Megacolon and Gut-flora Advice, Please...

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Jenk, Apr 13, 2008.

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  1. Apr 13, 2008 #1

    Jenk

    Jenk

    Jenk

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    I'd like to hear from others who are dealing (or have dealt) with megacolon and/ or regular gut-flora disruptions. (I've received excellent advice from an HRS member but am hoping to hear more stories; I just might glean even more great advice.)

    My one Mini-rex girl, Zoe, might be described as having a dalmatian pattern (white with dark brown spots on her nose, around her eyes and down her back). Since babyhood, she's had continual gut-flora issues. First, she was treated for Coccidiosis. Since then, she's had steady digestive problems, namely gassiness/ tummy upset, regardless of how healthy and nutritious her diet. She's always had abnormal fecals (ranging from very tiny to cow-pile size); nothing seems to make a difference in terms of their abnormality.

    One month ago, I had the gamut of tests run on Zoeto better determine the cause of her issues. X-rays revealed excess gas in her cecum; blood work revealed certain elevated liver enzymes; and a fecal swabrevealed an imbalance of three bacteria types, whichincluded prevotella. She was treated with Baytril and is still taking Bene-Bac and an herbal remedy for her liver enzyme count.

    So for this past month, I've had her on Oxbow timothy hay and a small amount of leafy greens (two types only). Her tummy is so sensitve,I don't dare overdo it with too many veggies. I alsoeliminated Oxbow (Bunny Basics/T) from her diet months ago.

    Of course, now I worry that she's not receiving enough nutrients; but the other option is to potentially throw her tummy into a whirlwind. Any amount of pellets seem to cause her issues. Too many veggies seem to cause her issues. Only hay seems to be relatively "safe." Egads!
     
  2. Apr 13, 2008 #2

    pamnock

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    Vitamin E can sometimes help (and certainly won't hurt anything).

    Pam
     
  3. Apr 13, 2008 #3

    Jenk

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    pamnock wrote:

    Hi, Pam.

    Your answer prompts a few more questions. :biggrin2:

    1) Do you know what dosage (IUs) applies to rabbits? (My Zoe weighs 4 lbs.)

    2) Can you direct me to specific sources that discuss the use of Vitamin E for megacolon? (I'll do a Google search, too; but I figure that you may have trusted sources.)

    3) You mention that Vit. E won't hurt. Does that meanthat expertshave found noadverse affects of it on rabbits? (I don't mean to be mistrustful; I'm just leery because of Zoe's ultra-touchydigestive system. I fear giving her anything new, lest I cause her gassiness, GI slowdown and, ultimately, bad bacterial growth.)

    4) I've read that some people give their rabbits peppermint tea to soothe the digestive tract. Do you happen to know how to prepare it for rabbits (steep a tea bag or fresh leaves) and/ or what dosage to give?

    Thank you,

    Jenk

     
  4. Apr 13, 2008 #4

    naturestee

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    Pam, do you think Nutri-Cal would be safe for such a sensitive rabbit? FYI Jenk, Nutri-Cal is a gel supplement made for sick cats and dogs but can be used in rabbits, it has calories, B vitamins, and vitamin E among other stuff.

    I don't have the time tonight, but I'll try to write a more thorough response tomorrow. My dwarf hotot Fey (and her sister, RIP) has megacolon/sensitive tummy. She is also very, very sensitive to pellets and protein levels. I currently have her on 2 tablespoons/day of Oxbow BBT and tons of grass hay, but thankfully she does very well with greens as long as they don't have too much protein. Although she is better with fresh clover, etc., than with alfalfa or clover in hay. She gets about 2.5 cups of greens daily, usually at least four types but more when I can get decent stuff. It's hard in winter.

    What types of hay are you feeding? Since she's not getting pellets and very little variety in veggies, you should try to compensate some by providing multiple types of grass hay. Stuff like orchard grass and other non-timothy grass hays are getting easier to find in pet stores or can be ordered from a variety of different companies.

    Edit: I use Nutri-Cal on Fey when she is doing worse, it seems to help more than other things I've tried. Doesn't hurt except for getting her mad at me, LOL!


     
  5. Apr 13, 2008 #5

    naturestee

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  6. Apr 13, 2008 #6

    Jenk

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    naturestee wrote:
    Zoe (and her sister, Emma) get Oxbow timothy hay. I know that it sounds silly, but I'm even shy about giving her other types of hay. My fear may be promptedby a misunderstanding of rabbit physiology;it seemed as though her most recent bacterial imbalance became noticeable (i.e., symptomatic)after I'd slowly introduced Endive into her diet. She probably already had issues going on, but it seemed to me as though the Endive upset her gut, caused gas, then early GI stasis and bacterial growth.

