Gut Stasis In Rabbits

Gut stasis is a commonly occurring problem. It is when your rabbit’s gut motility slows down. Appetite, food intake and gut motility all depend on each other. If your rabbit loses their appetite and stops eating, then this will cause hypomotility (lack of gut movement). In turn hypomotility will also cause anorexia (lack of appetite for food).

Causes

  • Lack of dietary fibre
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Gut flora changes especially after antibiotic treatments
  • Stress
  • Pain including dental,urinary or arthritis
  • Surgery
  • Foreign bodies

Clinical signs

  • Reduction in appetite
  • Reduction in output and size of faecal pellets, eventually stopping completely
  • Excessive chewing of paper or cardboard in an attempt to obtain fibre
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration eventually leading to death

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is usually made following a complete clinical examination by your veterinary surgeon. The rabbit may have lost weight due to anorexia and may have a swollen abdomen. Sometimes an X-Ray is required to confirm and also check that there is not an actual blockage which would require emergency surgery.

Treatment

Immediate veterinary treatment is required to prevent the condition being fatal. The underlying cause should be corrected and pain relief administered. Oral or intravenous fluids are required depending on the severity. This is to correct the dehydration and supportive feeding usually by syringe, using a high fibre critical care diet should be started. Probiotics and gut supportive medication will also be beneficial.

Recovery can be slow depending on each individual case and your rabbit may be prone to recurrent problems depending on the underlying cause.