I got my baby bunny yesterday and she won’t eat or drink. I have to force feed her!

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AmyA33

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* URGENT! *

Hello to all,

We just got our baby bunny yesterday and she has NO interest in eating. I’ve offered her pellets, Timothy hat,fresh veggies, homemade baby food, clover and strawberries.
I have had to resort to syringe feeding her. (Force feeding) and she even fights me on that!
She’s seemingly healthy and very affectionate, but I’m scared to death about her not eating!
I’m about to give her an emergency formula of an egg yolk, Karo syrup, cream and condensed milk with is normally given to newborns, but I’m desperate!
She also has not pooped.

Any advice or input would be so helpful and appreciated!

Hugs,
Amy
 

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JBun

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Do not give milk formula if the baby is already weaned. This could further disrupt the microflora in the rabbits digestive tract, causing more digestive upset.
 

JBun

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Are you feeding the exact same foods as she was getting in her previous home, same type and brand of pellets and hay? If she wasn't getting any veggies in her previous home, she shouldn't be fed them until at least 12 weeks old, and then they need to be introduced into the diet gradually. I would also recommend not feeding any sugary high carb treats, as these can result in more stomach upset and could cause serious enteric illness. Baby rabbits are especially vulnerable to sugary/high carb foods disrupting the gut microflora and it causing enteritis, because they don't process carbs efficiently at that age.


Does she seem stressed or nervous? Is she being kept in a quiet area and not messed with execept for the essentials, giving her time to settle in with as minimal stress as possible?

 

AmyA33

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Are you feeding the exact same foods as she was getting in her previous home, same type and brand of pellets and hay? If she wasn't getting any veggies in her previous home, she shouldn't be fed them until at least 12 weeks old, and then they need to be introduced into the diet gradually. I would also recommend not feeding any sugary high carb treats, as these can result in more stomach upset and could cause serious enteric illness. Baby rabbits are especially vulnerable to sugary/high carb foods disrupting the gut microflora and it causing enteritis, because they don't process carbs efficiently at that age.


Does she seem stressed or nervous? Is she being kept in a quiet area and not messed with execept for the essentials, giving her time to settle in with as minimal stress as possible?

Thank you for your reply.
She’s is being cuddled and spoken to softly. She’s not in a loud environment or being passed around.
I’m very worried. Calling the vet this morning.
 

AmyA33

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Are you feeding the exact same foods as she was getting in her previous home, same type and brand of pellets and hay? If she wasn't getting any veggies in her previous home, she shouldn't be fed them until at least 12 weeks old, and then they need to be introduced into the diet gradually. I would also recommend not feeding any sugary high carb treats, as these can result in more stomach upset and could cause serious enteric illness. Baby rabbits are especially vulnerable to sugary/high carb foods disrupting the gut microflora and it causing enteritis, because they don't process carbs efficiently at that age.


Does she seem stressed or nervous? Is she being kept in a quiet area and not messed with execept for the essentials, giving her time to settle in with as minimal stress as possible?

Also, my niece got her for my daughter. I immediately asked if she was weaned and what kind and brand of food she was on. My niece called her friend that she purchased her from a she never called back. I’m furious, this is not a joke, it’s a living animal, not a toy!
I don’t know what to do at this point. I’m giving her homemade baby food ground up with her pellets in the Nutra Bullet with a syringe and she doesn’t like it.
My niece wasn’t intelligent enough to ask these important, vital questions!
And she still hasn’t pooped!!
I’m going to try stimulating her, I’ve raised many orphaned animals that I’ve had to make poo and pee, but shes definitely appears old enough. What do I do!
Should I get her probiotics??
 

AmyA33

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Are you feeding the exact same foods as she was getting in her previous home, same type and brand of pellets and hay? If she wasn't getting any veggies in her previous home, she shouldn't be fed them until at least 12 weeks old, and then they need to be introduced into the diet gradually. I would also recommend not feeding any sugary high carb treats, as these can result in more stomach upset and could cause serious enteric illness. Baby rabbits are especially vulnerable to sugary/high carb foods disrupting the gut microflora and it causing enteritis, because they don't process carbs efficiently at that age.


Does she seem stressed or nervous? Is she being kept in a quiet area and not messed with execept for the essentials, giving her time to settle in with as minimal stress as possible?

