Weight Loss

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ariusshadow

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I adopted what I'm pretty sure is a buck (he won't safely allow me to check!) mini lop. I do not know his age, though he appears to be an adult, but not a senior. He came to us in perfect health, but did not come with hay, leading me to believe he had probably never been fed anything but pellets. I switched him to less pellets and constant hay. He did well for months. Suddenly, he dropped weight. He dropped it in almost a few weeks. You can feel his bones much more prominently. Can anyone think of why he would lose this weight so quickly? Is there anything that can (or should) be done without a vet? Or should I really just make an appointment? It's not that a vet is out of the question financially, but if the cost can be avoided, it would be much easier on my household at the moment.
 

majorv

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In cases like this the first thing I think of is if the rabbit has worms, though there can be other reasons why he's losing weight. If he's eating the same amount as before, but losing weight, you may want to get the vet to at least examine a fecal sample. What wormer you give depends on what type of parasite it is, assuming that's the cause.
 

ariusshadow

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How would he have obtained worms? He's an indoor rabbit. :( I have another indoor bun. They don't have contact with each other, but they are caged in the same room. She shows no signs of weight loss. It wouldn't be something she could catch, is it?
 

amandaaaa_xxo

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Is your rabbit still eating the same amounts of foods after you switched to less pellets? Don't forget, there are some pellets that don't have that much fibre content and are a little high in fat. Perhaps the pellets you were feeding him were that ^^ and a sudden reduction in pellets resulted in your rabbit losing weight since he isn't eating that much fat anymore. But then again I'm not sure which type you are feeding him. It's very alarming if your rabbit is eating healthily and is still losing weight. This requires an immediate trip to the vet, a rabbit specialist in particular. They'll be able to conduct blood tests and examine his stool. If you can feel the bones of your rabbit quite predominantly and the bones are quite visible to the eye (spine and rib cage) , then your rabbit is underweight and should seek medical attention.

Also, is your rabbit still eating hay?
 
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ariusshadow

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Update on Bunson: He hasn't seemed to touch his hay today at all, but his pellets were gone. I'm planning a vet appointment to a Petsmart Banfield in the morning, where there is a rabbit-savvy vet. I appreciate everyone's concerns and input, and will attempt to keep this thread updated on his progress.
 

Aki

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Yes, a sudden loss of weight always warrants a visit to the vet. Not eating hay also can go downhill very quickly. It might be worms, but it also might be a tooth problem, considering that he seems to have had a less than stellar regimen before you took him in. And, that way the vet will be able to check the sex. If your rabbit is actually female, she's probably not desexed so it could also be uterine / ovarian cancer.
I hope it's nothing serious, but better be safe than sorry, especially with rabbits - when they're ill, it really can't wait most of the time.
Tell us what the vet said, to see if we can help. Beside, treating a rabbit is often a long nerve-wracking endeavor and it's hard to do it when you have no fellow bunny-lovers to talk to about it - in my experience, you're treating your rabbit like 4 times and day and regular people are like 'hey, you can still get a roast out of it' and there are times when jokes like that just aren't funny. One of mine just pulled through 8 days of GI stasis and, the last two days, I was getting really exhausted and worried....
 

majorv

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How would he have obtained worms? He's an indoor rabbit. :( I have another indoor bun. They don't have contact with each other, but they are caged in the same room. She shows no signs of weight loss. It wouldn't be something she could catch, is it?
If he's indoor, never goes outside on the ground, and you don't have any other pets who come in from outside then chances are definitely less that it's worms. Let us know what the vet finds.
 

