New bunny poop question

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GertieP

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Rocco is our first rabbit so we are learning it all from scratch. Glad we found this forum! He is about 2 years old and the vet we took him to when we first got him in early Dec (he was a rescue) said he appeared healthy. He did have one episode of gut stasis which we were able to resolve with infant simethicone and he has not had another. He is very active, loves to play and loves pats and eats a lot of hay. About 2 weeks ago he had a bout of soft stools and I was able to speak to a vet who advised to limit his diet to hay which seemed to work. After adding in a limited amount of greens and a few pellets his poops are mostly normal but a few are larger, a few a bit softer and darker and we're finding an occasional uneaten cecotrope. The vet had recommended a probiotic if the hay-only diet did not work so I have some on hand. How concerned should I be and should I start giving him the probiotic? If so, how much and how often. He is 2lb 6oz. And does he get enough nutrients from the hay only? It's mostly Timothy with some orchard hay. Thanks for any advice!
 

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GertieP

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UPDATE: Today he ate hay and lots of water and produced some normal size but kinda soft shinier poops that were definitely not cecotropes. I have him one dose of probiotics to see if that helps.
 

JBun

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I see some oval and irregularly shaped droppings in the photo. Is he producing these on a consistent basis, and if so, did this just start or has he had irregular shaped poop from when you first got him?
 

GertieP

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I see some oval and irregularly shaped droppings in the photo. Is he producing these on a consistent basis, and if so, did this just start or has he had irregular shaped poop from when you first got him?
These seem to be more recent developments. Today he is producing very round dry ones. But most of his are produced at night along with the cecotropes - never see those during the day.
 

Diane R

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I would just keep him on the hay diet for now with a few pellets and a small amount of fresh herbs. It can take weeks for the gut to get back to normal.
 

GertieP

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The soonest I could get an appointment for him is next Tuesday. This morning I found several uneaten cecotropes which is the first time I have seen more than one. Should I continue with the probiotics? And what are the best herbs to give him - I have used cilantro, parsley and mint. Thanks so much!
 

Diane R

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The soonest I could get an appointment for him is next Tuesday. This morning I found several uneaten cecotropes which is the first time I have seen more than one. Should I continue with the probiotics? And what are the best herbs to give him - I have used cilantro, parsley and mint. Thanks so much!
I wouldn't give probiotics but I doubt it can do any harm. All herbs are good (apart from chives) but don't give more than small handful total per day, especially at this stage. The more hay you can get in him the better.
 

GertieP

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Thankfully, he is acting totally normally in every other way. Eating plenty of hay, drinking water, playing, grooming himself, and me!
 

JBun

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You may want to hold off on the greens for now. When sorting out digestive issues, it usually works best to get down to a simple plain diet so that you'll be able to tell what the problem foods are. Sometimes a rabbit can be sensitive to certain greens, and they can be the cause of digestive upset. Good quality grass hay is rarely the cause of digestive issues, and usually helps sort out digestive issues, so is the best food to start with.

Once the poop has stabilized and is looking normal again, then you can gradually start adding foods back in, one at a time and starting with a small quantity then gradually increasing. This way you will be able to determine if your rabbit is sensitive to a particular food, as you would start seeing the issue soon after you start feeding it. If you keep seeing the issue even on just hay, you may need to also eliminate the probiotics. And I would suggest adding in a salt lick while your rabbit is on no pellet diet since your rabbit won't be getting the necessary dietary sodium from the pellets.


But you will also need to consider some other possible causes of the poop problems if the elimination diet doesn't improve things. The coccidiosis parasite can cause poop abnormalities similar to what you describe. You would need to have your vet do a fecal float test to find out if this is the cause. Liver problems can also lead to poop abnormalities, and you would need to have a blood test done for this. Then if irregular shaped poop is a daily consistent problem, there is a genetic condition called megacolon that can cause this to occur.


There should be instructions for the probiotic on the container, if it's a pet probiotic like benebac. A temporary grass hay only diet, when using a hay that isn't too coarse and devoid of nutrients, shouldn't lead to any nutritional issues, provided the rabbit is eating the hay really well. Though it is good to closely monitor your rabbits weight and body condition for unhealthy changes. And consult with your vet if you have any questions or concerns.
 

GertieP

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You may want to hold off on the greens for now. When sorting out digestive issues, it usually works best to get down to a simple plain diet so that you'll be able to tell what the problem foods are. Sometimes a rabbit can be sensitive to certain greens, and they can be the cause of digestive upset. Good quality grass hay is rarely the cause of digestive issues, and usually helps sort out digestive issues, so is the best food to start with.

Once the poop has stabilized and is looking normal again, then you can gradually start adding foods back in, one at a time and starting with a small quantity then gradually increasing. This way you will be able to determine if your rabbit is sensitive to a particular food, as you would start seeing the issue soon after you start feeding it. If you keep seeing the issue even on just hay, you may need to also eliminate the probiotics. And I would suggest adding in a salt lick while your rabbit is on no pellet diet since your rabbit won't be getting the necessary dietary sodium from the pellets.


But you will also need to consider some other possible causes of the poop problems if the elimination diet doesn't improve things. The coccidiosis parasite can cause poop abnormalities similar to what you describe. You would need to have your vet do a fecal float test to find out if this is the cause. Liver problems can also lead to poop abnormalities, and you would need to have a blood test done for this. Then if irregular shaped poop is a daily consistent problem, there is a genetic condition called megacolon that can cause this to occur.


