place. My question is: is it okay to wait until Tuesday? I was thinking that if this was some form of mucoid enteritis or enterotoxemia, he would be gradually getting worse, not better? Do you think it’s okay to wait that long? Here are some photos of what he passed last night and his poop overnight and this morning.
 

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lynne2809

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He is currently playing and eating hay, so I’m hesitant to drive him 3 hours away to the ER since I have an appointment with a specialist in 3 days, which is only a 30 minute drive away. Does anybody have advice?
 

Mariam+Theo

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Since he is eating, drinking, playing, etc all normally I think it’s ok to wait until Tuesday. Personally, I would give him the Bene-Bac because even if it doesn’t help him, it won’t hurt him.
 

lynne2809

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Since he is eating, drinking, playing, etc all normally I think it’s ok to wait until Tuesday. Personally, I would give him the Bene-Bac because even if it doesn’t help him, it won’t hurt him.
Thank you! That’s what I was thinking as well, I think that driving him 3 hours to the ER and 3 hours back might just make it worse because of the stress- and I’m not even sure what they would be able to do there other than supportive care. The specialist that we are seeing on Tuesday is apparently an excellent exotics doctor, she also teaches at a local vet school so I’m sure she will be able to help me figure out how we can prevent this from happening again. I’ll go ahead and give him the BeneBac and see if it makes a difference! I’m thinking maybe something just didn’t sit right with his stomach and it got out of whack and hopefully it will resolve within the next few days, but it will still make me feel better to see the specialist
 

lynne2809

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Right now he is eating hay well and acting fine, the poops are just mushy and wet and very dark. I guess I should just continue to keep an eye on him? They’re just kind of squishy and smell bad, but he is pooping.
 

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JBun

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Sometimes they can eat something that can cause a minor upset and oddly formed poop. Then once that passes they and the poops start returning to normal. Or it could be just the stress from you being gone. That stress can alter the microbial balance in the gut. Causing lack of appetite, gut stasis, which then results in abnormal bacterial growth and inflammation. That inflammation and irritation to the gut along with the altered bacteria will cause the odd poops that you saw. I would think that because he is feeling and acting better, and the poops are improving and look pretty normal to me in the last photos, that it's not likely to be something serious that needs further treatment. But of course this is just a guess I'm making based on your description of how he's currently doing and how his fecal poop now looks.

Now that things are getting back to normal with the stress component removed, this will help the gut to return to normal. Another thing that usually helps get the gut back in balance is limiting or removing high carb foods like treats, and sometimes reducing pellets as well. This reduction of high energy foods is to encourage increased hay consumption, which fiber helps normalize the gut. The grass hay should be free fed, and it's important to monitor hay consumption to make sure your rabbit is eating it very well. Otherwise if it's not being eaten well, it could result in stasis occurring again.

If it was enterotoxemia your rabbit would more likely to be on a severe decline and not improving at all., as enterotoxemia usually progresses quickly with more severe symptoms. If anything was going on besides a minor gut upset, it's more likely to be bacterial enteritis. If it's not severe and the rabbit is eating and acting pretty normal, often lots of hay will be enough to get the gut back in balance. If it is more severe, sometimes an antibiotic might be needed, but then that has to be done carefully as that can sometimes further upset the bacterial balance. At most, baytril or smz/tmp would be the likely antibiotic given for bacterial enteritis.
 

lynne2809

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Sometimes they can eat something that can cause a minor upset and oddly formed poop. Then once that passes they and the poops start returning to normal. Or it could be just the stress from you being gone. That stress can alter the microbial balance in the gut. Causing lack of appetite, gut stasis, which then results in abnormal bacterial growth and inflammation. That inflammation and irritation to the gut along with the altered bacteria will cause the odd poops that you saw. I would think that because he is feeling and acting better, and the poops are improving and look pretty normal to me in the last photos, that it's not likely to be something serious that needs further treatment. But of course this is just a guess I'm making based on your description of how he's currently doing and how his fecal poop now looks.

Now that things are getting back to normal with the stress component removed, this will help the gut to return to normal. Another thing that usually helps get the gut back in balance is limiting or removing high carb foods like treats, and sometimes reducing pellets as well. This reduction of high energy foods is to encourage increased hay consumption, which fiber helps normalize the gut. The grass hay should be free fed, and it's important to monitor hay consumption to make sure your rabbit is eating it very well. Otherwise if it's not being eaten well, it could result in stasis occurring again.

