What can I replace alfalfa hay with to help a young rabbit gain weight?

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BerryMochi

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My 15 week young rabbit has been having a lot of issues with gas and cecotropes pretty much since we got her. Her diet was really bad. She's getting better but she can't handle any diet changes at the moment. She needed to gain weight so i started to mix in some alfalfa hay with her regular meadow hay. I wanted to switch her to timothy 4 days ago but that gave her gas. Same thing with oxbow critical care yesterday, which was given to me by the vet.
I would keep her on alfalfa hay but I noticed that her urine has gotten a bit cloudy so I can't be giving it to her anymore.

Is there anything I could give her that could help her gain weight without giving her gas? Or should I try to stick with meadow hay and try critical care again? I'm still looking for a good rabbit vet in my area so for now I'm trying to figure out how to keep her healthy at home.
 

JBun

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Is her urine a thin consistency and cloudy, or is it thick and creamy, gel like, or pasty/gritty? Cloudy urine doesn't always mean there's a problem if it's still the thin consistency of normal urine. It's how excess dietary calcium is naturally excreted.

Something to consider with your rabbits ongoing digestive upset issues, is sometimes when a rabbit is having ongoing and multiple diet sensitivities, it can be due to a parasitic worm load. It might be worth discussing with your vet, putting your rabbit on a 9 day course of Panacur. A probiotic like Bio Lapis or Fibreplex ,may also be helpful.
 

BerryMochi

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Is her urine a thin consistency and cloudy, or is it thick and creamy, gel like, or pasty/gritty? Cloudy urine doesn't always mean there's a problem if it's still the thin consistency of normal urine. It's how excess dietary calcium is naturally excreted.

Something to consider with your rabbits ongoing digestive upset issues, is sometimes when a rabbit is having ongoing and multiple diet sensitivities, it can be due to a parasitic worm load. It might be worth discussing with your vet, putting your rabbit on a 9 day course of Panacur. A probiotic like Bio Lapis or Fibreplex ,may also be helpful.
It is thin but I am a bit nervous about it because she wasn't given a lot of the hay, just a handful every morning and some as snacks. Alfalfa hay also seems to make her gas worse, so when she gets gassy I don't give it to her for a bit. Sorry, I should've mentioned. She was dewormed, got her fecals tested for parasites and was put on torlacol for 3 days " just in case ". The tests came back negative. I discussed probiotics with the current vet but he said that they don't have a lot of medication for rabbits and don't have any probiotics. He gave me a number to a different vet who deals with exotics. He's currently on sick leave so I have to wait to set up an appointment. Unfortunately, it seems ireland is a bit backwards when it comes to rabbits and small pets..
 

JBun

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Toltrazuril is used to treat the coccidia protozoal parasite. It's not a treatment for pinworms or other intestinal worms that could be a cause of intestinal problems. For those you would need to treat with something like Panacur(fenbendazole). Even with a negative fecal test, there's still the possibility for there to be a problem, as they don't always show up in the fecals.

I just find it extremely unusual for a rabbit to have such severe digestive problems that they even react to grass hay. It will usually mean there is some other underlying problem causing the sensitivity. If your rabbit is reacting to hay, then I doubt there are any other foods that would help with weight gain, that your rabbit wouldn't also react to. Grass hay is usually the most easily tolerated food for rabbits, and is actually the best food to help sort out digestive issues with them. So just the fact that your rabbit also is reacting to hay, I think figuring out why these food sensitivities are occurring is essential. What symptoms is she having that makes you think she is still having gas issues?
 

BerryMochi

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Toltrazuril is used to treat the coccidia protozoal parasite. It's not a treatment for pinworms or other intestinal worms that could be a cause of intestinal problems. For those you would need to treat with something like Panacur(fenbendazole). Even with a negative fecal test, there's still the possibility for there to be a problem, as they don't always show up in the fecals.

I just find it extremely unusual for a rabbit to have such severe digestive problems that they even react to grass hay. It will usually mean there is some other underlying problem causing the sensitivity. If your rabbit is reacting to hay, then I doubt there are any other foods that would help with weight gain, that your rabbit wouldn't also react to. Grass hay is usually the most easily tolerated food for rabbits, and is actually the best food to help sort out digestive issues with them. So just the fact that your rabbit also is reacting to hay, I think figuring out why these food sensitivities are occurring is essential. What symptoms is she having that makes you think she is still having gas issues?
I'm going to talk to the other vet and see what he says. Hopefully I can set up an appointment this week. I want to get as many tests done as possible to figure out what's wrong with her. The current vet briefly mentioned a possibility of a stomach ulcer.

As for symptoms, her stomach makes loud gurgling noises, she stops pooping and doesn't really want to eat a lot and she presses her stomach to the ground, the last one happens if there's a lot of it. I can also feel the gas when I rub her belly. She usually gets better with simethicone, belly massage and a lot of meadow hay. I'm very confused because no vet has been able to help me figure out what's wrong with her. The only thing is no x ray has been taken yet because I was told she'd need to get sedated and rabbits are bad with anesthetics so they die a lot. The vet offered to give her antibiotics but I can't say I trust them with anything after hearing that.

I think I'll just keep her on meadow hay and monitor her weight for now. Don't want to risk alfalfa with the cloudy urine unless she starts to lose weight again. She seems ok, she's a super lively bun, she's doing binkies and she flops all over the place. She also likes to climb up and sit on people's shoulders like a parrot it's so cute 😭
 

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