Gut or gastrointestinal stasis in rabbits is a condition where peristaltic movement (constriction and relaxation) of the gut reduces or completely stops. Bad bacteria can then build up in the gut and this makes the suffering rabbit more reluctant to eat, making the condition worse. In addition, food and faecal matter harden in the gut and can cause an obstruction. This is a common condition but should always be treated as an emergency, as it can be life-threatening if left untreated.
- Pain e.g., due to dental spurs, tooth overgrowth or arthritis
- Stress from a change in environment or the loss of a partner, or even something like fireworks
- Long term use of antibiotics or the use of unsafe antibiotics
- Inappropriate diets- low fibre, high carbohydrate/fat diet
- Trapped gas (bloat)
- Reduced appetite/thirst
- Changes in behaviour – they can be quieter than usual, hunched, more accepting of being handled (if they are usually feisty!)
- Slightly larger belly, sign of bloating
- May grunt or grind teeth if in pain
- Pass faeces that are malformed, loose or no faeces at all
Diagnosis and treatment
The vet will give your rabbit a full examination and look for any signs of gut stasis. In some cases, the cause is unknown.
- Medications to promote the movement of your rabbit’s gut
- Fluids either injected under the skin or given as a drip into a vein, usually in the ear
- Pain relief to alleviate the discomfort caused by accumulation of gas
- Nutritional support via either a feeding tube into your bunny’s stomach or by encouraging them to eat their favourite foods
- Syringe feeding a recovery diet
Tips for prevention
- Provide your rabbit with a good quality hay/grass in the right amounts. This is high in fibre and will aid in keeping the gut moving.
- Take them to your vet for regular check ups
- Provide a stress free and enriched environment
Call us on 01435 864422 if you have any concerns about your rabbit’s health.