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Forum DIET & CARE Dehydration and Meloxicam, Senior Bunny

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    • RnB
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        My 9 yr male neutered senior lionhead, Rory, was recently put on Enrofloxacin and Meloxicam for what could be sore hocks on his front left paw. The first night on it he was lively, playing and hopping around, the next day he barely moved, ate, and his droppings got very tiny.

        As per vet instruction, i stopped the enrofloxacin since it is an appetite suppressant and now he is munching hay more often but not like normal. I chose to continue the meloxicam in case stopping it and him feeling pain could make him even less likely to move/eat. I gave him critical care a few times as vet instructed, but since stopping the enrofloxacin he is adamantly refusing it and clearly VERY stressed by the process, which I’m hoping is a good sign since he is munching on his own again.

        However, his droppings are still very tiny (0.5cm), hard and light/pale brown but he is passing them often enough that there’s about 200-300 within 24 hours still.

        I am worried about dehydration, he usually drinks enough water that I notice in the morning and in the evening to change and refill his bowl. Since the medications, I added another water bowl and i see him drink a few times but the water level doesn’t significantly change like it used to. His nose is dry, but his breathing isn’t fast. He is lying around a lot, but it could be the meloxicam making him sleepy.

        My vet doesn’t open until tomorrow when I will give them a call, and my emergency hospital doesn’t have rabbit savvy vets working today.

        Do other people have experience with senior bunnys and meloxicam when it comes to dehydration, lethargy/sleepiness or tiny, pale, hard droppings? An advice on re-hydrating a bun?


      • LBJ10
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          Eating less and drinking less will lead to smaller poops. If your bunny isn’t eating very much hay, it’s going to show. I don’t remember any of my bunnies really being lethargic from meloxicam. It would actually perk them up. But they liked whatever the vet flavored it with, so no stress was involved in that (unlike the antibiotics… boy, they did not like those). Does your bunny get any fresh greens? Could you serve them really wet? Otherwise, you could always try syringing some water into his mouth.


        • Bam
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            I do remember that meloxicam made a few of my buns sleepy, but that was typically just the first few days of treatment, around half an hour/an hour after giving it. Its not supposed to have a sedative effect, it’s very similar to how ibuprofen works for humans.

            As LBJ says, eating less will mean the bun drinks less, and the poops will become smaller and fewer. It can take a while for the poop to normalize.


          • RnB
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              He’s munched on little pieces of wet celery, I syringed him water im happy that worked too, his droppings have gotten a little bit bigger and a better brown so thats great to see

              He is still lying down most of the time and showing signs of discomfort and pain despite being on Meloxicam which worries me… do some bunnies have a bad response or complications to Meloxicam or Enrofloxacin? They seem to be go-to safe drugs for bunnies from what I’ve tried finding online

              Im hoping his state is just because his gut slowed down with his lack of appetite on the antibiotic and he can get back to feeling okay


            • LBJ10
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                I’m glad to hear you have found some solutions to the lack of drinking. Hopefully that will help a bit. If you don’t mind us asking, what dosage is he getting of meloxicam?


              • RnB
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                  Yes thank you LBJ10 and Bam for the suggestions! He’s improving a little more!

                  Last friday he was prescribed a bottle of “Apo-Meloxicam Suspension 1.5 mg/ml ” with a dose of 1.2 mL every 12 hours for the first day (10:30am and 10:30pm friday) then decrease to 0.6 mL every 12 hours for 6 days. This is his fourth day.

                  He’s underweight right now at 1.76 kilograms


                • Bam
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                    You calculate the dose by the strenght in mg per ml times the amount in ml and divide by the buns weight in kilos. You have “dog strenght” meloxicam, which is the appropriate strenght for a rabbit. Rabbits need a lot more meloxicam than dogs and cats. My 2 kilo bun was prescribed meloxicam for a 10 kilo dog when he was poorly, and that was quite correct! (Some brands of meloxicam only comes with a syringe that’s graded in kilo dog weight, which is somewhat annoying unless you’re actually medicating a dog).

                    1.2 ml x 1.5 mg/ml = 1.8 mg. Since your bun weighs almost 1.8 lg it’s 1 mg per kilo body weight twice per day as a starter dose, then 0.5 mg/kilo twice per day for maintenance. It’s not a very high dose but its not low.

                    https://www.veterinary-practice.com/article/meloxicam-as-analgesic-for-rabbits

                    For long term meloxicam use (as a rule when a bun has chronic age related arthrosis-type pain and needs to be on meloxicam for life), many vets will also prescribe Pepcid (famotidine) to protect the stomach lining.

                    How are the sore hocks doing?


                  • RnB
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                      Thank you so much for that info, thats very reassuring to know your 2 kilo bun’s dose in comparison too, I’m glad its a reasonable dose my vet gave! This is a new vet I haven’t seen before so that was a fear in the back of my mind even though she’s a rabbit savvy professional mistakes can happen

                      I noticed 2 hours before his next dose he seemed okay again, so I stopped giving it and he’s back to normal, no more signs of discomfort or pain, usual sleep/nap routine and his droppings are getting much better too!

                      I have a follow up appointment scheduled for this Friday, I’ll ask the vet if maybe his reaction is a sign of an underlying health condition, if the antibiotic caused a complication or he’s just a special bun that meloxicam doesn’t agree with

                      For his sore hocks, he isn’t limping or hopping weird but he sometimes tucks only his left paw in when he sits in bunny loaf, he’s been licking it a little more again too. I’m going to give it a look tonight when I have help to see if the redness and inflammation has gone down at least!


                    • RnB
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                        I couldn’t get a picture but his sore spot looks mostly pink now, the lower part of it still looks red but its an improvement!


                      • LBJ10
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                          That’s good! I’m glad it’s looking better.


                        • RnB
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                            Last update!

                            The vet thinks dehydration plus a possible ulcer made the antibiotic and meloxicam too harsh on his GI System. She gave him subcutaneous fluids to rehydrate his GI System and prescribed him Sulcrate for 1 week and so far he’s recovering great 🙂

                            Vet said the “crusting” on his front paw has cleared up but he might have arthritis in his front legs, so if he goes on meloxicam again I’ll make sure to mention Pepcid (famotidine) to protect his stomach lining!

                            Thank you LBJ10 and Bam!!


                          • Bam
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                              I’m glad you seem to have figured it out! Sucralfate is a very good drug if he has an ulcer or the beginning of an ulcer.

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                          Forum DIET & CARE Dehydration and Meloxicam, Senior Bunny