    I may have things all wrong, and I'm certainly willing to learn. I just don't want to continue messing things up for Zoe and running her back to the vet (which only stresses her out further and hurts my wallet more).

    Jenk
     
  7. Apr 13, 2008 #7

    pamnock

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    naturestee wrote:
    Yes - it's certainly worth a try. Just need to be careful due to calories. As you mentioned, it also contains vitamin E. Some gut problems respond better to water soluable vitamin E.

    Pam
     
  8. Apr 13, 2008 #8

    pamnock

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    naturestee wrote:
    What was your favorite article? Maybe it can be found somewhere on the internet archives.

    Pam
     
  9. Apr 13, 2008 #9

    naturestee

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  10. Apr 14, 2008 #10

    Jenk

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    naturestee wrote:
    I couldn't get the link to work. :( Is it just me?

    Jenk
     
  11. Apr 14, 2008 #11

    naturestee

    naturestee

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    That's the one I was talking about that doesn't exist any more.;)

    I haven't been able to find it on Google, which does archive pages for a certain length of time. :(
     
  12. Apr 14, 2008 #12

    Marietta

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    Hi there!

    I'm the mom of a dwarf hotot with a "sensitive tummy", due to genetical reasons. The issue of megacolon and GI disorders has been discussed in the following thread, where I've cited a couple of articles also:

    http://www.rabbitsonline.net/view_topic.php?id=33072&forum_id=16

    Apart from Vit. E, a forum member also advised that Vit. C is good for intestinal problems. Vit C is found in high concentrations in fruits like papaya, orange, tangerine, pineapple (however, beware of the sugar, which should absolutely be avoided, as far as bunnies with intestinal problems are concerned). Having followed this advice I give my bunny a slice of orange each morning. However, the key to eliminating or, at least, combatting GI issues is the daily consumption of mainly hay and secondarily pellets in restricted amounts and even less veggies. In my case, I give a small amount of leafy greens and herbs once a day or every two days, measured pellets and A LOT of hay and have had no further GI problems till now.

    Marietta

     
  13. Apr 14, 2008 #13

    Jenk

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    Thank you for the thread. I will definitely read it to learn even more about megacolon.

    Marietta wrote:

    One HRS member told me that, for some megacolon bunnies, leafy veggies are the main problem; for others, pellets are the main problem. Zoe definitely got gassy and had gurgling issues from pellets (even small amounts).

    At this point, I'm too leery to give her any pellets. I'll discuss with her vet the idea of re-introducing a tiny amount of them, though I'm guessing that he won't be keen on the idea, due to Zoe's past issues.If anything,I plan to slowly introduce other grass hays into Zoe's diet--thoughI'm uncertain if even a different type of grass hay can cause digestive upset for a megacolon bun. :(

    So far, Zoe's doing relativelyokay with a smallamountof veggies that I give her daily. (I'm talking about only seven or eight small pieces of leaf lettuce and a few leaves of parsley. That's how slowly I'm taking things with her now.)

    For now,her poops vary greatlyin size and moisture (not to be gross), but she doesn't have diarrhea; plus,her output is decent (versus nearly non-existent).




     
  14. Apr 14, 2008 #14

    ra7751

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    Couple of quick thought here. The liver enzymes were probably due to stress from the vet visit. We have seen that happen often. I have the advantage of being able to pull blood here so I have seen that. Has this rabbit been dewormed with something like Fenbendazole? If not, it might be a good idea. Keep in mind that a fecal is not perfectly accurate. Coccidia is difficult to treat. Sulfanomides and/or Albon can help it from reproducing but the rabbit's own immune system is the only way to get rid of these little protozoa.

    I have used ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) but you really would want to be careful. It is water soluble and the excess is excreted in the urine. The idea is to acidify the gut. You are already doing that by using the Bene-Bac. The bacterial strain L Casei that is contained in BB is one of the best at stabilizing pH in the digestive system. Many think it's the bacteria in Bene-Bac that does the trick....it's actually the change of pH induced by the acidophilus strains. If you used Baytril orally, it might take some time to get things back in order. You might want to discuss with your vet an alternative antibiotic should one be used. The use of antibiotics in gut issues is very controversial in the vet community...but I have found it to be very effective especially in pre-emptive strikes with stasis and/or ileus. But Metronidazole (Flagyl) is very good at controlling the primary pathogens at work with gut issues.

