About Us!

Welcome to our page! We do our best to provide to-be and current bunny owners up-to-date info on the best care for their house rabbits. When we adopted our first bunny in 2005, there was almost nothing on the internet to tell us how to care for him. Just in the past few years, information has exploded online, and now it can be confusing! We try to simplify it by posting weekly articles on current issues, daily care, concerns, proper feeding, and other info so you can enjoy your house-bun! If you are just finding us, feel free to look through the older posts also. Please email us if you have any questions! Happy bunnies make happy hearts!
Email: thebunnyhut101@yahoo.com

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

GI Stasis & Your Bunny

One very serious, fairly common health issue pet rabbits face is gastrointestinal stasis. GI (or gut) stasis is a potentially deadly condition in which the digestive system slows down or stops completely. Bad bacteria then builds up in the intestines and releases gas into the system, causing very painful bloating and further decreasing a rabbit's motivation to eat or drink. This compounds the problem because the rabbit will become more dehydrated and starved of essential nutrients and roughage. The contents of the digestive tract will become more compact, and the rabbit will have an even more difficult time passing it through. The bacteria can also release toxins into the system which overtax the liver and can cause the organ to ultimately fail.

Causes of GI Stasis

The slowdown of the digestive system can be caused by:

*A high starch, low fiber diet
*Stress (from losing a bonded mate, a change in environment, etc.)
*Pain from underlying issues (dental problems like molar spurs,        urinary tract infections, gas)
*Lack of exercise


Signs of GI Stasis

What To Do


 If your rabbit is demonstrating any of these symptoms of GI stasis, bring him/her to a rabbit-savvy vet immediately:

*Small and/or malformed fecal pellets
*No fecal pellets   
*Loss of appetite
*Lethargy / hunched posture


Treatment of GI Stasis

When you bring your rabbit to the vet, he/she will try to determine the cause of the slowdown. If there is an underlying condition, it is imperative to address it. The vet may take x-rays to assess the blockage and the presence of gas. If the vet has determined that the best course of treatment is to stimulate motility in the gut, he/she may administer the following:
*Motility drugs (like cisapride) which help stimulate movement in the digestive system

*IV fluids which help soften the mass in the intestines
*Pain medication to alleviate discomfort due to gas buildup
*Syringe feeding of Critical Care to ensure the rabbit continues to get essential nutrients
*Antibiotics to combat the overgrowth of harmful bacteria (used with caution because antibiotics can also    disrupt the presence of good, essential bacteria in the digestive system)

It is also important to provide plenty of fresh hay and greens for the rabbit should he/she get the urge to eat. Providing particularly fragrant greens, like cilantro, may help entice a rabbit who is not overly eager to eat.

With these treatments, time, and patience, a rabbit suffering from GI stasis can make a full recovery. But it is important to recognize the symptoms early and take your rabbit to a rabbit-savvy vet immediately for these treatments.


How to Prevent GI Stasis

There are several measures you can take to help prevent the occurrence of GI stasis. First, ensure your rabbit is getting a proper, hay-based diet. Consult our article What to Feed Your House Rabbit for a full list of appropriate foods. A hay-based diet is essential not only because it provides the fiber necessary to keep the digestive system moving, it also helps wear down a rabbit's teeth which paves the way for better dental health.

Another way to prevent this condition is to bring your rabbit in for regular veterinary checkups. After examining your rabbit, a vet may may be able to detect underlying health issues that your rabbit has so far successfully hidden from you, such as infections or dental problems.

Third, evaluate your rabbit's living space. Rabbits need plenty of room to exercise in a bunny-proofed or supervised area. They do best when they are included in family life, but they are prone to high stress levels when there are major changes to their environment and routine, such as the loss of a bonded partner or an influx of household visitors. So do your best to create a happy, healthy environment for your bunny.

Please see out other articles on rabbit dental care and building the proper sized area for your bunny: