- Decreased poop or loose poop (not diarrhea – true diarrhea is an emergency). Liquid or mushy cecotropes can result from an imbalance of the normal bacterial and fungal flora of the cecum. You may or may not see mucus around the feces from inflammation.
- Eating less or refusing a favorite food.
- Signs of pain or discomfort (hunched posture, teeth grinding, behavior changes) – more information here. Rabbits hide pain well due to being a prey animal, so once signs are seen you are in trouble and need to act quickly.
GI stasis is always a result of a cause. It is important to determine what caused it.
- Diet too low in crude fiber and/or too high in sugar/carbohydrates
- Intestinal blockage
- Dental/teeth issues
- Abdominal massage. Gentle abdominal massage is one of the most effective ways to stimulate a lazy gut and help relieve gas. Video showing how to do this this: HERE.
- Simethicone 20 mg/mL (baby gas drops), dye and flavor free, may acutely help relieve gas pain. Give 1-2 mL every hour for 3 doses, then give 1 mL every 3-8 hours. Simethicone is safe to give, even as a precaution.
- Monitor temperature carefully with a rectal thermometer (normal temp. 101-103°F). A temp under 100°F is an extreme emergency. Get your rabbit to a rabbit-savvy vet immediately, taking a warm water bottle wrapped in a towel with your rabbit. See more information HERE.
- Fluids are very important to hydrate a potentially hard mass that has formed and stuck. ***Avoid any fluids with sugar.*** Water is ideal, but unflavored Pedialyte made for children may also be used.
- Force feeding with watered down Critical Care to encourage eating. If you don’t have any, soften pellets with warm water (not too hot or it will destroy nutrients). Give 1-2 cc at a time in the cheek, allowing to chew and swallow. Aspiration is life threatening. If there is a blockage, force feeding can cause worsening and death. Continue providing unlimited Timothy hay
- Fresh, wet, leafy herbs. Entice your rabbit to eat with fragrant herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint, basil, dill, etc.). The water content and fiber will help.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus has been known to help. Only use non-dairy powder; no yogurt.
- Rabbit-savvy vet. Rule out blockage with an x-ray. Subcutaneous fluids. Pain medications. Motility medications. Appetite stimulant medications.
- See more HERE.
PREVENTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT
1. Kremples, D. (2013, February 10). Gastrointestinal Stasis: The Silent Killer. House Rabbit Society. https://rabbit.org/2013/02/gastrointestinal-stasis-the-silent-killer/.
2. Richardson, D. (2016, September 2). The veterinary nurse’s role in recognition and management of pain in rabbits. UK Vet: The Veterinary Nurse. https://www.theveterinarynurse.com/review/article/the-veterinary-nurse-s-role-in-recognition-and-management-of-pain-in-rabbits.