ariusshadow

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The vet check yielded no known cause. In fact, the vet seemed uninterested in the 'why'. There were mild dental spikes, but nothing he deemed to cause pain. He pushed me to purchase Oxbow brand hay and pellets, and prescribed 3 meds and some critical care after Bunson (who is female, after all) was given IV fluids. I did purchase some Oxbow hay- both Western and Oat (the oat to grind down her teeth a bit if she will eat it). He hoped to obtain a blood panel and x-rays, unfortunately it would have pushed the bill over $600 for just the blood panel, and that just isn't in the budget, though she does seem to be much less lethargic, more active and alert, and more interested in hay and food. She is still being picky with her hay- she selects only certain parts of the oat hay to nibble. But she is eating much more healthily than before.
I wonder if anyone has ever run into Griffin Exotics in Kannapolis, NC, or if they have ever had issues with this vet. I thought it was EXTREMELY rude and odd that he would actually tell me he wasn't really looking for the 'why'. And I can only assume they receive commission from Oxbow and Zoomed for the way they push their products. I'm not really against the pushing of products, but isn't Oxbow hay essentially the same as all other hays, or has anyone witnessed it really being a better product? The pellets I imagine are better, but I used to feed my last set of buns (I had 4) barn hay. And I had no issues with it.
 

Akzholedent

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That's so bizarre that your vet wasn't worried about what is causing her weight loss.... Maybe the vet visit convinced your bun that she should eat more, or she'd have to go back. ;-)

I hope she feels up to her normal self soon.. <3
 

Aki

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Yes, Oxbow clearly has an agreement with some vets (in France for cats and dogs Royal canin does with like EVERYONE, breeders, vets, petshops... wherever you go, they try to push it on you because they offer things to people and pay for a lot of the vets courses). Even my specialized very good vet tried to make me buy treats from them the last time I was there - going with the "what? Poor rabbits can't have treats?" approach when I said "no". At least, Oxbow is a good brand. Their hay is super pricey, but most rabbits love it. It is really good, you can tell looking at it that it is a lot closer to grass than a lot of hay out there and it smells really good. I bought some myself just last week because one of my rabbit was in stasis and wasn't eating regular hay.

The "not wanting to know the why" attitude, on the other hand, is not normal at all. Rabbits have 3 big weak points: teeth ; their digestive system ; hormones for female, which are a real ticking time bomb.
I would be concerned about those spikes. Here is what is said on the house rabbit society website about spikes :

"Spurs and Spikes
When cheek teeth are not wearing evenly, they form spurs or spikes that can lacerate the rabbit&#8217;s tongue, cheeks, and other soft mouth tissue. Though it may seem that a tiny, sharp point on a tooth would not cause serious problems, the opposite is true. As a rabbit tries to avoid use of a particular tooth, abnormal pressure is put on other teeth and the uneven wear becomes even greater. In addition, an abscess may form in the soft tissue.
Remember that a rabbit&#8217;s teeth are continuously growing. Therefore, the abnormal pressure of misaligned teeth on the other teeth is cause for discomfort. Additionally, the avoidance of one or more teeth can change the way a rabbit&#8217;s jaw normally rotates when eating food. Thus, what may seem like a small problem has the potential of negatively affecting the entire mouth (e.g., other teeth, muscles, ligaments)."

Also, I know it is expensive but you have to think about getting your rabbit spayed as soon as she's recovered. A female whose age is unknown is definitely old enough for tumors (a doe has 80% chances of getting ovarian/uterine cancer around her 4th year and it can start as early as their first year).
 

ariusshadow

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Bunson is not improving. She seemed to he gaining a bit of weight while on the meds and critical care, but is back to losing it at an alarming rate again now that they've stopped. I haven't been able to pay towards previous vet bills because of course it seems everything must happen at once. Unforseen circumstances have pushed us to the edge of our wallets. While I use Care Credit for my animals, I cannot currently afford another charge on it. Bunson is still active and spry. She binkies, eats, drinks, poops... She seems 100% healthy if not for her weight. The vet we brought her to didn't seem concerned with the reason, and now I have wasted the money on an uninformed vet visit where I was upsold and felt a little bullied into purchasing things and procedures when they had no intention to figure out a prevention so it wouldn't happen again. But that is the only exotic vet. Period. At the risk of sounding like a poor pet owner... How would anyone here handle this? What are your opinions on my options or perhaps home remedies? I'm at an utter loss. I do not trust the vet to not simply take my money with again looking for no root to the problem.
She is housed in the same room as my almost obese rabbit Jasper (a whopping and round 7lb'er). They have mild contact through cage bars. Jasper has never shown signs of illness. I do not believe this is contagious.
How long can she use critical care? I have LOADS leftover. Could this help? They only said to use it for up to 2 weeks. I'm so concerned but at the same time, affording her care is an awful stretch. And I really don't trust that vet. Feeling pressured and upsold with no bother at all to look for an explaination seriously damaged my report with that vet..
 