If it was enterotoxemia your rabbit would more likely to be on a severe decline and not improving at all., as enterotoxemia usually progresses quickly with more severe symptoms. If anything was going on besides a minor gut upset, it's more likely to be bacterial enteritis. If it's not severe and the rabbit is eating and acting pretty normal, often lots of hay will be enough to get the gut back in balance. If it is more severe, sometimes an antibiotic might be needed, but then that has to be done carefully as that can sometimes further upset the bacterial balance. At most, baytril or smz/tmp would be the likely antibiotic given for bacterial enteritis.
Thank you so much for taking the time to type this out for me, I really appreciate your help! Right now everything is normal other than the somewhat mushy/wet/dark stool but he is eating, drinking, and running around. I haven’t been feeling him basil or treats because I know that could further upset his GI tract, so I’m just offering plenty of Timothy hay right now. I am glad that I chose not to go to the ER last night, because that would have been a 6 hour round trip and I think that would have just made the situation worse because he gets very stressed out in the car.
 

lynne2809

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Sometimes they can eat something that can cause a minor upset and oddly formed poop. Then once that passes they and the poops start returning to normal. Or it could be just the stress from you being gone. That stress can alter the microbial balance in the gut. Causing lack of appetite, gut stasis, which then results in abnormal bacterial growth and inflammation. That inflammation and irritation to the gut along with the altered bacteria will cause the odd poops that you saw. I would think that because he is feeling and acting better, and the poops are improving and look pretty normal to me in the last photos, that it's not likely to be something serious that needs further treatment. But of course this is just a guess I'm making based on your description of how he's currently doing and how his fecal poop now looks.

Now that things are getting back to normal with the stress component removed, this will help the gut to return to normal. Another thing that usually helps get the gut back in balance is limiting or removing high carb foods like treats, and sometimes reducing pellets as well. This reduction of high energy foods is to encourage increased hay consumption, which fiber helps normalize the gut. The grass hay should be free fed, and it's important to monitor hay consumption to make sure your rabbit is eating it very well. Otherwise if it's not being eaten well, it could result in stasis occurring again.

If it was enterotoxemia your rabbit would more likely to be on a severe decline and not improving at all., as enterotoxemia usually progresses quickly with more severe symptoms. If anything was going on besides a minor gut upset, it's more likely to be bacterial enteritis. If it's not severe and the rabbit is eating and acting pretty normal, often lots of hay will be enough to get the gut back in balance. If it is more severe, sometimes an antibiotic might be needed, but then that has to be done carefully as that can sometimes further upset the bacterial balance. At most, baytril or smz/tmp would be the likely antibiotic given for bacterial enteritis.
I have some BeneBac gel- is it supposed to be creamy yellow in color? I guess I was expecting it to be clear or white? I put one unit on my finger and he just licked it right off like it was a treat!
 

lynne2809

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Sometimes they can eat something that can cause a minor upset and oddly formed poop. Then once that passes they and the poops start returning to normal. Or it could be just the stress from you being gone. That stress can alter the microbial balance in the gut. Causing lack of appetite, gut stasis, which then results in abnormal bacterial growth and inflammation. That inflammation and irritation to the gut along with the altered bacteria will cause the odd poops that you saw. I would think that because he is feeling and acting better, and the poops are improving and look pretty normal to me in the last photos, that it's not likely to be something serious that needs further treatment. But of course this is just a guess I'm making based on your description of how he's currently doing and how his fecal poop now looks.

Now that things are getting back to normal with the stress component removed, this will help the gut to return to normal. Another thing that usually helps get the gut back in balance is limiting or removing high carb foods like treats, and sometimes reducing pellets as well. This reduction of high energy foods is to encourage increased hay consumption, which fiber helps normalize the gut. The grass hay should be free fed, and it's important to monitor hay consumption to make sure your rabbit is eating it very well. Otherwise if it's not being eaten well, it could result in stasis occurring again.

