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Early treatment of GI stasis in a rabbit

May 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Rabbits

You are your rabbit’s best advocate. You know best what her eating habits area, how active she normally is, and what her poops normally look like. So when you notice any changes, you owe it to your bunny to talk to a veterinarian about the changes you’ve seen. It may be nothing, but it may be a sign that she’s developing a more serious problem.

For example, we recently saw a remarkably handsome black-and-white rex rabbit whose owner was concerned about a decreased appetite and poops that were smaller than normal. He seemed lethargic, too. Fortunately, she was a very knowledgeable and attentive owner who had helped him through a bout of GI stasis in the past, so she knew what signs to watch for. Her prompt attention is undoubtedly what helped her bunny’s fast recovery.

In an effort to be as proactive as possible, we xrayed his abdomen to check for signs of ileus, or GI stasis. Ileus is the technical term for a GI tract that has slowed down or stopped moving. Rabbits rely so much on eating all the time,  and they need to have regular digestion to stay healthy. I had a professor in vet school who jokingly referred to rabbits as “cecums wrapped in fur” (the cecum is one of their major digestive organs), because their digestive system is just that important.

When his xrays turned out to be normal, we started him on a course of metoclopramide (a pro-motility drug–helps “keep things moving”), Probiocin (a probiotic in paste form, which rabbits like), and we gave him fluids subcutaneously (SC).  The fluids are very important because even mild dehydration can quickly affect a rabbit’s GI tract.

Another important part of his treatment included syringe feeding him Oxbow Critical Care until he was eating normally on his own. Critical Care is an easy-to-prepare liquid diet which is easy for rabbits to digest and provides high-quality nutrition. If you need help syringe feeding your rabbit, check out this video.

Thankfully, the bunny in this article responded really well to treatment and is back to normal!

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