No, she’s extremely friendly and mello. She doesn’t hide or seem stressed. She sleeps in our lap and loves to be petted and spoken to.
I know bunnies can get very stressed the first day, but by know I’d think she’d be settling in.
She picked at her Timothy hay and I have a water bottle AND bowl because I don’t even know what she was using.
I’m furious these questions were not asked and more furious that I can’t get ahold of her original owner!
I should have picked her up myself but she was a surprise and my niece wasn’t intelligent enough to ask these important questions!!
Hugs. ❤️
 

JBun

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If she hasn't started eating on her own or pooped by now, you probably should get her seen by an experienced rabbit vet today. A rabbit not eating or pooping for more than 12-24 hours is considered an emergency.


 

AmyA33

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Good morning to all,

Well, not much of a change happening.
Last night she ate a tiny bit of Timothy hay and some fresh clover. I was so desperate for her to eat something I literally tried everything!!
Someone told me to give her mixed vegetables baby food, so I made my own with her ground pellets, carrots, kale, a little apple and a drop of Karo syrup.
I syringe feed her and she wasn’t happy about that, but I was desperate to get something in her! I have a water BOTTLE and BOWL because I don’t know what she was using.
I’m so upset that my niece wasn’t intelligent enough to ask for a baggie of her food from where she got her, asked if she was weaned, asked exactly how old she is, etc. I would have asked a million questions because bunnies are so fragile!
I’m going to do whatever I can to get ahold of the girl my niece got her from, but my niece is young and says I’ll embarrass her so she won’t give me the number! This is an innocent little baby that needs the very best of care, this is not a joke!
And HOW could anyone just hand over a little baby and not have everything written down regarding her schedule and exactly what she was eating and every detail about this poor little baby!
I’m in tears because my daughter adores her and I don’t know what to do. 😢
 

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JBun

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If this is just minor to moderate GI stasis, the vet should prescribe meloxicam for pain relief, a gut stimulant, possibly an antibiotic like baytril if GI bacteria is suspected, and a syringe feeding mix(usually Oxbow critical care). The bunny may also be dehydrated and need some sub q fluids. Hopefully it's not something more severe.

The best thing for this bunny to be eating right now, is a good quality grass hay that's soft to medium coarse. Hay is the best food for digestive problems in rabbits. It helps rebalance the gut microflora.

If she's really not touching her hay much, you could try sprinkling some alfalfa hay on it to try and entice her to eat. Most rabbits love alfalfa hay. In fact, if the vet can't see her immediately and you have time to pick up some alfalfa hay, it might be worth trying to see if she'll eat some alfalfa hay now. If she'll eat enough of it on her own, you can probably hold off on the vet, as long as she keeps eating, and doesn't develop bloat or diarrhea, which would be an emergency.
 

AmyA33

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If she hasn't started eating on her own or pooped by now, you probably should get her seen by an experienced rabbit vet today. A rabbit not eating or pooping for more than 12-24 hours is considered an emergency.


Oh dear,
I’ll start calling around for a vet. Thank you so much!
In your opinion, what do you think is wrong with her?
I’m a WRECK!
She has energy and hops around exploring, but I can’t tell you how furious I am that I can’t find out what she was eating and even if she was weaned.
This is a live animal and not a joke. Pet owners can be so irresponsible! The girl should have had every detail written down with a baggie of the food she was on. Now we have an emergency because of other people’s ignorance!!
 

AmyA33

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If this is just minor to moderate GI stasis, the vet should prescribe meloxicam for pain relief, a gut stimulant, possibly an antibiotic like baytril if GI bacteria is suspected, and a syringe feeding mix(usually Oxbow critical care). The bunny may also be dehydrated and need some sub q fluids. Hopefully it's not something more severe.

The best thing for this bunny to be eating right now, is a good quality grass hay that's soft to medium coarse. Hay is the best food for digestive problems in rabbits. It helps rebalance the gut microflora.

