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Forum DIET & CARE Please help – diet and weight

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    • benjaminbinky
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        Hey, I’m feeling very lost and stuck with Benjamin’s diet.

        He had surgery for liver lobe torsion (there is a thread about his recovery if you need more details) and he had an episode of EC less than a month after the surgery.

        Ever since the surgery his poops have been bad in quality. Messy, wet, different sizes and shapes and shades. It’s been 3 months since the surgery and 2 months since his treatment for EC. The struggle has been in getting him to gain weight. He needs to be at 6lbs and he dropped to his lowest of 4.5lbs. He has been hovering around 5lbs the past month.

        His poops the last few weeks consistently are wet, round, stinky. They look pretty much like cecals. Sometimes during the day he produces poops that look a little less wet but still soft and dark.

        He’s been on Sherwood Timothy Recovery Food (another version of critical care) for months and I’ve been slowly weaning him off the past week and a half to see if that helps his poop quality. He’s also on a pellet called Sherwood Free Choice Timothy Pellet, which is mostly made of timothy hay. I tried decreasing those from his diet and his weight has been dropping quickly so I’m putting those back in. His poops have improved somewhat but his weight is more important.

        The CC is less likely to mess with his poops but the pellets do a way better job at helping his weight. He only started to gain weight when I found a good pellet for him, even though I was giving him CC feedings 4-6x a day.

        I’ve talked about about all of this with his vet and she says we’re stuck and I should just keep the pellets in his diet and deal with the messy poop. She said he will likely need to have a pellet the rest of his life to keep his weight even though it isn’t ideal. She didn’t respond when I brought up probiotics or giving him benebac more than once a week.


        Before his surgery he was on a hay only diet because he’s so sensitive. He can’t be on hay only anymore because he can’t keep his weight and the vet said that happens sometimes after surgery or as rabbits get older. We even tried a pinch of oats once a day for two days and that gave him horrible poops.  I thought about putting him on hay only for a week or so until his poops are normal and slowly introduce the pellets back but his weight went from 5.26lbs to 4.7lbs over the past 5 days and thats just from decreasing the extra nutrients!


        I feel so lost and exhausted. I just want my bunny to gain weight and have better droppings. I know he will be more energetic and feel better if we can just get there. Please help.

        *edited for formatting


      • benjaminbinky
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          I also want to add that I’ve talked to a vet at Sherwood who is knowledgeable about their products and pet diets. She recommended the free choice timothy pellets that I’m feeding Benjamin now because the main ingredient is hay and I can safely feed him lots of it. She’s had similar situations with her pets getting through illness and needing to gain weight and she fed these pellets freely to her bunny and he was able to get back to his regular weight pretty quickly.


        • Wick & Fable
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            You mention x4-6 feedings of CC per day– how much are you giving each time? I’m wondering if you increase the amount per feeding while decreasing the number of feedings, you can leave more time for him to pellets and hay and try and regulate his GI a bit.

            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.


          • benjaminbinky
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              If I recall correctly he would willingly eat 20-30ml per serving before refusing to eat any more and hopping away. These past few weeks, before I’ve been weaning him from the CC, he would eat 30ml in one sitting if I gave him 15ml with a few minutes in between syringes.

               


            • DanaNM
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                I agree with your vet that it would probably be good to just keep him on the free-choice timothy pellets in this case. I think it would likely be safe to try adding a daily probiotic, there are some rabbit specific ones out there now (aside from Benebac, which is also good), so it might be worth a shot.

                Does Benjamin live with another bunny? My vet in the past prescribed “poop shakes” (healthy bunny poop mixed with CC) for my bun with cecal dysbiosis. It can be risky if it’s an unknown bun because you don’t want to introduce a parasite by mistake.

                Anecdotally I also know of some buns that benefitted from a small amount of alfalfa hay for dysbiosis. That could also help with his weight issues so I would mention that to your vet.

                Lastly, my buns are OBSESSED with Emeraid recovery food (“Herbivore Sustain”), so if he’s maxing out on Sherwood’s version you might give that a shot. It really helped my senior keep weight on towards the end of his live. You could always mix and match to avoid boredom.

                . . . 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.  


              • DanaNM
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                  Oh one other question, have you noticed if he also have well-formed cecals that he’s eating? The poops you describe do sound like cecal dysbiosis, so I’m wondering if he’s also not getting normal cecals.

                  Also just want to say I feel for you, taking care of a poorly bun is very stressful and draining. But I do know of several buns with “icky poops” that did eventually find a good balance of diet so they felt OK, even if they still had somewhat gross poops.

                  . . . 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.  