Aki

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She eats from everything and not less than before? Because if a loss of appetite is not rare and can have a lot of different causes (which generally comes down to something causing pain), weight loss while eating and pooping normal poops is a lot more bizarre. If I were you, I would do a very thorough research on the Internet (maybe asking people somewhere like here : http://www.allexperts.com/el/Rabbits/), like on rabbit.org and all rabbits related forums for possible causes. Then I'd make a list and see which are more likely, at which point I would make a list of necessary tests and ask for those at the vet.

Sorry, I can't help more because I've never seen a case comparable to yours. Parasits is the only thing that comes to mind. With symptoms like that, I would say maybe a taenia? It is a possibility, and the fact that your rabbits are inside rabbits doesn't mean they couldn't get it (from food, from a microscopic egg under your shoes, wild rabbits get it from grass so I guess it can be on vegetables). But maybe it's completely wrong.
If you have no idea, I would try Panacur to try to treat possible parasits. Can't really hurt. The treatment is long (28 days) but it's quite safe and it kills several kind of parasits.
 

JBun

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There are a variety of causes for weight loss in rabbits. For a rabbit that is eating pellets and hay without any problems, and is eating a lot of hay, then most likely causes for weight loss in rabbits that still have a good appetite and are getting plenty of food, are worms, hepatic coccidiosis, e. cuniculi, organ failure, infection, cancer, and a variety of other health conditions related to old age. Uterine cancer is especially a high risk in unspayed female rabbits. In rabbits that are not eating normally or their normal amounts but still behaving normally, the most common cause would be dental problems.
http://www.rabbitnetwork.org/education-resources/articles/rabbit-health-articles/weight-loss-in-rabbits/

There are otc medications that can be used to treat the various parasite causes. Other health conditions would need vet treatment, and even then it's possible there may be no way to correct the problem. Dental problems can usually be corrected, and if minor sometimes diet changes can fix, but if too advanced would need a vet to fix.

Is your bun still not eating hay very well, and how much would you say she eats in a day(a pile the same size as her body or less?)? Are you limiting her pellet amount each day, and if so what amount, what is her weight, and what type of pellets are you feeding? If your bun is getting a limited amount of pellets each day and is still not eating hay very well, that would explain the weight loss and points to dental problems as a likely cause. Even the smallest molar spur can affect a rabbits eating, and with your vet not sounding very rabbit savvy, it is a good possibility the vet missed dental problems as the likely cause. Plus it can be hard for a vet to get a good look at the teeth of a conscious rabbit and sometimes a GA is required for the vet to get a good look in the rabbits mouth.

If you think that dental problems might be the cause of your buns weight loss, you will need to get more food into her until you can get the dental problem corrected. If she's still not eating hay well, then this will need to be done through increased pellets, adding in hay pellets(plain hay pellets used for horses) to the diet, or feeding critical care daily(which is ok to do). If you are going to increase pellets though, how exactly this should be done depends on if your bun is still eating pellets really well and what type you are currently feeding. Some types aren't meant to be fed in larger amounts and could potentially be harmful if overfed.

If you need to get her back to a vet at some point, here are some rabbit vet lists you can look at, and hopefully find a better vet near you.
http://www.trianglerabbits.org/health/vet.html
http://www.rabbitsonline.net/showthread.php?t=10097
 

RavenousDragon

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In answer to the critical care question- you can feed critical care for a very long time if you have to do so. If she's losing weight, it's probably best not to stop it. Keep encouraging her to eat other foods too.

