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Digestive Issues

A Rabbits digestive system is very complex; in fact its very similar to that of a horse. It's very important for their system to be constantly moving, if it slows or stops this could sadly mean a fatal end for the rabbit. That's where fibre comes in, they need to have have a lot of fibre in their diet to keep everything moving as it should and to help their guts stay healthy. They MUST have a constant source of hay available to them. In the wild rabbits will spend around 50% of their time grazing on grass, this will make up almost their entire diet. 

 

There are a number of reasons which can cause their digestion process to stop or slow down including stress, sudden change in diet, pain - causing their appetite to diminish, parasites and blockages. 

Once this happens the food already eaten can start to ferment, causing a build up of gas which in turn puts pressure on their organs and causes pain. Rabbits cannot vomit and so eaten food needs to be passed through. You may have heard this called GI Stasis. This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to research into what a correct diet looks like for rabbits. 

Common symptoms

No interest in food

Eyes dull and/or partially closed signalling pain

Lethargy 

Sat in a hunched position

Bloated/hard tummy

Loud teeth clicking signalling pain

Hiding away - out of character

Lets talk poop!

Although not the most popular conversation topic, rabbit stools can actually tell you a lot about their health. Keeping an eye on shape, consistency and frequency is quite an important part of being a bunny carer.

A normal stool is round, a good size and crumbles easily with lots of fibre particles present. Colour can be anything from golden brown to black. The darker the stool just means they have had more fresh food in their diet. Anything different could mean that they need a change in diet or need to see the vet! 

Cecotropes

Rabbits have a second type of stool, called cecotropes which are also normal but these are rarely seen as they are eaten by the rabbit to extract the most nutrition from what they've eaten. These are often described as looking like a bunch of grapes, have a shiny appearance, are softer and stickier and are similar in consistency to 

If these are not eaten its easy to misinterpret this as diarrhoea once they have been trodden on. Cecotropes are usually thicker and dry out quickly where as diarrhoea is more liquid and has no substance. If these are being left for you to find frequently it may be that your rabbit has an unbalanced diet and/or too much sugar. Too many nuggets can also lead to excess cecotropes not being eaten. An eggcup full of nuggets can be given alongside unlimited amounts of hay; please do not fill your rabbits bowl to the top with nuggets, its far too much and they then wont eat as much hay as they need to. 

Sticky bums

Diarrhoea 

Coccidiosis 

Blockages?

Diet change

not eating

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