                • pinkiemarie
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                    @benjaminbinky I have a bun with terrible dysboisis, almost everything gives him icky poos. I feed him a timothy pellet by Exotic Nutrition with literally only timothy hay as the only ingredient. It isn’t 100% ideal because there is nothing else in it to ensure proper micronutrients but I wonder if adding that to his diet might help. For my bun it took him a minute to get used to it but now he really likes it and it keeps him eating by keeping his diet more interesting than just hay. That way you could maybe cut back on the Sherwood pellets that he’s sensitive to while hopefully keeping him eating. My bun also gets a daily treat of dried herbs like mint, sage, dandelion greens and even some chamomile because he isn’t sensitive so you might consider trying to add in something like that to encourage eating more as well.

                     

                    @dananm are these poo shakes made with cecotropes or hard poos? I have 2 buns with healthy digestion so now I’m intrigued.


                    • DanaNM
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                        @pinkiemarie Ideally cecotropes if you can get em! The reasoning was if the bun already lived with other buns it would have already been exposed to any parasites they might have, so it’s pretty safe to try. Another vet I had reasoned that they also would have already been exposed to the healthy bun’s gut flora, but I still think it could be worth a try since cecals have so many good things in them for buns. The vet who recommended it is extremely rabbits savvy so I trust him.

                        . . . 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.  


                    • benjaminbinky
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                        Thank you all for the replies!! He had a really horrible pile of poop (looked like a splat) a few days ago and it’s been a while since the last time that happened. He had that after his surgery and his poops would be perfect for a day after the bad pile, and then they would get bad again and it would be a whole cycle.

                        Right after his bad pile this time I gave him his weekly dose of benebac early and decided that from now on he’s going to get a dose of it every couple of days because it can’t hurt. His system has been through so much these past few months it makes sense that the bad bacteria is winning in his gut. When I showed the picture of the poop to his vet she did prescribe him metronidazole. I’ve mentioned Benjamin may be needing a probiotic a few times now and she doesn’t respond about that, hence why I’m going with benebac because it’s helped in the past and lots of people say it helps their bunny. And it’s available online rather than having to go through the vet.. if there’s any other over the counter bunny probiotics you guys recommend let me know!

                        I agree he cannot be on a hay only diet. Luckily though ever since the bad pile a few days ago his appetite for the Sherwood recovery food is massive!! He’s easily sucking down 45ml and wanting more if I give it to him. He’ll go into a food coma for a few minutes after and then start eating a bunch of hay and drinking water. That’s a relief. He isn’t eating too much of his pellets though, but I’m not stressing about that because the CC and hay are most important.

                        I do have another bunny who is healthy! We’ve done fecal transfers before, where we take a few healthy poops and rip them up and mix them into Benjamin’s CC. It worked a couple of times but not the most recent time. I can try it again along side the benebac and antibiotic if you all think it’s a good idea.

                        I will order Emeraid soon, and ask my vet about adding small amounts of alfafa to his diet next week 🙂

                         

                        I did see him eating his cecals this morning. His other poops are better formed but still on the soft and yucky side. He’s had lots of energy ever since the bad pile of poop though. I’m hopeful that adding a probiotic like benebac will help! I haven’t been able to find a lot online about people in this same situation.. there were a couple of threads describing the same weight loss and piles of loose poop just like Benjamin but they were never updated with a found solution 🙁

                         

                        Do you think it’s a good/safe idea to give him a dose of benebac daily while he’s on the antibiotic, and then a dose of benebac every other day after the antibiotic course is finished?

                         


                        @pinkiemarie
                        did your bunnys poops ever get better?


                      • Bam
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                          It is a good idea to give Benebac when a bun is on antibiotics, but it’s even more important to give it after the course of antibiotics is over, because that’s when the gut is trying to re-establish a healthy gut microbiota.

                          Dont give probiotics at the same time as the antibiotics, wait a few hours.


                        • mia
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                            If you need other probiotics to explore…

                            My vets has prescribed Probios equine gel before. Vet has also mentioned HeathyGut Probiotics for Rabbits. Both can be obtained OTC e.g.Chewy and Amazon has them. My buns are on antibiotics and I was told to also give them probiotics everyday. I can’t separate the meds since one is extremely difficult so I do antibiotics first, then chased with some water, then probiotics.


                          • benjaminbinky
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                              Okay, thank you! He is getting a dose of his antibiotics twice a day. Should I give him a dose of probiotics twice a day too during the course of the antibiotics?


                            • Bam
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                                It’s very difficult to overdose probiotics unintentionally. What the bun cant use just passes through.


