Gut stasis in Rabbits

By: Ellie Bates

We are a rabbit loving practice and often see cases of gut stasis.

Gut stasis is the slowing of movement of food through the intestines and as many rabbit owners know gut stasis can be life threatening and prompt treatment is required for a good outcome. This was the case for Lulu who
came to see us in February after not being herself overnight and not eating.

Common signs of gut stasis in rabbits.

1. Reduced or loss of appetite
2. Smaller droppings or no droppings at all
3. Hunched or bloated appearance
4. Lethargy
5. Grinding teeth or grunting

What can cause gut stasis and how do we treat it?

 

Gut stasis can be caused by a wide range of issues including dental disease, stress, blockage of the intestines or underlying conditions like kidney disease. Usually when examined, rabbits with gut stasis are quite painful and can have a low temperature.

Lulu presented to us with the classic signs of gut stasis so the decision was made to admit her for treatment. We found that Lulu had a high blood glucose reading. The blood glucose levels in rabbits with gut stasis can help us work out whether there is an intestinal blockage and the higher the reading the more guarded the prognosis for these cases. In Lulu’s case we felt the most likely cause of her guts stasis was a blockage of her intestines so we continued her work up with x-rays.

Gut stasis 1

This x-ray shows Lulu’s stomach is large and full of gas. The intestines do not have any gas in them which is concerning because the gas should pass through the intestinal system. Lulu was placed on intravenous fluid therapy – in rabbits we use a vein in their ear to give them fluids
safely.

 

Lulu was also given medication for pain relief and to help her guts start moving. The next two x-rays show how Lulu responded to treatment. We also monitored her blood glucose which started to reduce following treatment.

Gut stasis 2

Whilst she was with us our nursing team started syringe feeding Lulu because feeding can stimulate the guts to start moving. By the afternoon, Lulu had started to eat a small amount on her own

and seemed a lot brighter.

After more TLC at home overnight, Lulu was back to her normal self the next day.

Gut stasis 3

 

We loved looking after you Lulu and we’re glad she’s feeling better! At Bright Side Vets we are a silver Rabbit Friendly clinic, find out more about what that means here.

The main take home message from Lulu’s tale is that if you suspect your rabbit is eating less than normal or passing fewer faeces call us as soon as possible.

For more information you can message us on facebook anytime.

Gut stasis needs quick treatment to help your bunny!