‘Eh, what’s up Doc?’ Many of you may remember a certain rabbit named Bugs Bunny uttering those words growing up, but now it’s time for owners of pet rabbits to be saying them to Dr. Sokoloff, our newest doctor on staff at Pet Emergency Center, who has completed her residency with exotics.
Rabbits, just like dogs and cats, can suffer from illnesses that warrant a trip to the veterinarian. One rather serious illness in particular that rabbits can get is called gastrointestinal stasis, and it is absolutely life threatening.
Gastrointestinal stasis or GI stasis occurs when the digestive system slows down, or completely stops altogether. When this happens, the ‘bad’ types of bacteria then start to take over the intestines, causing painful bloating. This bloating further decreases the rabbits desire to eat or drink, thus leading to: dehydration, being starved of essential nutrients and roughage, further compaction of the contents in the GI tract, and toxins being released via the bacteria throughout its system.
Signs that your rabbit may be suffering from a gastrointestinal stasis include:
If you notice that your pet rabbit has been acting off, or exhibiting any of these symptoms – time really is of the essence. This GI condition is treatable, but has a far greater outcome if it’s caught early on.
Motility drugs, IV fluids, pain control and syringe feeding (coupled with basic supportive care) are usually required for cases such as these.
Since rabbits are prey animals, it’s always good to know that instinctually they are rather good at hiding their illnesses…