Rabbit living a hay free life

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nat1234

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My rabbit, who is 7, has not been eating hay
His surgery was scheduled for today to get his teeth filed down but I got a call about 2 hours after dropping him off from the vet
the vet said he also has an overgrown root and has lost half a pound since his last checkup (14% of his body weight)
To fix the overgrown root it would drop his survival chance from 95% to 75% due to his age and the weight loss
She advised us to just take him home and only go through with the surgery when he stops eating completely
So i was wondering
how much more food should i give him to help him gain weight and make up for the calorie loss as he's not eating hay,
he's a dwarf breed, about 3 pounds, and is currently getting about 1 cup of veggies per day,1/4 a cup pellets (i know that's a lot), and a digestive support tablet from oxbow as a treat
also is there anything else i can give him to help his teeth stay trimmed as he won't touch hay at all
(it's his back teeth that are overgrown)
 

Hermelin

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Chewing branches may help, try fresh grass. Many rabbit find those extremely tasty and maybe you can make him eat.

You can also try to let your bunny get a little more of food with fat, I know many people use oats in the diet to help bunny gain weight. Before/during winter to make sure the bunnies are a little bit plump but not overweight.

Myself would think waiting until he stops eating would be even more dangerous. Then you would be 100% sure he could get treatment the same day.

Just thinking, because myself would have trouble getting to a vet anytime of the day when it’s emergency.

But hope you manage to make him to gain weight again. In my opinion if you don’t manage to make him eat more, he will only lose more weight. Which would be understandable because it hurts when he eats.
 

Alyssa and Bugs♡

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What about feeding Critical Care? That way he would get all the nutrients he needs and wouldn't lose any more weight. You can mush up some pellets if you don't have any CC. You may want to add more water than you normally would so he wouldn't have to chew it.
 

nat1234

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I think he's only lost the weight because i'm not giving him enough pellets and veggies to make up for the calorie loss from hay
he's still eating dry pellets and veggies just fine, only hay
 

nat1234

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Chewing branches may help, try fresh grass. Many rabbit find those extremely tasty and maybe you can make him eat.

You can also try to let your bunny get a little more of food with fat, I know many people use oats in the diet to help bunny gain weight. Before/during winter to make sure the bunnies are a little bit plump but not overweight.

Myself would think waiting until he stops eating would be even more dangerous. Then you would be 100% sure he could get treatment the same day.

Just thinking, because myself would have trouble getting to a vet anytime of the day when it’s emergency.

But hope you manage to make him to gain weight again. In my opinion if you don’t manage to make him eat more, he will only lose more weight. Which would be understandable because it hurts when he eats.
yea i'm kind of irritated i have to wait till it's an emergency to go through with the surgery, but I suppose i'll have to give him critical care if i have to wait a day before they can do the surgery
i'm just not comfortable with the 75% chance and she said he could live awhile longer without touching his teeth as long as he keeps eating veggies and pellets
but i will try the grass and sticks thank you!!!
 

Niomi

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I had a foster rabbit that would not eat hay. I would take him to the vet every 6 months to have his teeth filed. Sometimes he would need it more often. I bought a baby scale and would weigh him so I could tell when he was losing weigh. I feed my rabbits timothy pellets, but this rabbit I fed alfalfa pellet because they are more fattening. I wanted him to be a little heavier, because sometimes he would stop eating. Then I would take him to get his teeth done and it might take him a little while before he started to eat again. Sometimes he would stop eating, and I couldn't get him into the vet right away. Then I would syringe feed him Critical Care until the vet could file his teeth. He had other problems, probably genetic, and the roots of his teeth would sometimes push on his sinus cavity and cause his eyes to water. Then he would need to have his teeth done again asap. My vet sent his x-rays to a vet dentist to see if he could get help. The dentist said he could offer some help, but unless the rabbit would eat hay, he was always going to have problems. Good luck with your rabbit.
 

nat1234

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Thank you all for the advice !!!
i'm just hoping he can still have a happy life even with his teeth issues
 

nat1234

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oh also i just thought about this
aren't there brands that offer 100% hay that's just in a pelleted form???
if so does anyone know a good brand that sells this
i'd like him to gt the nutrients from the hay at least and i think he'd eat it in pellet form
 

nat1234

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I found this one site, agape , that sells 100% timothy hay pellets
would they be a good choice
 

Niomi

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Timothy pellets are a good choice for healthy rabbits because they low in fat. If you want a rabbit to gain weight, alfalfa pellets are higher in fat and would work better. Rabbit's teeth grow all the time, and they wear their teeth down by chewing hay, just like horses do. Without hay, a rabbit's teeth won't wear down and will need to be filed, same for horses. Rabbits and horses are both grazing animals. So if your rabbits teeth have to be filed, the problem would not be the pellets. The problem is that he isn't eating hay. If a rabbit eats good quality hay, he doesn't need pellets. If a rabbit only eats good quality pellets, his teeth will still overgrow. That is why rabbits should be given unlimited hay.
 