If she's really not touching her hay much, you could try sprinkling some alfalfa hay on it to try and entice her to eat. Most rabbits love alfalfa hay. In fact, if the vet can't see her immediately and you have time to pick up some alfalfa hay, it might be worth trying to see if she'll eat some alfalfa hay now. If she'll eat enough of it on her own, you can probably hold off on the vet, as long as she keeps eating, and doesn't develop bloat or diarrhea, which would be an emergency.
I haven’t found a vet yet, I’m on #5 now.
I get her the alfalfa hay right now. Is Timothy hay the right kind or should I get her a different hay?
I’m syringe feeding her water so she doesn’t get dehydrated but I haven’t seen her drink on her own.
Can you tell how upset and worried I am? I’m also absolutely furious that no information was given and my niece wasn’t smart enough to ask!
You just don’t hand over a baby bunny with ZERO INFORMATION!
Thank you again for all your help, I truly appreciate you taking the time.
Hugs,
Amy
 

JBun

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I imagine she probably has energy because you've been syringe feeding her. This would also indicate there's probably nothing seriously wrong. A rabbit that's in pain and unwell, will stop eating and will be lethargic, sitting in a corner hunched up usually. They won't hop around exploring. She may just not be eating because this isn't the food she's used to. Some rabbits will actually starve themselves if their food is suddenly changed to something unfamiliar.

If she's acting completely normal aside from not eating, you may be able to hold off on the vet. I would keep syringe feeding and try the alfalfa hay though
 

JBun

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You already have alfalfa hay and that's what you've been feeding, or have you been feeding timothy hay? They're completely different types of hay.
 

AmyA33

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I imagine she probably has energy because you've been syringe feeding her. This would also indicate there's probably nothing seriously wrong. A rabbit that's in pain and unwell, will stop eating and will be lethargic, sitting in a corner hunched up usually. They won't hop around exploring. She may just not be eating because this isn't the food she's used to. Some rabbits will actually starve themselves if their food is suddenly changed to something unfamiliar.

If she's acting completely normal aside from not eating, you may be able to hold off on the vet. I would keep syringe feeding and try the alfalfa hay though
You have been so wonderful and informative, I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate you and all the time your taking with me.
Yes, she’s definitely active and very aware. She grooms herself constantly and checks out and smells everything!
I’m just very concerned about the lack of poop. I believe she is peeing in the corner. Should I try to stimulate her to poo or is she too old for that?
And what is the best thing I can syringe feed her? Is my mixture appropriate or should I try something else?
Hug and blessings to you!
 

AmyA33

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You already have alfalfa hay and that's what you've been feeding, or have you been feeding timothy hay? They're completely different types of hay.
I’ve been feeding Timothy hay. But I’ll get alfalfa hay as well. Is Timothy hay the correct hay to use on a regular basis or should I switch to something else? 💗
 

JBun

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Did they tell you how old this bunny is? Or what breed? About how big is she? I'm having a hard time telling from the photos what age she might be. If it's possible she is under 4 weeks and not weaned properly, then she may need milk. But if she's older and was weaned, then milk shouldn't be given. It's hard to know without you having been provided with the info you need on her.

I prefer feeding timothy hay to young rabbits, because they're usually getting alfalfa pellets already. But a little alfalfa hay as a treat is usually ok, provided it doesn't cause excess cecotropes. When they're fed alfalfa hay exclusively, it can be hard to transition them off it as adults(it's too rich a hay and too high in calcium for adult pet rabbits). And sometimes too much alfalfa hay makes for too rich of a diet for baby bunnies and leads to excess cecotropes.

But for now, if this bunny will start eating alfalfa hay, I would do it. Most rabbits will eat alfalfa hay eagerly. So if she really is feeling ok besides not eating, I would be very surprised if she didn't chow right down on it. Then once you get her eating normally, you can start to gradually transition to timothy hay.
 

JBun

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The lack of pooping is probably because she hadn't been eating until you started the syringe feeds. So as she gets more food in her system and hopefully starts eating on her own soon, the poops should follow. If you keep up regular syringe feeds and/or she starts eating some alfalfa hay, and she still doesn't start pooping some by tomorrow, then I would definitely get her into the vet. Edited to add: as she may need a gut stimulant to get her pooping again

For syringe feeding, for now a plain pellet mush should be ok, if the pellets are a high quality pet brand like oxbow, science select, or sherwood. Cheap brands are higher in carbs and lower quality, which I wouldn't want to risk with a vulnerable bunny right now. I wouldn't add any sugars or baby food to it. It's not necessary, and adding additional sugars risks upsetting the digestive microflora. It should be made up fresh, or refrigerated for no longer than a day. It should be served warm(not too hot). Needs to be given slowly, giving bun time to chew and swallow, to minimize the risks of it being aspirated, which you want to avoid at all costs.