If it was enterotoxemia your rabbit would more likely to be on a severe decline and not improving at all., as enterotoxemia usually progresses quickly with more severe symptoms. If anything was going on besides a minor gut upset, it's more likely to be bacterial enteritis. If it's not severe and the rabbit is eating and acting pretty normal, often lots of hay will be enough to get the gut back in balance. If it is more severe, sometimes an antibiotic might be needed, but then that has to be done carefully as that can sometimes further upset the bacterial balance. At most, baytril or smz/tmp would be the likely antibiotic given for bacterial enteritis.
These are the poops that I just got- they are a bit firmer and less mushy, but they’re a bit small and irregularly shaped with jagged edges, should I be concerned or is this normal following an episode of an upset stomach? He’s still eating hay and acting fine
 

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lynne2809

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Alright another update, he just ate tons of hay and left these for me. Still not as perfect-looking as I would like, but an improvement maybe?
 

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JBun

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As the irritation in the gut subsides, the poop will continue to gradually improve. If it doesn't or anything worsens, that can mean there is still something going on.

I only have the benebac powder and it's white. But I think I recall in the past when I used the gel years ago, it was creamy colored.
 

lynne2809

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As the irritation in the gut subsides, the poop will continue to gradually improve. If it doesn't or anything worsens, that can mean there is still something going on.

I only have the benebac powder and it's white. But I think I recall in the past when I used the gel years ago, it was creamy colored.
Great, thank you so much! I have the appointment with the specialist on Tuesday, but honestly, if things continue to improve I may cancel it to avoid the stress of the drive and being at the clinic, he absolutely hates being in the car and it really stresses him out. He took the Benebac well today (he took it right off of my finger) so I will probably give him another dose tomorrow.
 

lynne2809

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As the irritation in the gut subsides, the poop will continue to gradually improve. If it doesn't or anything worsens, that can mean there is still something going on.

I only have the benebac powder and it's white. But I think I recall in the past when I used the gel years ago, it was creamy colored.
Just wanted to give another update, this is what his litter box looked like this morning. That made me a lot less worried about this being a long-term issue rather than maybe just some digestive upset that is correcting itself as I assume if it were an infection or something serious, his litter box would probably not have looked this good. He’s still having a little bit of the brown stringy mucus, but much much less than before, so I assume these are all good things and I don’t have to be as worried now?
 

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lynne2809

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I spoke too soon, I don’t know what to do, guys. I don’t know what could be causing this at all. I called the specialist’s office and rescheduled my appointment for tomorrow morning instead of Tuesday.
 

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lynne2809

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Hi everyone, I've just gotten back home from our appointment with the exotics specialist. Everything on Mickey's physical exam was great. He weighs 4.1 lbs., his temperature was normal, and all of his internal organs felt normal on palpation. The specialist said that he looks to be an extremely healthy rabbit. She agreed that this presentation was strange because he will pass some mushy stool/diarrhea and then his poop will return to normal very quickly. She does not think that it is anything genetic or chronic (such as megacolon or dysautonomia) because his poop returns to normal. She also does not think that it is any type of obstruction or anything like that. She offered to repeat lab work and x-rays, but she said that it would probably not reveal anything because he looks very healthy on physical exam and he just had labwork and x-rays completed at a veterinary teaching hospital back in August when he had stasis, so I decided to hold off on those. His primary veterinarian sent a stool sample to the lab last week and he was negative for parasites, which is great. The specialist does not think that it is anything life-threatening or dangerous in the long-term. She looked at his fecal sample under the microscope and said that she did not find any parasites or unusual bacteria. However, she did see a larger amount of a certain type of yeast in the sample. She said that the yeast is a normal part of the rabbit's GI flora, but he had a larger amount in his sample, so it could be a yeast overgrowth that is causing some upset - this could have been brought about by stress from his recent RHDV vaccine or me being out of town. She did not seem to concerned about this, but she is going to look into it further. Does anybody have any experience with a yeast overgrowth in the GI tract or have any suggestions on how to treat it? For now I am just offering him his normal diet (Oxbow Timothy hay and Oxbow Adult Timothy Hay pellets). I am not going to offer him any additional food or treats for the next few weeks to see if this helps to "reset" the flora in his GI tract. I did see online that some people recommend treating yeast overgrowth with a medication called nystatin and I emailed the specialist about it, so I am waiting for a response.
 
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