Niomi

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If you have access to fresh grass that has not been sprayed with chemicals, it would be a good thing to try in place of hay. If your rabbit will eat fresh grass, he will need to get used to it, because of the water content, he can get diarrhea. Once my rabbits get used to the grass, they can eat all they want without problems.
 

nat1234

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I tried giving him grass today but he won't touch it unfortunately, i'm going to keep trying though
his teeth have gotten to the point where i think it causes discomfort to eat hay (i read online that it requires a different chewing motion)
but the vet advised against filing until it gets to the point where it stops him from eating pellets and veggies, she said only then it will be worth the risk
i'm just trying to at least give him the same nutrients he should be getting from grass hay through 100% hay pellets
 

JBun

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If you have a local tractor supply or farm store, they may have Standlee timothy pellets that are good quality pellets and only around $15 for a 40lb bag. I wouldn't recommend using another brand or the store brand as I can't say anything as to their quality. I use the Standlee timothy pellets for my rabbits on a limited basis. The only thing is they are larger pellets than the usual rabbit food pellets, so your rabbit may have difficulty with them. My rabbits don't have any problems eating them though. For weight gain, there is a timothy/alfalfa pellet, if your rabbit doesn't have any bladder or kidney issues that the increased calcium content might aggravate.
https://standleeforage.com/products/certified-timothy-grass-pellets
 

nat1234

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oh good !!! i ended up ordering the standlee pellets from amazon last night (it was $50 tho oops)
should i feed him unlimited as they are 100% hay or should i limit them and if so how much should i give a 3 pound rabbit?
 

Niomi

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As long as he is underweight, I would give him as much as he wants until he gains the weight he needs. Pellets, even if they are made of 100% hay do not work the same as hay. It is the mechanical action of chewing hay that is going to keep his teeth in shape. Pellets will not wear down his teeth the way that hay does.
 

JBun

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Hay pellets are just chopped compressed hay, so you can feed as much as he wants to eat. If he seems to have any problems eating them then you could try soaking them in warm water to reconstitute them and see if he will eat the moistened crumbles better.

They're cheaper getting them from a farm store because you aren't having to pay for the shipping costs that you do with amazon(included in the the increased price). But you would have to have a farm store nearby that carries them for it to even be an option.

Hay pellets do still wear down teeth. The silica content in the hay, whether long strands of loose hay or chopped compressed hay pellets, is a big part of what causes tooth wear, not just the chewing action of eating long strands. Of course loose hay is better as it further promotes tooth wear, but since that isn't an option for this rabbit right now, this is going to be the best alternative so he is getting enough food and fiber, and can put some weight back on so he can eventually get the dental done that he needs and get back to eating his regular hay again.

Nat1234, to help prevent future tooth overgrowth I would suggest adding some orchard grass hay to your rabbits diet. It's really high in silica and helps wear those overgrown teeth down even better. I know of one owner that was having to take her rabbit in for dental trims every 2 months and after switching to this hay the rabbit was able to go a whole year before needing another trim.
 

Niomi

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When I fed my foster rabbit timothy pellets, and it made no noticeable difference. The biggest problem was keeping his weight up. On timothy pellets, his weight would get so low that he would wobble when he tried to hop because he would get so weak. He needed the alfalfa because timothy did not give him enough calories. In order to file his teeth, the vet had to put him under anesthesia, so he needed to be as healthy as possible to make it through the procedure. Trying timothy pellets is a good idea if he healthy and not too underweight. My foster did eat hay at the end of his life, but I have no idea why he decided to eat it. In the end he did have to be put to sleep, because the roots of his teeth were effecting his eyes, causing pain. He died last year at the age of 12. I fostered 6 of his offspring, and 3 of them had the same problem only worse, probably due to inbreeding.
 

nat1234

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thanks guys all this advice is really helpful
i'm just hoping i can get his weight up soon so i can get his dental work done and have him eating real hay again but for now hay pellets will have to do
 
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