                              • benjaminbinky
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                                  Hi all,

                                  Today Benjamin’s doctor who did his surgery called to see how things are going. I told him about the soft poops and messy overnight poops as well as the weight problems. We decided that we’ll do a fecal culture 7-10 days after Benjamin’s last antibiotic dose. He said it wouldn’t affect the test results much if I continued the benebac, but it would be most ideal to do the culture with no medications in his system. His doc wants us to try a small amount of alfafa hay daily to see if that helps his weight and that will also give the doc information on how Ben’s GI tract is handling things. He said we could try pellets for baby rabbits that have alfafa in them, and that he’s seen lots of rabbits that need diets meant for young rabbits as they get older.

                                  The pet store didn’t have an alfafa (very unusual..) so I got Oxbow Garden Select Young Rabbit Food. The two main ingredients are timothy hay and alfafa hay. I gave Ben a tbsp and he ate a few pellets and decided he wanted his timothy hay instead. He doesn’t seem to like pellets much. This is the fourth pellet we’ve tried. I’ll leave that tbsp available to him and maybe he’ll finish them later.

                                  Thank you for the OTC probiotic recommendations @mia !


                                • Wick & Fable
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                                    Perhaps the alfalfa hay bits will be more attractive when you’re able to get some — as your vet mentioned, it is definitely known that some older rabbits or ill rabbits will transition to some alfalfa diet to help w/ weight.

                                    Also, have you tried drying CC and providing those to help w/ the feedings? Essentially just make up CC, thicker, and then put it in an oven at low temperature for a while. I did this to help my past rabbit Fable maintain weight due to poor appetite. I’d plop it in a sandwich bag and pipe strips onto an oven sheet, then break it up after it’s dried.

                                    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.


                                  • benjaminbinky
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                                      Thank you! I will try that dried CC trick. I also ordered some of the HealthyGut Rabbit Probiotics that @mia mentioned because the reviews say it really helps with soft poops and getting back to a healthy weight. Tomorrow I’ll go to the pet store to check for alfafa hay agin.

                                      I think overnight Ben ate the rest of the alfalfa pellets I gave him. I set out another tbsp for him this morning and even sprinkled dried herbs in them. I come home and it looks like he just picked out the herbs and left the pellets, like lucky charm cereal – smh. Maybe he’ll eat the pellets over night again.


                                      • DanaNM
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                                          Sometimes it takes buns a little while to like new pellets, so hopefully he comes around! I do hope he will like the fresh alfalfa too, I’ve never met a bun that didn’t!

                                          . . . 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.  


                                      • mia
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                                          Can also try cubes. I have bun who rather have alfalfa cubes than hay or pellets.


                                          • DanaNM
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                                              Good idea! My buns love oat and alfalfa cubes!

                                              . . . 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.  


                                          • benjaminbinky
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                                              I got alfalfa hay today and he does like it! I’m mixing small amounts into his regular hay and crossing my fingers that he doesn’t just pick out the alfalfa and leave the other hay.

                                               

                                              I hope it’s okay for me to let this out.. I love him so much, and this has also been really hard for me. I don’t mind the extra work of cleaning his cage twice a day and syringe feeding him  multiple times a day and all of that. It’s been months of constant worry and analyzing his every movement and behavior and wondering if I’m missing a big health issue or doing the wrong thing, you know? Like the past couple of days he’s been chewing his cardboard box and licking blankets and doing what I call “flirting” with his feeding syringe, which is where he rubs his chin on it instead of trying to eat, or he goes in like he’s going to eat but decides not to and then changes his mind a few seconds later and it’s a whole ordeal to get him to eat. I put a little bit of benebac on the syringe tip and that makes him eat really well for a couple of days, and then he gets bored of that and now I’m putting a little bit of banana on the end of the syringe and that worked for a day before he’s bored of that. I can’t tell if he’s going through a picky phase or if he’s developed dental issues through all of this. And it’s Friday and there are no rabbit vets until Monday, but Monday is New Years and some businesses consider the day after New Years a holiday too so I can’t get his mouth checked out until Wednesday next week.

                                               

                                              I miss my healthy bunny. I miss hearing him constantly eating hay, I miss seeing his binkies and zooms around my room. I miss his beautiful round shape when he was a healthy weight. I miss his bountiful energy and him always coming running to greet me when I come home. It’s heartbreaking seeing him in the same place I left him an hour ago, seeing his spine through his fur. I’m constantly wondering what else I can do for him. I’m hoping these HealthyGut Rabbit Probiotics I ordered are the key to getting him back into balance. I’m doing my best to be resilient about all of this, it’s just that some days it wears me down. Every day I cherish him and hold him close even when he’s being picky about his food. I wish I had the answers to bring him back to radiant health already.


                                              • DanaNM
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                                                  It is soooo stressful dealing with a chronically ill bunny, you are certainly welcome to vent here, this is a safe space for that. I went through it with a foster at one point, and then again with my senior in the final 6 months of his life. It definitely takes a toll on you, and most non-rabbit people just don’t get it.

