Is gas normal in rabbits?

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by jonsnowbunny, Jan 12, 2018.

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  1. Jan 12, 2018 #1

    jonsnowbunny

    jonsnowbunny

    jonsnowbunny

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    I have a 10 month old dwarf rabbit who has had some medical issues for a couple months. A couple times a week my rabbit lets out a clear liquid substance. I have looked at many many forums and sites and I have not been able to get a clear answer. She eats fine, a diet of many greens, timothy hay and pellets. She's also very active and loving and doesn't show any signs of discomfort. She drinks enough water and eats all her food and has very healthy poops, so I do not know what could be wrong with her. I took her to the vet and they did a fecal analysis and did a full checkup and the vet did not find anything wrong. Lately she's had gas and I read that is not good. At night typically I can hear it and it just sounds like small farts. As I read the many forums, I always come to the conclusion that she does not meet all the descriptions and symptoms. She's healthy in every other aspect of her diet and exercises. I felt her stomach to see if it was hard like the sites said, but her stomach is quite soft. If anyone has any answers please let me know ASAP! Thank you!
     
  2. Jan 12, 2018 #2

    Lucky_2017

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    The culprit that causes gas problems in our bunnies is believed to exist in the diet we feed them, specifically large amounts of: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. Some bunnies are susceptible to gas more than others no matter their size or breed. Completely removing such veggies from their diet is not necessary as moderation is the key. To date, the listed culprits have not been proven as the causes of gas and opinions vary widely. But it is fact that rabbits do commonly suffer from gas, and if ignored, the problem is potentially fatal. SYMPTOMS: When a rabbit suffers from gas, it is pertinent that you treat your bunny as quickly as possible. Symptoms that are most commonly presented include:
    - Gurgling noises coming from your rabbit’s stomach.

    - Bunny will become lethargic preferring to be left alone often sitting with her eyes partially closed.

    - Significant decrease in appetite (even with her most favorite foods).

    - Bunny will lay in an uncomfortable or unusual manner-partially on her side to ease the pain (most likely with the front part of her body held upright while her hind legs seem relaxed); or she may not want to lay down at all instead preferring to sit upright with a very straight posture.

    - Her stomach will feel very hard, or extremely soft.

    - Her temperature will be lower than normal (below 100F) WHAT TO DO:

    - Check your bunny’s temperature – If it has dropped below normal, you must warm her up before her system shuts down (hypothermia). Place her on a heating pad, warm water bottle, under a heating lamp, or hold her against your body. Continue to monitor her temperature regularly (every half hour so) to make sure it does not drop further.

    - Give your bunny a simethicone product orally - Commonly sold over-the-counter products include Infant’s Phazyme, or Infant’s Mylicon. Give 1/3 of a dropper (0.3ml) for smaller bunnies, or ½ dropper (0.5ml) for larger bunnies every 4-6 hours until your bunny appears to lay down in her normal manner, or she beings to eat again. A Gas relief product is a good thing to have on hand in your rabbit care emergency kit.

    - Take care of her digestive tract and make sure she is hydrated – Chances are your bunny has not eaten because of the pain. We must make sure the good flora (bacteria) in her intestines are still present in her system. Give her some acidophilus twice a day during this episode, or one ml of Benebac. Pedialyte can be added to make a manageable liquid if you are using acidophilus in powder form to syringe the mixture directly into her mouth. Give as much as she will take, being careful to drop the liquid slowly into the side of her mouth. Do not squirt it into her mouth as she could breath it into her lungs.

    - Apply tummy massage – Rubbing your bunny’s tummy in a gentle manner will help to ease the pain and expedite the relief.

    - Watch her appetite and make sure she is eating – Even if she will only feed on fruits, it is very important that she continues to eat. Episodes can last between 2 to 12 hours, you should contact your veterinarian if symptoms persist more than one day.
    Sorry for the long post, I hope this helps!
     
  3. Jan 12, 2018 #3

    JBun

    JBun

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    With the gas, it doesn't sound like it is causing a build up of pressure or pain like usually happens with rabbits and causes them to stop eating(which is probably what you were reading about), so maybe it's happening lower in the digestive tract instead of in the stomach. Rabbits really shouldn't be having a lot of gas episodes at all, so it does sound like there is something causing some digestive upset and it's going to be a matter of trying to pinpoint the exact food causing it..

    What specific greens/veggies are you feeding, how big a pile of hay does she eat compared to her body size, any other treats(specifically sugary or high carb ones), what kind of food pellets and how much per day, and also her weight? After feeding a particular food, have you noticed your rabbit showing any signs of upset such as eye squinting, belly pressing(which is not the relaxed flopping down), repeatedly shifting position(laying down, getting up, then laying down again) like your bun can't get comfortable, tooth grinding, or sitting hunched in a corner, or is it as you said and your bun is having no signs of discomfort at all? It is possible for the digestive upset to not cause a significant amount of discomfort to upset your bun at all, but still be a problem that should be resolved as it could progressively worsen over time and lead to significant digestive illness.

    The clear liquid that you are seeing, is it coming from her digestive system, is it a mucous or jelly like substance(refer to pictures below), and is it mixed with any fecal contents, or is it more water like?
    http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_diseases/Generalities/Enteritis_en.htm

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Jan 12, 2018 #4

    Stinkerbunnies

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    Usually if bunnies fart, it means they need a new diet. I can't tell you about that clear substance though. Maybe try giving her more greens.
     
  5. Jan 12, 2018 #5

    minmelethuireb

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    What greens do you feed?
     