If she doesn't start eating the alfalfa hay and you need to continue syringe feeds, it might be worth ordering some Oxbow critical care(apple banana is usually preferred) or Sherwood recovery food. It might be worth ordering anyways, as it's always useful to keep on hand( I keep the bag in the freezer for longer shelf life).

Ideally, if you can find out the brand and type of pellet the bunny is used to eating, hopefully getting that brand and type of pellet will get the bunny eating normally again.
 
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AmyA33

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I just heard she could have G.I. Stasis! And I should use baby gas drops followed with a belly massage to get the gas bubbles out and get her to start pooping.
And give a dose of pineapple juice?
 

AmyA33

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Did they tell you how old this bunny is? Or what breed? About how big is she? I'm having a hard time telling from the photos what age she might be. If it's possible she is under 4 weeks and not weaned properly, then she may need milk. But if she's older and was weaned, then milk shouldn't be given. It's hard to know without you having been provided with the info you need on her.

I prefer feeding timothy hay to young rabbits, because they're usually getting alfalfa pellets already. But a little alfalfa hay as a treat is usually ok, provided it doesn't cause excess cecotropes. When they're fed alfalfa hay exclusively, it can be hard to transition them off it as adults(it's too rich a hay and too high in calcium for adult pet rabbits). And sometimes too much alfalfa hay makes for too rich of a diet for baby bunnies and leads to excess cecotropes.

But for now, if this bunny will start eating alfalfa hay, I would do it. Most rabbits will eat alfalfa hay eagerly. So if she really is feeling ok besides not eating, I would be very surprised if she didn't chow right down on it. Then once you get her eating normally, you can start to gradually transition to timothy hay.
Hi!

As I mentioned my niece picked up the bunny. The owner didn’t care enough to give her ANY information at all, I don’t even know how old she is or if she was weaned! My niece wasn’t intelligent enough to ask ANY questions at all either!
I’m furious because these things are SO IMPORTANT!
I’m at a loss.
I heard she could have G.I. Stasis and I should get infant gas drops and do a belly massage to get the gas out and the poo coming. Then a dose of pineapple juice.
This G.I. Stasis could kill her!
I just told my niece to get ahold of this girl and find out all the information possible!
I’m scared to death!
 

JBun

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If she really is running around and exploring, and acting normal other than not eating, it would be very unlikely she has true GI stasis yet. A rabbit that has true GI stasis, won't eat, and also is subdued and lethargic. They will typically sit hunched in a corner not moving much, or may lay with belly pressed to the ground and seem restless and keep shifting positions. They may also be grinding their teeth in pain.

As long as her belly isn't visibly distended and bloated(which would be an emergency if it was), a belly massage won't hurt. Her running around is also helpful to get gut contents moving. Pineapple juice does nothing but provide fluids and also sugars, which sugars you really don't want to be adding in. Baby gas drops only works if a rabbit has gas, and even then it's not a definite fix.

GI stasis isn't always caused by gas pain. Rabbits can develop GI stasis for a multitude of reasons. Basically anything that causes a rabbit pain, can result in them stopping eating and become lethargic, and develop into GI stasis. GI stasis is just a symptom of another problem.

Your bunny's GI is slowed down due to lack of eating, which can eventually lead to GI stasis developing. It's determining if it's just slow and will start back up now that she's being syringe fed. Because she's still acting normal, from your description of her behavior, if she will start eating alfalfa hay on her own, this would be a good indication she is still feeling fine, but that she just wouldn't eat because it wasn't the food she was used to, and that this isn't GI stasis yet. If she will eat on her own, that indicates she's feeling fine still, and should start pooping soon. If she doesn't start eating on her own today, if her behavior declines and she does start acting lethargic, and/or she isn't pooping at all by tomorrow, I would for sure take her in right away.

Because you describe her behavior as acting normal, normal behavior doesn't typically indicate GI stasis has occurred yet, but anything is possible. If you're worried, then certainly get her seen by a vet. I'm just sharing information based on my own experience, but it is just an opinion, I'm not a vet. If you think your bunny needs to be seen, you should definitely do that. Call up and book an appointment for today, then maybe if you want to try it, go get some alfalfa hay while your waiting and try it out to see if she'll eat it.
 

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