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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 16253
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My rabbit isn't herself, not eating

Customer Question

My rabbit isn't herself, not eating
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long has she been off food?

Is she drinking? Passing stool?

Any drooling, grinding of her teeth, or belly discomfort?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Hi she has been slowly withdrawing from her food for just over a week or so, I thought she was just being fussy so I gave her kale instead of her usual spinach and she ate the lot but the next time I gave her it she wasn't interested. Same with her pellets, she won't eat them .. Even chew stick treats, she will eat a bit then not interested. There is urine and normal stools in her hutch.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Thank you,

Now I must say that I am very worried about Bugsy.

The reason is because any appetite loss is a very serious problem in rabbit medicine. This is because rabbits have a more complicated gastrointestinal tract then other domestic pets (similar to horses, actually) and if you imagine these guts behave like conveyor belts. They should always be moving, which is why access to slowly digestible foods like hays are fed ad lib. Yet when a rabbit starts goes off their food, for whatever reason (ie dental disease --a major concern for her with this gradual fussiness --, GI blockages, tumors, etc), this can cause their gut to slow or stop, which can lead to gastric stasis, a situation which it is one of the few true rabbit emergencies. So, if she cannot be tempted to eat properly, then it would be prudent to have her seen by the vet before this can progress any further.

Whatever the precipitating cause, this situation is serious so I would advise getting her seen as soon as possible. The vet will able to provide medications to restart the gut ((ie prokinetics, pain relief, +/- fluids, antibiotics).They will also be able to check her teeth, since her gradual decline is very characteristic for molar overgrowth. Care for these wee ones is often intensive, and she will likely need to be force fed a highly nutritious rabbit food (Oxbow’s Critical Care feed or Supreme Recovery diet) to restart her GI’s normal movement until she is eating on her own. Just to note, if there is any delay in your getting her seen, I would note that in the short term, you can consider syringe feeding veggie baby food mixed with crushed pellets. This isn't as nutritionally balanced (or provide enough fiber) but it is a short-term means of getting food and some fluids into her in this moment of urgency.

Overall, when a rabbit goes off her food, this is a serious emergency. Therefore, we do need to act quickly to get her eating properly and prevent the development of GI stasis. So, in this case it would be ideal to get her vet involved immediately while providing supportive care until she is seen. If you don’t already have a rabbit vet, and wish to find one near you, by checking @ http://rabbit.org/vet-listings/ or via the RCVS register @ http://findavet.rcvs.org.uk/find-a-vet/

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 4 months ago.

Hello again,

How is everything going with your wee one?

Dr. B.

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