Like Aki said, I think I'd be most worried about ovarian/uterine cancers. How long ago did you get her?
 

ariusshadow

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I've only had her a few months.. About two months or less when I noticed the weight loss so maybe 3 now.. The people that gave her to me never seemed to feed her any hay, as there was none in her cage, and I was not handed it. They had her on some gross seed, pellet, coloured-thing party sprinkles junk food blend. I switched her to Kaytee for the moment, though Oxbow is definitely an option if need be. She gets a mix of Oxbow Western hay and Pet Supplies Plus timothy hay. The pellets is 1/8 cup per day. I believe she was being free-fed that garbage before I got her. I have no idea on age, though I want to say she seems young simply because of being 'spry'. Though, I'm aware that's purely conjecture. She likes to chase our wild kitten, even with this weight loss.
She may be eating a little less hay than I would like.. But she refuses to chew anything not food. Cardvoard or wood toys go neglected.. Is there something I use to file her molars naturally? (come to think about it, I haven't tried pumice yet..) She rather seemed to like the Oat Oxbow hay I got her.. But 90% of the bag was wasted. Even my garbage-disposal bun didnt want those hollow straw-like stalks that took up most of the bag. And she has NO problems eating..
 

RavenousDragon

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Since you got her only a few months ago, parasites are still an option (it takes a few months for the parasites to mature in some cases). And if she's having NO other symptoms, that would be my very first bet.
 

JBun

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I've only had her a few months.. About two months or less when I noticed the weight loss so maybe 3 now.. The people that gave her to me never seemed to feed her any hay, as there was none in her cage, and I was not handed it. They had her on some gross seed, pellet, coloured-thing party sprinkles junk food blend. I switched her to Kaytee for the moment, though Oxbow is definitely an option if need be. She gets a mix of Oxbow Western hay and Pet Supplies Plus timothy hay. The pellets is 1/8 cup per day. I believe she was being free-fed that garbage before I got her. I have no idea on age, though I want to say she seems young simply because of being 'spry'. Though, I'm aware that's purely conjecture. She likes to chase our wild kitten, even with this weight loss.
She may be eating a little less hay than I would like.. But she refuses to chew anything not food. Cardvoard or wood toys go neglected.. Is there something I use to file her molars naturally? (come to think about it, I haven't tried pumice yet..) She rather seemed to like the Oat Oxbow hay I got her.. But 90% of the bag was wasted. Even my garbage-disposal bun didnt want those hollow straw-like stalks that took up most of the bag. And she has NO problems eating..
You don't mention her weight or how much hay she is eating. Presuming she is a medium size rabbit at around 5 lbs, then she should be eating around 1/4-1/2 cup pellets and a pile of hay the size of her body, per day. So if your bun isn't eating at least a pile of hay the size of her body per day in addition to her pellets, then it's likely she is losing weight due to not eating enough food. If she isn't eating that much hay and you can't get her to eat hay better, then the solution is to gradually increase her pellet ration, or see if she will eat plain hay pellets as a substitute for loose hay, something like this.
http://standleeforage.com/product-formats/pellets/timothy-grass/timothy-grass-pellets

You may also want to give orchard grass hay a try. Some buns really like it and it is high in silica, which is good for wearing down sharp points that might be developing on molars. I know of rabbits where switching to orchard grass helped significantly reduce the amount of dental burring the owners had to have done each year, from 6 down to 1.

If molar spurs end up being the problem, only a vet can burr them down. But I would first try seeing if switching to orchard grass, increasing her pellets, and/or adding in hay pellets, makes a difference. It may be she just isn't eating enough food to maintain a healthy weight.
 

majorv

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Did the vet check a stool sample for worms? You don't need blood work to check for that.
 

Happi Bun

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This is quite a mystery, isn't it? I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. Having a tight budget and vet bills is very stressful, I know. I'm also very sorry the vet you took her to was only interested in selling you products and raising the bill. Unfortunately, I've had similar experiences. It can be very hard to find a knowledgeable vet who is also compassionate and isn't in it for just the money.

At first I was thinking her teeth are worse than the vet thought, but you would definitely notice a decrease in her appetite for her to lose the weight for that reason. When you touch her chin does it feel wet or does the hair have a crunchy feel like something has dried on the fur?

How is her attitude? Any lethargy?

What about water consumption? Is she drinking more? Less? Normally?

You could try increasing the amount of pellets you give her. Perhaps her metabolism is higher and she isn't getting enough calories? If you are burning off more calories than you are consuming then you will lose weight. It's the same with animals. When people recommend how much food you should give your rabbit it's really just a guideline. Like people, animals have varying metabolism speeds as well. You start with the recommend amount and then assess if your rabbit is gaining, losing or maintaining weight.
 

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