    Prevotella is an interesting bacteria to be cultured here. What were the other two? And just wondering here...has any x-rays been done to take a look at her molars? Just a thought.

    Randy
     
  15. Apr 14, 2008 #15

    Marietta

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    Jenk, I don't believe that you're gonna have GI issues if you add several types of hay to Zoe's diet. It could be a good idea, since variety will make her be even more interested in hay and eat more. In regard to veggies, in general dark leafy lettuce is okay for buns, however, in case of a rabbit with intestinal problems, like yours and mine, I don't know if lettuce would be a good choice, I don't give my Vitto lettuce at all. I give him one cup of a mix of endive, wild chicory, dill and parsley daily or per 2 days. I try to avoid any "garden veggies" and prefer the kind of greens a rabbit could find in nature, this is why I opt for herbs and wild leafy greens.

    Since you avoid giving Zoe pellets, how does she maintain her weight? Hay is very low in calories, compaired to pellets. Also, how did you determine that pellets are the culpit for her GI issues and not veggies? It would be much better if pellets were not the problem, since they provide a balanced diet to rabbits. I have no experience on a non-pellet diet, maybe other members, could tell us if this kind of a diet could possibly cause any long term issues, like e.g. lack of any vits., minerals, etc?

    Marietta
     
  16. Apr 14, 2008 #16

    naturestee

    naturestee

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    Thanks Marietta, I had completely forgotten about that thread! It's added to the Library now so anyone can find it.

    If you'd like to add more Vitamin C without the sugars, Oxbow makes a Vitamin C supplement tablet for guinea pigs that appears to be low sugar.
    http://www.oxbowhay.com/Shop/showProduct.sp?PRODUCT_NO=53

    I think I'll try those, see if Fey likes them. I know she wasn't impressed with Oxbow's papaya tablets when I got a free sample of those.
     
  17. Apr 14, 2008 #17

    Marietta

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    Oh, Naturestee, Oxbow pellets and hay and their line of products is one of the rabbit stuff I'd LOVE to have here, but there are not imported in Greece. However, I've seen a Vit. C supplement in the form of drops, I think it's a Vitakraft product (the company is based in Netherlands), but I'm not sure if it's sugarfree and I really don't like the idea of dietary supplements in general.

    Thank you very much for adding the particular thread to the Library, unfortunately, there is not much info on the megacolon syndrome and genetical GI disorders...

    Marietta
     
  18. Apr 14, 2008 #18

    naturestee

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    Yeah, I think megacolon is going to be my next project thread. I'm working on a different one right now since I realized I never did internal parasites, oops!:shock:
     
  19. Apr 14, 2008 #19

    Gabby

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    I know of some rabbits who can not eat pellets because it messes up their systems, I have not personally had any of those rabbits, but have known people with them.

    I myself have a bun named Stormy who can not eat ANYTHING fresh/veggies, one nibble and he is thrown into a horrible bloated gastric stasis. I have had him since he was 12 weeks old, a "gift" from a friend.. and he is currently 8 years old.

    The first vet he saw when he was a year old did not understand his condition and it took him an extremely long time for him to recover, she wanted to push push push veggies, which only resulted in him getting worse.. she also wanted to eliminate pellets.

    after 2 weeks of not improving, we went a different route and a different vet.

    after some experimentation over about a course of 4 years I know what works for him.

    Stormy can eat his pellets, oats, grass hay, and papaya tablets , those are the only things I have found that are safe for his system.

    I also found out in his frequent trips to the vet office with me that he is allergic to cats...


    it can be a long road, but once you find what works best for your baby it is worth the trip. each bun seems to have their own list of things they can tollerate and things they can not. best of luck finding out what the best diet is for your baby.

     
  20. Apr 14, 2008 #20

    Marietta

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    Gabby it's so relieving to see that your bun has reached the age of a ...senior citizen, though he's been having GI stasis problems throughout his whole life! My Vitto only had 1 GI stasis bout, but it was a serious one and, at that time, I had reached the point of being certain that I'd lose him. It was an awful 2-week period that I dread to remember...

    Out of curiosity, how do you know that Stormy is alergic to cats? Does he sneeze when around them? What about when he's close to dogs?

    Marietta
     

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