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The subject of intentional breeding or meat rabbits is prohibited. The answers provided on this board are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet.  It is your responsibility to assess the information being given and seek professional advice/second opinion from your veterinarian and/or qualified behaviorist.

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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A How can I get my buddy to eat his hay?

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    • GrumpyBunny
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      Hey all, I’ve got a 1 year old male harlequin free roaming house bunny called Binny, he’s super sweet (to humans, lol.)  He’s been neutered, we got him as a companion female for our 1 year old big lop eared fella, but when we discovered she was a he when we took him to get spayed. They don’t get along at all, so we keep the big guy back in the bedrooms area and Binny free roams the living area/kitchen/dining room.

      About 2 weeks ago I finished putting chicken wire around the back deck, as well as blocking off any possible exits from the backyard, and we began letting Binny outside for 5-20 min trips, 2 or 3 times a day. We live in Central Oregon, and our backyard has a chain link fence as the long side, on the other side is a patch of desert with a farmers field and house beyond that. We have seen wild rabbits in the back yard, they’re so small they can squeeze thru the chain link. I had heard about the rabbit fever, but I didn’t realize it was around here until we went to the vet. We’ve stopped letting him out for now until we can get him vaccinated.

      I wanted to include that in case it could be useful in some way, but I don’t think the rabbit virus is the problem here.

      last Monday, we began to notice that Binny was shaking his head and letting an ear droop, enough to notice, but nothing extreme. The next day this became more frequent and he just looked like he didn’t feel well at all. We called the vet and they were able to get us in for an appt on Wednesday afternoon.

      After the exam the vet told us we’d been feeding him too many fruits, as well as giving him some alfalfa hay, which is a no no. We knew this but we didn’t know how critical it was to not do it. Lessons learned. The vet prescribed a NSAID pain reliever, a stronger pain killer, some stuff for his gut, which he said was on the way to being in stasis, but still showed signs of motility. Along with a bag of critical care powder. He was going to give a probiotic but they didn’t have it on hand.

      Since we brought him home we’ve been giving the medications, but we had an impossible time trying to get the critical care into him. The feeding syringe end was so small the goo wouldnt go in our out of it, so we cut it shorter and then it was too short to get past his tongue, we did our best for a few days, but the amount he took in was minimal.

      Throughout all this, I’ve only seen him eat a couple tiny bits of his timothy hay (we have oxbow as well as some local bales from over a year ago) He’s always been really picky about hay, usually only liking when we give him a new kind, then he tires of it.  He occasionally eats some, but mostly just when he’s in his potty box.

      He has been eating a small amount of his high fiber pellets, as well as the fresh greens we give him.

      Yesterday, he ran over to where I was sitting and I started petting him and smelled something, a few seconds later he scampered off and there was like 1 poop worth of diarrhea where he was. I decided to take a couple inches of tubing and put it on the end of the feeder syringe, making it easier to get the ciritical care past his tongue. It’s awful for him, and us doing that, but he finally started pooping again overnight, and this afternoon they’re getting bigger and more frequent which is great. But he still won’t eat hay to any substantial degree. We’ve just been continuing to give him fresh greens, and more often just to keep him eating. When we don’t give him greens, he just doesn’t eat.

      Does anyone have suggestions on what I can do to entice my little friend to eat his hay? Is he so spoiled that he’ll just let himself starve into stasis? I don’t understand lol.

      Thanks in advance for any ideas.


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
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      Did the vet check for an ear infection or discuss the possibility of E cuniculi? The symptoms with his ear sound like there is probably something else going on that triggered the stasis.

      Since he is recovering, for now it’s OK to keep offering lots of greens and basically whatever he’ll eat (aside from fruits!) just to make sure his gut keeps moving. The fact that he will eat some hay while in his litter box is good. I would keep offering hay in as many places as you can (even offering handfuls to him). Refreshing small amounts of hay regularly can also encourage hay eating.

      How many pellets does he get per day? Has his hay consumption always been low, or did it go along with his illness?

      . . . The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.  


    • GrumpyBunny
      Participant
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      The vet did check for ear infection, but didn’t discuss E cuniculi. My assumption when I took him in was an ear infection or possibly cheat grass had gotten into his ear, but the ears were clear. His hay consumption has always been fairly low, we’re always buying new hay types to try to get him to eat it. I have been offering him small handfuls of the oxbow hay at his various resting spots but so far ive only seen him eat it in the potty since the vet visit. And he was getting 1/3 cup pellets per day. I’ll be cutting that back to 1/8th cup once he gets his appetite back but for now hes only been eating maybe 1/8th cup a day even tho its got plenty in it.

      Thanks for the reply 🙂

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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A How can I get my buddy to eat his hay?