There should be instructions for the probiotic on the container, if it's a pet probiotic like benebac. A temporary grass hay only diet, when using a hay that isn't too coarse and devoid of nutrients, shouldn't lead to any nutritional issues, provided the rabbit is eating the hay really well. Though it is good to closely monitor your rabbits weight and body condition for unhealthy changes. And consult with your vet if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you so much for all the great info. I have been reading up on both those sites and will share your thoughts with the vet next week. In the meantime he is acting pretty normal though eating a bit less hay in the last 24 hours than he was. Last week when this started he was eating hay voraciously and drinking lots of water. I assumed it was because he had a new toy he loved to push around and was getting more exercise. He does prefer the really crunchy pieces of hay - perhaps for his teeth since he is not getting pellets?
 

JBun

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If he is eating less hay on a no pellet diet, I would strongly suspect there is something more serious going on here. Usually when pellets are removed, it means a lot more hay would normally be consumed to make up for this. If this isn't the case and your rabbit is eating less hay than before pellets were removed, and you can get into the vet sooner than Tuesday, I would urge doing so.
 

GertieP

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He is actually eating a lot more hay without the pellets (which I stopped a few weeks ago.) I was surprised at how much more since he only got a small amount of pellets. He did not eat as much last night or this morning but when I opened the bag to freshen it up he jumped right in and ate for about 45 minutes and has been eating well since. His daytime poops are dry and normal and he's as lively as ever. There are few rabbit vets in the area so next Tues is the soonest I could get an appt.
 

Momma Luvbun

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@GertieP I have a lionhead who I have gaged to have ISC (Intermittent soft Cecltropes) where he gets boughts of mushy little poops a couple times a day when he's having an episode. They are like the Cecltropes he's supposed to eat but they are in access so he doesn't eat them and sometimes they can mush all together the way he backs up over them to eat them (instead of just bending under and eating them) so it appears they are not grape looking.

When this happens, I put him on a hay only diet of Timothy, until he begins to slow his soft poops and they get back to normal. In my opinion, it happens mostly when he has had pellets (half of a 1/4 cup) for supper for a few months. I used to get bags from my local petfood store made up from a large bag they get in but had switched to oxbow (pellets only. Some brands out other items in with pellets and to me this is just filler) to make sure he was getting the most out of pellets that he should, but it still happens.
He is normal otherwise so I don't worry too much, just keep my eyes on his output.
my lop doesn't approve of this medical treatment because it means she doesn't get her pellets either.

slowly, when my lionhead has begun to stiffen his poops I'll begin to give them dill, romaine etc for supper instead.
 

GertieP

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@GertieP I have a lionhead who I have gaged to have ISC (Intermittent soft Cecltropes) where he gets boughts of mushy little poops a couple times a day when he's having an episode. They are like the Cecltropes he's supposed to eat but they are in access so he doesn't eat them and sometimes they can mush all together the way he backs up over them to eat them (instead of just bending under and eating them) so it appears they are not grape looking.

When this happens, I put him on a hay only diet of Timothy, until he begins to slow his soft poops and they get back to normal. In my opinion, it happens mostly when he has had pellets (half of a 1/4 cup) for supper for a few months. I used to get bags from my local petfood store made up from a large bag they get in but had switched to oxbow (pellets only. Some brands out other items in with pellets and to me this is just filler) to make sure he was getting the most out of pellets that he should, but it still happens.
He is normal otherwise so I don't worry too much, just keep my eyes on his output.
my lop doesn't approve of this medical treatment because it means she doesn't get her pellets either.

slowly, when my lionhead has begun to stiffen his poops I'll begin to give them dill, romaine etc for supper instead.
Thank you! glad you have worked out a good diet for your bunny. I am hoping that is all it will take but we will see on Tuesday. I did switch to Oxbow pellets a while back for that same reason.
 

Momma Luvbun

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@GertieP hopefully it is just a sensitive bunny you have🤞.
It may just be that pellets can't be given on a regular basis 🤷‍♀️
I now only give my buns pellets once a month for a "special supper night", otherwise it's their greens and herbs when my boy is back to normal.
Good luck and keep us posted on what the veterinarian says Tuesday 😁
 

GertieP

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UPDATE: After 2 weeks on a hay-only diet Rocco is back to normal - yeah! The vet found nothing wrong with him. Since his favorite toy is a toilet paper roll with folded ends filled with hay and a few pellets that he loves to roll around til the pellets fall out, he did say that was OK. Rocco loves his hay, eats a ton of it and drinks lots of water. I'm a bit hesitant to re-introduce any greens and upset his GI tract. I have read that they can do fine on hay only but wondered if they were missing any essential nutrients. I have a call into the vet but thought I would ask here also.
 

JBun

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You could go a bit longer on hay only, before trying to reintroduce greens. And when you do, go one at a time for a week at least, and start with small amounts before gradually increasing. That way if there is a problem, you'll know which one it is. It would be better to get some variety in your rabbits diet, but if your rabbit turns out to be sensitive, then you just do the best you can and stick with the foods your rabbit isn't sensitive to.
 

Momma Luvbun

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@GertieP I am happy to hear you're getting your bunbun back to normal.
May I suggest a bunny health journal to write down any health maintenance related information so you ALWAYS know what your bun is doing.

Sometimes we don't think that something that we gave them or something they exhibit a month or 2 previous, may be the key to understanding their behaviours.
 

GertieP

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@GertieP I am happy to hear you're getting your bunbun back to normal.
May I suggest a bunny health journal to write down any health maintenance related information so you ALWAYS know what your bun is doing.

Sometimes we don't think that something that we gave them or something they exhibit a month or 2 previous, may be the key to understanding their behaviours.
Great idea, thanks!
 

Pranay

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@GetieP my bun has a similar issue. Can u suggest me the medicstions he went through for recovery? Thanks in advancr
 

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