Bunny back from the brink
PUBLISHED: 17:58 25 April 2014 | UPDATED: 21:07 29 April 2014
Q- We recently lost a bunny, with another poorly. Advice from the Web is mostly directed at pets, often advising rushing bunny to the vet, not economically viable for a
meat rabbit on a marginal smallholding.
A - Rabbits have simple stomachs like ours, but their caecum (like our appendix) is large and involved in fermenting roughage (like a cow’s first stomach). Rabbits need roughage in the diet from sources such as hay.
Any changes in diet need to be gradual as it will affect the microbial flora in the caecum; if the gut cannot process a new food properly, gas will accumulate. Feeds which are rich and too easily passed through the stomach can also result in diarrhoea and/or gas accumulation. Any gas accumulation and alterations in gut motility can cause colic and become serious. If the gut is static (ileus) which is normally the case, a vet can prescribe Metaclopramide which will ‘kick start’ the gut. Laxatives are of questionable use as the issue is not normally faecal consistency – it’s about gut motility. Keeping your rabbit well hydrated with an electrolyte solution is of utmost importance. Massaging as you did may aid gas removal and is recommended.
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