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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Looking for a specific article about recurring stasis relating to coat pattern

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    • kanin
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      I remember seeing it posted somewhere around here last year. It was about how rabbits with broken stripes down their back and rings around their eyes have been known to be more susceptible to recurring GI stasis. It resonated with me because my first bunny with that pattern experienced it, and someone I know just lost their bunny to stasis after having frequent bouts and who also had the same pattern. In fact, he was basically my bunny’s twin.

      Anywho, I wanted to share the article with them because I found it to be comforting knowing that it likely wasn’t caused by something I was doing wrong, but rather their genetics.


    • Bam
      Moderator
      14909 posts Send Private Message

      It’s the English spot gene, known as the Charlie gene or the KIT gene, which is coupled to megacolon if the bun is homozygous for the allele (= has 2 copies of the same allele).  There are however many possible mutations on this gene that can cause various problems with the gut. I’ll see if we can find it for you!

      Its about the innervation of the intestines. It is seen in other mammals as well, notably mice.

      ETA: A forum search gave me this article, although in a thread from 2015:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3988019/

      I’ve asked the other moderators if they remember any other articles on this topic.


    • DanaNM
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      5236 posts Send Private Message

      This webpage has a ton of articles linked and is very detailed (although not organized that well). It has a section with research papers:

      https://vgr1.com/megacolon/

      If you have trouble accessing any papers, let me know. I have ways to access some through my institution.

      . . . 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.  


    • kanin
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      Thanks a bunch Bam. I actually haven’t read that article yet but your comment helped me find the one I saw, and then some! I really wish I’d’ve known about this gene when my boy was still alive. More vets need to know about it.

      This is the one I was thinking of

      https://vgr1.com/megacolon/


    • DanaNM
      Moderator
      5236 posts Send Private Message

      Looks like our wires crossed!

      And yes, it is still very unknown among vets. I had a foster suspected to have this, and it was rare even for my vet who has seen hundreds of rabbits per year for the last 20 years (he’s the rescue’s vet).

      . . . 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.  


    • kanin
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      Yes they did lol!

      I wonder if it’s possibly becoming more common? I myself have seen like… 5 different people who struggled with it over the past few years so it’s crazy to hear that it’s a rare thing for a vet to see. My vet was completely stumped after trying so hard to figure out why it was happening. I remember after my 37th or so visit (exaggerating ((maybe)) but still) hearing one of the vet techs asking them in a hushed tone if I was a bad owner and didn’t know how to take care of rabbits. Really rubbed salt in the wound as I was trying literally everything I could think of to keep him healthy to no avail. Every bout of stasis was the most stressful thing and I feel so awful for anyone and their bunnies that go through it.
      Needless to say I’m super hesitant to ever get a bunny with that coat pattern again. 😭


    • DanaNM
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      I’m not sure if it’s becoming more common or we just have a name for it now. I recall some older threads on this forum where some people recalled having bunnies with chronic tummy issues that were likely megacolon, but just never diagnosed. It’s tricky to tease apart, because rabbit medicine has advanced so much in recent years.

      My Bertha and currently Cooper have Charlie pattern, and they had/have seemingly amazing tummies (Cooper is still new, but his poops look perfect all the time). And heaps and heaps of bunnies with that pattern at the rescue, and only 1 in my memory (my foster) that had symptoms of this. He was more of a hotot pattern, which makes sense, because they think that the less pigmentation the bun has, the worse the innervation of the cecum (something about a connection between pigmentation and the nerves in development).

      So I guess I wouldn’t turn down a bun with this coat pattern, but I definitely inspected Cooper’s poops very well before adopting him. Even with the gene for it, megacolon/cowpile  is quite rare.