  6. Jan 12, 2018 #6

    jonsnowbunny

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    I currently feed her a diet of mainly hay. Whenever I see her bowl of hay running low, I top it off. As well as hay I feed her about less than 1/4 a cup of pellets because she's small and only weighs about 3.5 pounds. As well as pellets, I feed her greens such as kale, lettuce (various kinds), carrots, celery and others. Sometimes she will sit on top of her house and press her belly to the floor, but she does not squint her eyes. No tooth grinding or hunched sitting in the corner either. The article you attached is exactly was the mucous substance looks like! I've read the article and I will bring it with me to the vet. Although, in our case, it hasn't progressed to diarrhea yet. Thank you so much for the help!
     
  7. Jan 12, 2018 #7

    minmelethuireb

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    Maybe try cutting kale and carrots. Kale can cause gas, and carrots have a lot of carbs which might also cause gas. Veggies that are less likely to cause gas include romaine and leaf lettuce, dandelion, cilantro, parsley, basil, and watercress. Celery is not really ideal as it is very low in nutrients.
     
  8. Jan 12, 2018 #8

    minmelethuireb

    minmelethuireb

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    Also, when she gets gas you can give her small amounts of infant gas relief fluid - simethicone, about 1 milileter per hour.
     
  9. Jan 12, 2018 #9

    JBun

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    Ok, so that would mean that your rabbit has some element of mucoid enteritis, though it sounds like it's very mild at this point which is a very good thing, and something you want to reverse asap before it has a chance to worsen as it can have very serious consequences once it progresses to diarrhea or severe mucoid jelly.

    The clear substance or mucous/jelly, is caused by irritation to the digestive tract, often from pathogenic bacteria or from a food sensitivity. It can also happen after a rabbit has had GI stasis and the gut is returning to normal. The likely culprits of your rabbits digestive upset are going to be one of the veggies you're feeding or a sensitivity to one of the ingredients in the pellets. As long as your hay isn't spoiled(eg. noxious weeks or gone moldy- sour smell, white dust, black or white spots, dampness) then it's not going to be the likely cause of the upset. Though some rabbits can have a sensitivity to a particular hay, it's not common. To figure out what food is causing the problem, it's a matter of elimination. There's a slow method and a more rapid one to figure out what the offending food is. It's similar to what is recommended for a rabbit with mushy cecotropes or cecal dysbiosis, which is caused by an imbalance of the microflora in the rabbits cecum.
    http://sawneeanimalclinic.com/downloads/chronic_intermittent_diarrhea_in_rabbits.pdf
    http://rabbit.org/intermittent-soft-cecotropes-in-rabbits/

    If you prefer to try the slower method, this would entail removing one or two food items at a time. Given the diet you are feeding, like suggested above, I would also first cut out the kale and the carrots. Being a cruciferous veggie, kale is the most likely one to be the cause of the upset. At least it's been my experience that cruciferous veg are common ones to cause upset. And like mentioned, carrots are high in carbs and very sugary, which is a common cause of digestive upset in rabbits. If you don't see improvement that week after removing those and it doesn't resolve the problem, then the celery would be the next thing I would remove. If that doesn't fix it then I would remove the rest of the veggies. If your bun is still having gas and mucoid jelly after removing all the veg, then last is the pellets. I had a rabbit that ended up having a pellet sensitivity. Once I removed them from his diet he was never sick again. If removing both veg and pellets, your bun is still having the problem and you've given it a week or two, the next to consider is the hay, either something is off with it or your rabbit is sensitive to that particular hay. If so then changing to a different hay like orchard, may be needed. You also need to consider your water source. I've read of instances where problems have been tracked back to contaminated water.

    To try the quick method, it usually involves cutting everything out except hay. This only works if the bun involved doesn't rebel, and cooperates by eating a ton of hay to make up for the loss of the other food. Just free fed hay and water(I like to offer a salt lick as well as they normally get their sodium from their pellets) until the digestive system has had a chance to settle back to normal for a few days, then one by one other foods can start to be added back in. How long to let the digestive system settle and return to normal, depends on how bad the digestive upset has become. If it's not too bad, it can just take a few days til the gas is gone and there's been no mucous/jelly, and then things can be gradually added back in. If it's more severe, it can take several weeks to even months for the microflora in the rabbits digestive tract to get back into balance, but you should be seeing at least some improvement in the first week or two. If you aren't seeing any improvement after two weeks, then like above, consider the hay and water as the possible problem.

    So when you start adding things back into the diet, you can start with the veggies or the pellets. I would probably start with the pellets, and you want to make sure to do this gradually, say starting with a tsp a day and increasing a tsp each day as long as the digestive upset symptoms don't return. If they do return with the pellets, the pellets may need to be cut out completely or feed a reduced amount, if the symptoms don't return with the reduced amount. If symptoms don't return with the pellets, once you get the pellets added back in ok, then you can start on the veggies, one at a time and starting with a small amount and gradually increasing the amount each day. After several days of having that veggie and everything being ok, add in another veggie. So doing it this way should show you which food was causing the problem, as when it gets added back into the diet, you will see the digestive upset symptoms return. Don't get in too much of a rush adding new things back in, as it can sometimes take a few days of having the offending food, for the problem to start to develop again.

    If at any point you are concerned, or your buns symptoms worsen at all with lack of appetite, lethargy, increased mucoid jelly, diarrhea, etc, get your bun to your vet immediately as this can mean pathogenic bacteria is taking hold and it needs to be treated with the correct antibiotics immediately. If it were me, in a more advanced case of mucoid enteritis and/or with diarrhea, I would want to make sure the vet gave metronidazole, baytril, questran, and sub q or IV fluids. This would be to combat the pathogenic bacteria and the toxins they can cause. So this next link is the severe form of the disease and is more technical, but I'm including it to show the meds used to treat it just in case you find yourself in a position to need this info.
    http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00dis/Miscellaneous/Mucoid_EnteropathyRabbits.htm
     
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