Megacolon (Nutrition-based) Questions

Discussion in 'Nutrition and Behavior' started by Jenk, Sep 4, 2008.

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  1. Sep 4, 2008 #1

    Jenk

    Jenk

    Jenk

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    What's the best way to resettle a bun's gut? Is it to feed a hay-only diet? And if yes, for how long (two weeks, etc.)?

    Zoe's digestive system has long been abnormal for nearly a year.I don't know if pellets (their protein content) or leafy greens tipped off her poop issues. She's been off of pellets for 10 months but still has problems (most likely from greens).

    Her vet dislikes pellets and stresses that Zoe needs some leafy greens to receive the proper nutrients/calories. But her poopgoes all sorts of ways, even from eating the same veggie combo. Sometimes her poops are bone-dry and appear broken off (as if they didn't fully form in her intestines). Other times, she passes huge, moist-feeling poops; sometimes, there's a tiny bit of mucous on one or two of them.

    Also, Zoe doesn't pass what I'd call a normal amount of poop, though I try to keep in mind that one of her poops is the equivalent to 2-10 "normal" Mini Rex poops. I've a hard time telling if her gut is slowing down because she never passes a standard amount of stool (except for whenshe's been on a motility drug, during which times she passes a decent, standardized amount of more well-formed poops).

    Thank you,

    Jenk
     
  2. Sep 4, 2008 #2

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

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    If Zoe truly has megacolon then there is no clear answer to her problem ...

    I can only offer some excerpts from KathySmith/Lucille Moore new book "When you Rabbit needs Special Care Traditional and Alternative Healing Methods",


    " Congenital agangliosis ot "cowpile syndrome or "megacolon" is believed to be caused by an improper development or malfunction of the colon/cecum. Rabbits with this disorder have trouble extracting essential nutrients from food, may not produce cecotropes and frequently have trouble maintaining weight. It is suspected that there may be may be a number of different disorders that are lumped into this category because of similar symtpoms ; this would explain why treatments that help one individual may actually worsen the condition of the other.

    The symptoms of this disorder include big misshapen soft fecal pellets, frequently covered with mucus and a drippy bottom alternating with long painful bouts of GI stasis. During the spells of stasis it may be possible to feel large masses of fecal matter similar in consistency to ropes of play dough. This condition is always episodic in nature characterized by flare-ups followed by period of relative improvement.
    There is little agreement among vets, experts and caregivers about what diet or medication works best in these cases. Many caregivers have found that rabbits with this condition do not tolerate greens well... however this may not be true for your rabbit-listen to whatever his body tells you. Because rabbits with this condition often need extra nutritional support eliminating pellets may no be a good idea. Several caregivers have reported that better tolerance with extruded food (such as Kaytee exact Rainbow) than for either alfalfa or timothy pellets.

    Opinions on medical care vary. While several caregivers I know that have nursed their megacolon rabbits through many episodes of GI slowdown some vets worry about the increased risk of the cecum rupturing during each episode. A vet who actually examined your rabbit should decide whether motility drugs are recommended or contraindicated. - and this decision may vary from episode to episode. . Some vets will will prescribe a sulfa drug such as Albon or metronidazole during flare-ups. . In other cases long term use of these drugs may be recommeneded. Always check with your vet before making changes to prescribed medication but don't be afraid to speak up if you feel something is not working.
    Most vets and caregivers do agree on the following important points for rabbits with this condition
    1) Encourage your rabbit to drink plenty of water.

    2)Stick to a routine While most rabbit are creatures of habit daily routine is especially important for these rabbits
    3) Once you find a diet that works don't change it unless it stops working. be consistent in what you feed and when you feed it.
    4) Encourage exercise

    5) Sanitation is crucial

    6) Minimizwe stress. While this is important for all rabbits it is especailly important for ones with a chronic condition

    7) learn and recognize your rabbit's body language and begin treatment at the first sign that an attack is beginning. Work with your vet to identify what symtoms can be managed at home and when a vet visit is needed. "


    I believe that it is possible to order this book on-line. Kathy Smith has a list of top exotic vets that will do phone consultations with your vet.

    I had a rabbit, RIPGabriel, with this condition and really did not have access to good info (like this book) at the time. I was never able to alleviate mostly the messy poops and although he had stasis several times it was not as often as Zoe.
    I hope this helps but I don't have the answers myself.

    Hopefully some one on this forum has had a rabbit very successfully treated for mega-colin. it seem like one has to " feel your way along"
    Hope this helps :)


     
  3. Sep 4, 2008 #3

    Jenk

    Jenk

    Jenk

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    angieluv wrote:
    For a long while, her vet suspected a bacterial imbalance caused by Zoe's early weaning. Just a few vet vists ago, he mentioned that she may be one of those buns who haswhacky poops for life. I just wish that I could learn the cause of the whackiness to at least somewhat balance her system.
    Zoe maintains a weight of about 4 lbs. on hay and the small amount of veggies that I feed her. She even held a decent weight for the six weeks that I fed her soley hay (to help rebalance her system).
    I've never noticed Zoe to have a "drippy bottom." And even when her gut is aggrevated, she seems to have moist-looking/feeling poops, rather than visible mucous (a tiny amount of which is only visiblefrom time to time). She also seems to have an irregular poop production but not necessarily full-blown stasis (which she's had only a few times).
    Per Zoe's vet, I have the impression that it's not necessarily abnormal to feel "ropes" of poop along the digestive tract. But, again, I'vethe impression that Zoe doesn't movepoop along at a normal rate.
    What kills me is that Zoe was doing really well prior to eating half ofaZoom-Groomtooth. She continued to do well for another 2-2.5 weeks' time. So I don't know if the rubber tooth or the Romaine lettuce that I'd fed her twice in a row upset her gut. Perhaps it was both issues. It's a mystery.
    I wish that there could be agreement between vets/experts/caregivers. At this point, I'm ready to put Zoe back on a brief (maybe a two week) hay-only diet, supplemented with Bene-Bac gel. (She's been receiving an enzyme-probiotic on her greens, but her gut seems really upset after last night's feeding.)

    Admittedly, I'm scared to even try pellets at this point, fearful that she'll have an even worse (more gassy, moist-poop reaction). And I refuse to feed Kaytee products to my animals, especially anything with added coloration. Oxbow Bunny T/Basics would be the only thing I might give another go....But now is not the time, as Zoe's passing mucky poops again.

    Do you mean that the cecum runs the risk of rupturing if a caregiver waits too long to use a motility drug (i.e., while food and gas are likely building up inside, rather than moving outside of the body)?
    I hope so, too! :D
     
  4. Sep 4, 2008 #4

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

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    I think that Kathy Smith is talking about the stimulation from the gut motility drugs eventually causing gut rupture in some cases ... That was my interpretatation


    There are other extruded pellets for ex. Zupreem.

    I think Jim D started using it so maybe you could pm him.
     

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