Do Not Forcefeed Rabbits Blindly
The logical next step seems to be: If the rabbits is not eating, force feed it.
PAINKILLERS such as liquid MELOXICAM are very important.
- Critical Care by Oxbow and other suspension-type feeds are very good products. However, they should not be used wrongly.
- When rabbits are having gut obstructions, they can have a lump of fur stuck in their stomach or something like that.
- A real obstruction needs emergency surgery by a trained vet.
- If you force things into a rabbit with a gut obstruction, you are making the internal traffic jam worse. You may kill your rabbit more quickly.
- When an x-ray has been taken and the stomach is shown to be clear of blockage.
- If you have no x-ray facilities or your vet is underequipped for it, at least check that the rabbit’s stomach is soft and ‘doughy’ to know that it is not likely to be too tight or obstructed.
- If the rabbit is still passing poop, you know that the gut is not blocked. You can feed a watery mix of Oxbow Critical Care in a syringe.
- Feed Baby Gas Drops (Simethicone) 1ml per hour for 3 hours. This is safe for rabbits as it is not absorbed. It helps to purge gas bubbles for the rabbit.
2. Feed warm water by syringe 1 – 3 ml per hour for 2 – 3 hours, repeat every few hours but be careful not to overly stress your rabbit.
- Take blood and do a blood test to check hydration
- Take x-ray and check the gut for gas / obstruction
- Emergency Surgery if needed for obstruction or liver lobe torsion – your vets may not be trained for this…
- Common medications for gut stasis alone:
– Painkillers (Meloxicam)
– Medication to speed up gut movement (Metoclopramide or Cisapride) – NOT TO BE GIVEN IF THERE IS A BLOCKAGE
– Gut protectant (Ranitidine)
Simethicone liquid for gas
- Oxbow Critical Care to mix into slurry for syringe feeding. This is high fibre which is important. You can’t just use any mushy foods. If not available can blend oxbow pellets with water in a pinch.
- Probiotics – Benebac / Fiberplex – feed a few hours after antibiotics fed if any to avoid mixing.
- If gut bacteria disturbance suspected, it is possible to consider feeding a course of antibiotics: Enrofloxacin (Baytril) or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. NO OTHER ANTIBIOTICS BY MOUTH FOR RABBITS.
- Encourage timothy hay eating at home. No sugary treats or fruits. Wet basic vegetables like choy sum may be fed for hydration if the rabbit is not drinking much.
“A gut motility drug such as cisapride (Propulsid) or metoclopramide (Reglan) can be given to get your rabbit’s GI tract working again only if there is no blockage. The dosage is 0.1cc per pound of body weight.You may also use ranitidine (Zantac), an over-the-counter drug, as a pro-kinetic in an emergency at a dosage of 2-5 mg/kg orally. It also has anti-ulcerative qualities and useful in stressed rabbits.”
What if GI Stasis is not treated?
The rabbit will accumulate fat in the liver, (hepatic lipidosis), the liver and kidneys fail and the rabbit dies.
GI Stasis vs. Bloat in Rabbits | Save Your Bunny’s Life!