                                                  Sending good vibes for you and your bun. <3

                                                  . . . 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.  


                                              • benjaminbinky
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                                                  Today was terrible. He’s hardly wanted any of his CC. When I got home a couple of hours ago there was awful messy poop, totally unformed, all over my room and his butt. I cleaned everything the best I could. His anus is so inflamed. I gave him a dose of meloxicam and he did willingly eat 20ml of his CC. He’s eating some hay right now but only because I sprinkled some dried herbs in it. I hope the probiotics and emeraid get here really fast and help him. I can’t even take him to the emergency vet because their exotics team isn’t in on the weekends. I wish I could at least talk to his doctor about what to do. Maybe tomorrow will be better.


                                                • Bam
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                                                    I’m sorry he is unwell. I’d give whatever probiotics you have at home now, in the hope that they could make some difference. Was he prescribed famotidine (pepcid) together with his meloxicam? Vets often prescibe that to protect the stomach lining from the meloxicam.

                                                    It’s just awful that it’s so difficult to get vet care for a rabbit during the holidays.


                                                  • benjaminbinky
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                                                      He’s doing a lot better this morning surprisingly!! I actually woke up to the sound of him eating and digging in his cage, a big display of energy that I haven’t seen in a while. He totally snarfed his CC down and climbed into my lap demanding more. His anus is still inflamed and his poops are kind of wet looking but they are fully round/formed instead of the loose mess he was producing last night. He has really good energy and appetite this morning which is a big relief.

                                                      I believe his regular vet is open on Tuesday and I plan to call as soon as they open to get his butt and mouth looked at. I hear what you’re saying Bam 🙁 I would pay extra for a vet to be available during the holidays. Luckily he seems to have turned around overnight.


                                                    • Bam
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                                                        Oh, I’m so glad to hear he’s doing better!! Wishing you a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a great new bunny year! 🐰🐰🐰 (It will be kind of a relief when the holidays are over and access to bun vet care is available again!)


                                                      • benjaminbinky
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                                                          Thank you Bam, happy bunny new year to you as well!!

                                                           

                                                          I’m 99% sure he’s drooling. His fur is wet around his mouth and he has slight fur loss on his chin, and there’s a little bit of an odor. I’m going to do my best to keep his chin dry, and I also have a antimicrobial spray that I used on his dewlap when he got a skin infection on his dewlap when he had EC. I gave his dewlap a couple of sprays and hopefully that helps too. He’s still eating and drinking and is alert, not grinding his teeth. Tuesday can’t come fast enough :/


                                                        • benjaminbinky
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                                                            He did alright Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday as well as today so far. He wasn’t drooling for long, maybe a few hours on Saturday and since then his chin has been dry. The vet looked at his teeth and they are growing points but not severe enough to put him under anesthesia and grind them down.

                                                            today he weighs 4.10lbs, the lowest yet. I’m terrified that these probiotics coming tomorrow won’t work and he’ll keep losing weight and just shut down. He’s really doing his best, he’s still showing energy every so often. Yesterday he left my room twice to come hang out with me in the kitchen. He’s eating all of the CC I give him. I’m trying alfalfa hay again but in a smaller quantity because he does like it and I’m desperate to get more calories in him. I did try giving him a mint leaf a couple of days ago, and yesterday a cilantro stalk. He liked both and they didn’t upset his tummy so that’s good, it means I have something to sprinkle the probiotics on.


                                                          • Bam
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                                                              I’m glad you could get him seen!

                                                              I had an elder-bun that I had to supplement with daily CC, because he couldnt keep weight on otherwise. He wouldn’t eat it from a plate but he took it quite willingly from a syringe -he came hopping when he heard me prep his daily CC in the kitchen 🥰 He was tiny (ge was never a big rabbit), but he had good energy and seemed to enjoy life. He got probiotics and meloxicam + pepcid daily.


                                                            • benjaminbinky
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                                                                Hi, it’s been a while so I wanted to update – January 5 his weight had dropped to 3.96lbs and he was falling over when leaving his cage or litter box and couldn’t get up on his own. It was very bleak but we switched him to Emeraid that night and within 2-3 days he wasn’t falling over any more and was gaining weight. It’s been all up hill from there! 🙂

                                                                 

                                                                Yesterday he weighed 5.14lbs and it shows. His bones are getting less visible. He is SO full of life, it’s incredible. He’s hopping and playing and so alert and affectionate. He’s like his old self again 🙂 we’re aiming for 6lbs, which we might hit in another 3ish weeks if he keeps gaining at this rate! Thank you for the probiotic and emeraid suggestion ❤️


                                                              • DanaNM
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                                                                  That’s wonderful news!!!

                                                                  . . . 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 DIET & CARE Please help – diet and weight