      I do think that in rabbits (maybe more so than other breeds of animals) breeders pay very little regard to the long term health of the rabbits they are selling. They chose which colors and other appearances to amplify based on what people deem cute. Megacolon doesn’t tend to start creating problems until a bun is a few years old, so it definitely wouldn’t cross a breeder’s mind. The more egregious examples of this have to do with dental issues, as breeds like lops, lionheads, and dwarfs are very prone to dental issues because of their squashed faces, but they are extremely popular so they keep getting bred (the same could be said of brachycephalic dog and cat breeds). While I was at the rescue, there was this lionhead breeder in town that was breeding these white blue-eyed bunnies. They were beautiful, and they all kept ending up at the shelter with horrendous dental problems (overgrown tooth roots, etc.).  It also reminds me a bit of the issues with double merle coloration in collies, where getting the merle gene twice can cause the dog to be blind…. 🙁

       

      . . . 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.  


    • kanin
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      113 posts Send Private Message

      That’s comforting to hear. After posting that and thinking about it some more I actually wouldn’t even turn down a Charlie pattern bun with megacolon symptoms – they need good homes too, especially ones that are aware of the complications and what is currently best known to avoid them, such as leaving greens out of their diet. Desmond was definitely triggered whenever I gave him greens and it took me a while to make the connection. I feel like it could be a good opportunity to take what I’ve learned from my experiences with him and apply it to them, but also to maybe experiment with different diets and herbs to see if any of them aid in preventing stasis episodes. It could potentially be really beneficial to Charlie pattern buns everywhere if an effective combination was found, if even possible.

      Omg, were people dropping the white lionheads off at the shelter because of their teeth problems? And they just didn’t want to deal with it? That’s so so sad. I actually didn’t even know lionheads were susceptible to it when I got Nora, and I feel lucky that so far she hasn’t had any issues. She’s about 3.5-4 years old, do they typically start showing later in life?
      There should really be regulations against backyard breeders when it’s obvious that nearly every domestic species used for pets are wildly overpopulated. I could rant on about it for a while but instead I’ll just say that I wish humans weren’t so dang selfish.


    • DanaNM
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      The SD HRS often has megacolon buns that they place in permanent foster care (“sanctuary” foster), so the society will cover all the medical expenses etc. It seems like they usually they do pretty well with a motility med twice a day and some diet modifications.

      I don’t think people necessarily knew the buns had the problems when they dropped them off, but it’s hard to say. Some people just think their bun just doesn’t like hay, and don’t realize it’s because their teeth are hurting.

      And of course most buns of those breeds are fine! Loads of lionheads, lops, and dwarf buns on this forum with no problems at all! My understanding is dental problems show up early (like within the first year) when they are congenital. Buns can also get spurs later in life  (like around 6+ ish) due to changes in bone density as they age.

      . . . 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.  


    • LBJ10
      Moderator
      15038 posts Send Private Message

      It seems like some bunnies with a broken pattern tend to have sensitive stomachs or are prone to gas. Not actually megacolon since they only have one copy of the gene. But… it could be a coincidence too since there are plenty of other colored bunnies that are prone to problems as well.


    • kanin
      Participant
      113 posts Send Private Message

      That’s such an awesome thing for the shelter to do. I would definitely take part in that if I wasn’t on the opposite side of the country! Hopefully more shelters follow suit to help get these sweet special needs babies into attentive homes. I know the medical bills can be daunting.

      Yeah I of course can’t say for sure that my boy had megacolon. His pattern is a bit different from the Charlies I’ve seen and it was very pigmented. I just know now that it had to be something genetic, whereas when I had him I thought I was doing something wrong. The bouts of stasis got more frequent and severe as he got older. He was my first bunny that I wasn’t even supposed to have (he wandered into our backyard a few days after Christmas!) so it made it extra stressful having to pretty much learn everything as I was dealing with them. I did learn a lot though and I’d give anything to have him back, health issues and all.

       

       


    • DanaNM
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      5236 posts Send Private Message

      Aww what a beautiful boy! With his history, who knows. Sometimes I wonder if buns that are not weaned properly end up with chronic issues too.

      . . . 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.  

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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Looking for a specific article about recurring stasis relating to coat pattern