Saturday, 16 June 2018

Rabbit 101 - Gut Stasis

What is gut stasis?
Gut stasis is a deadly condition which can cause a rabbit not to want to eat or drink, it is where the bunnies digestive system slows down or completely stops. Bad bacteria then builds up into their intestines and releases gasses into their system which can cause very painful bloating.

What are the signs of gut stasis?
Gut stasis usually shows itself by your rabbit not wanting to eat or drink anything, not wanting to do much and generally not themselves, sat hunched up and their poop will likely be very small or nonexistent.

Why do rabbits get gut stasis?
Gut stasis can caused by a number of things, a bunny in pain often gets gut stasis, if a bunny gets spooked that can cause them to go into stasis, bunnies with bad teeth, a stressed bunny, even lack of exercise can cause it. Every bunny can get stasis, for a number of reasons, it is just important that you spot it before it gets worse or before it is too late.

What should I do if I suspect my rabbit has gut stasis?
If you suspect your rabbit has gut stasis, you should contact a vet immediately, rabbits go down hill very quickly and need urgent veterinary care. Your vet is likely to administer pain relief and inject them with a gut stimulant, to get the gut moving again and get them poop. They may also give some antibiotics to help combat the overgrowth of any bad bacteria.
They will sometimes send you home with more medication usually pain relief and sometimes more gut stimulant to administer later on or the next day. It is good to also offer Critical care to encourage them to eat more and to get food and nutrients into them. Critical care is a powdered mix that you mix with water to a consistency where it is able to be put through a syringe and syringe fed orally to your rabbit. Depending on the vet and the severity of the problem, they may want to do some x-rays to check their is no blockages before treating and sometimes also like to keep them in on an IV drip to get them hydrated and to soften the the mass in the intestines. 
Once you are home you can offer them lots of fresh water, hay and greens to encourage them to eat. If you usually offer a bottle then it is good to put out a bowl of water too, to encourage them to drink.
After treatment your rabbit should start to perk up and begin to eat, if your rabbit doesn't show any sign of improvement or gets worse it is important to re-contact the rabbit savvy vet for immediate action. With the correct care and time, your rabbit can make a full recovery.

How do you prevent gut stasis?
Ensuring your rabbit has a good diet will help prevent gut stasis occurring, it should be mostly a diet of good quality hay, this is to help with their digestive system, provides them with a large amount of fibre and also keeps their teeth ground down and healthy. You can see a good diet in our Rabbit 101 - Diet post.
Reducing the amount of stress and noise around your rabbit can help keep gut stasis a bay, also giving them enough space and enrichment will keep them active and help.
Regular vet check ups can help keep your bunny healthy and can help check to see if there is any underlying issues with your rabbit or their teeth which can help keep your bunny healthy.

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