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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22468
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My pet rabbit is of is food he usually runs around when hes

Customer Question

my pet rabbit is of is food he usually runs around when hes let out but he is justsitting in a corner
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

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

How long has Willo been off his food?

Does he seem hunched up or tense in his stomach?

Is he still passing feces? Does it look normal for him?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

hes passing feces off food 2days no hes not hun ched up

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you, Peter.

This is very troubling news about Willo and is a very serious situation. When a rabbit goes off their food, for whatever reason, 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 he has been off his food 2 days already, then it would be prudent for him to be seen by his vet before this can progress any further.

Just to note, some of the other signs we can see with gastric stasis:

  • Decreasing or sudden lack of appetite for food +/- water)
  • Changes to fecal production (from soft stools, to strangely shaped fecal pellets to diarrhoea or no fecal production at all)
  • Off color/lethargy/ hiding
  • No GI sounds or loud uncharacteristic grumbles/growl

Now in regards ***** ***** "why" he is lethargic, showing a loss of appetite can be a little trickier. There are of course a range of primary issues we must consider, and this is something that a full physical exam by your vet will be able to shed light upon. The vet will be able to listen to his guts, check him temperature, and have a general evaluation of what underlying trigger might be ailing him.

Depending on the vet's findings, they can address the underlying trigger and initiate treatment. To keep the guts moving and get them back on track, often these cases need pain relief, pro-motility drugs, +/- antibiotics. If his signs are severe, he may need to be hospitalized. Or if you are able to provide diligent supportive care at home, they may advise you on how to syringe feed him.

Typically, anorexic rabbits need to be hand or syringe fed (usually hourly) to continue nutrition input to meet their body's requirement and keep his guts moving to prevent/address stasis. To support him, it is worth getting a vet to dispense a critical care feeds that you can syringe feed the bunny. A very good product for this is Oxbow’s Critical Care feed or Supreme Recovery diet and most vets will be able to provide this to you. This is a highly nutritious herbivore feed that can be easily made into a slurry for syringe feeding. And it is much easier to use then trying to create a balanced critical care diet at home.

Now be warned that if you do undertake syringe feeding him, then this can be a challenge (we all end up with rabbit food on us when we are syringe feeding rabbits). To administer it in as stress free means as possible, I would advise having a peek of this guide (HERE) since a video is worth at least a thousand words. If he is quite resistant to being fed, then do watch the end of the video for 'towel wrapping' him to keep him snug and secure while you are feeding him.

In regards ***** ***** if he is severely dehydrated then the vet might give sterile fluids under his skin. Otherwise, you can try tempting him with pedialyte (fruity flavors are best tolerated) or diluted Gatorade (50% diluted with water). These will help replenish electrolytes and get some glucose into his system. If he isn't keen on it, you can give pedialyte via dropper of syringe. A typical dose for animals is 4.8mls per 100 grams of body weight per day (obviously divided over all day drinking). This is his maintenance rate and it is a good starting place for supporting him against dehydration.

Overall, anorexia is a very serious situation for a rabbit and this shouldn't be ignored. I would advise that he should see his vet immediately. They will be able to treat him for this and advise you on how to administer critical care diet and nurse him through this situation. Overall, prompt treatment and supportive care are the best things we can do to get this under control and give this little one the best chance of recovery and getting back to himself.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


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