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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