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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.

BINKYBUNNY FORUMS

Forum DIET & CARE Please help – poorly bunny & vets mystified!

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    • lucy :)
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      Our bunny Keiji had been slowly eating less and less over the past few weeks and has lost a lot of weight. He is now at the point where there is very little left to lose and we are getting desperate – I’m hoping somebody on here has had a similar experience or could give any advice. We have been in and out of our vets over the past few weeks and they have got to the point where they really don’t know what’s going on. They aren’t exotics specialists, but they are rabbit-friendly and have given our buns great care in the past. They have passed all the case notes onto a rabbit specialist within their group and we’re waiting to hear back on that. We are also trying to get an appointment with our nearest exotic vets but it’s proving difficult, and as you know time is precious when it comes to poorly buns!

      Here’s the situation and what we’ve tried so far:

      Last summer Keiji had a serious bout of gut stasis which took about six weeks for him to fully recover from. He eventually gained a good amount of weight, but never got back to his highest weight (which to be honest was probably a bit overweight) – however, he seemed happy and we put it down to him being a bit older (we don’t know exactly as he is from rescue, but we think he’s about 7, or a bit older).

      About a month ago we noticed that our other bun Sammy was overgrooming Keiji. This has happened before and usually we would separate them for a day or two and the issue would resolve. This time it didn’t help – not sure if this is relevant but including it here just in case!

      We also noticed that Keiji was eating a bit less and his poos had gotten a bit small. We weighed him and he had lost some weight, so we took him into the vets who told us he had the start of stasis and sent us home with Emeprid for his guts & some critical care type food. She checked his teeth and said they looked ok (but he was awake so it wasn’t a full dental exam). We started regular syringe feeding, and he seemed to be eating pellets and veg but no hay.

      About a week later we took him back into the vet as he was still not eating hay and had lost a little more weight. They did some blood tests and sent us home with painkillers (Meloxaid) and more emeprid for his guts. Again they checked his teeth while conscious and found nothing wrong. We continued feeding the critical care – and he did gain a little weight over that week, and his poos got a bit bigger again. However, he was still not eating hay other than maybe one or two strands if we hand fed it to him. When the blood tests came back the vet told us he was slightly anaemic and prescribed some antiacid medication (Zitac) as she thought he might have some stomach ulcers.

      Another week passed and he continued to go downhill – he lost the little bit of weight he gained and more besides. He got down to his lowest weight ever which was the same as when he had the severe gut stasis last year. His poos also became very small again and we started finding a lot of cecotropes. We were still feeding critical care every 2 hours and he was eating some veg but went off pellets and wouldn’t eat any hay whatsoever. We booked him in again to the vets for a full dental under GA which took place yesterday. The vet found a couple of very small irregularities, which she has filed down, but in her opinion they wouldn’t be enough to put him off his food. They also did some X-rays which were inconclusive and another blood test (we are still waiting for the results).

      Since we brought him home yesterday he does seem slightly more interested in hay and has eaten a few strands here and there from hand feeding. He has also eaten a few pellets and a decent amount of veggies.  Poos are looking a bit better but there are still excess cecotropes. I also saw him go to eat a cecotrope this morning and then drop half of it out of his mouth. Not sure if that’s because it was too much and he didn’t need it, or if he’s having a problem keeping food in his mouth. We are still syringe feeding the critical care every 2 hours, and he is still on the painkillers, gut meds and antiacid. I’ve ordered some fibreplex which is arriving tomorrow, and I’m soaking some hay as I read online that sometimes that can encourage them to eat it.

      He does seem slightly better since the dental, but he is absolutely skeletal and I’m extremely worried he hasn’t got long left. He is now at his lowest weight ever and in total over the last month has gone from 2.74 kg to 2.39 kg.

      The whole time he has seemed bright, alert and happy – still hopping about, grooming, and humping Sammy lol. His coat is in good condition except for where Sammy has been overgrooming. He seems excited about food and will go over to sniff it, but he eats very little. We have tried loads of different types of hay and pellets. Veg-wise he is mostly eating herbs, carrot and swede (yes not the healthiest but we are just trying to get him to eat anything) – he seems to have gone off anything leafy in the last week or so. He will also eat the odd dandelion leaf which we encourage as much as possible since it’s probably got a bit more fibre in. And he’s having about 3 packets of critical care a day.

      So has anyone here got any idea what might be going on? Or anything we can try to get him eating and get his weight up a bit? I know that it could be something more serious like cancer, but I really want to make sure we’re doing everything we can, especially when he still seems so cheerful.


    • lucy :)
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      Just a quick update we are seeing the exotics vet tomorrow morning 🙂


    • Wick & Fable
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      It’s great that you are seeing an exotics vet — rabbit-friendly vets can be good at times, but especially for these complex issues, it is good to have a trained eye looking at things and supporting you through this. I am interested in what the most recent blood tests may say regarding organ function. Also, were any fecal tests conducted? It may be worthwhile to see what the bacteria/parasite situation of Kenji’s GI system is.

      Outside X-rays, you can also look at other imaging techniques like a CT scan– somethings show up in one method, but not others.

      You should definitely consult with the exotic vet, but I wonder if it may be appropriate to switch Keiji to an alfalfa-based diet to help with  nutrition and weight gain/maintenance. It is definitely not unheard of to have elderly rabbits on a more nutrient dense diet, as opposed to the non-alfalfa we have for adult rabbits. Here is an aggregate site of links that can help with general lifestyle and diet guidelines for senior rabbits: https://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Elderly_rabbits

      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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      I agree with Wick that some more advanced imaging might be informative. I also wouldn’t rule out the possibility that his teeth were to blame, some bunnies are really sensitive to even tiny molar spurs. Although with regular critical care it is concerning that he’s still been losing weight.

      If you have it available, you might also offer fresh grass, it can be really good for encouraging buns to eat. And I think the suggestion of an alfalfa based pellet or hay is a good one too.

      Has he typically had normal poops, or does he have a history of irregular poop (weird shapes, soft, etc)?

      . . . 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.  


    • lucy :)
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      Thank you both for the thoughtful replies!

      After doing some research today I was also wondering about parasites and I’m going to ask the vet about fecal testing tomorrow.

      Yesterday’s bloods came back with slightly elevated white blood cells and the same level of slight anaemia. Our normal vet supposed there could be some kind of infection, but she said the levels have risen very slowly so she wasn’t sure. I’m going to raise this with the exotics vet too.

      Thank you so much for the diet info! I’ll study that. I have some junior rabbit pellets that I’ve been trying him with and he has nibbled a few throughout the day. I am really hopeful that it was his teeth as he does seem brighter since the dental and has definitely been nibbling a greater range of foods.

      He’s also been attacking handfuls of hay and fibre sticks. Don’t think much made it into his mouth to be swallowed but some definitely did. This is definitely an improvement on him ignoring hay completely earlier in the week.

      I can cut him some fresh grass and will try that in a minute, thanks for the suggestion 🙂

      Both my buns have always had very nice ‘golden poos’, but Keiji’s have been less regular since his stasis episode last year. They are still a nice colour, just very small at the moment…

      I will keep you updated with the vets appointment in the morning


    • lucy :)
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      Oh and also there haven’t been as many excess cecotropes today! Which I’m taking as a good sign.


    • DanaNM
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      That all sounds like signs of improvement!

      . . . 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.  


    • lucy :)
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      We’ve been to see the exotics vet today and he’s given us a few more leads.

      Keiji is now on baytril once a day and we have upped his dose of painkillers. We are also doing a fecal test for EC. (And I’ve actually ordered some Panacur to start giving him anyway). I’ve also started giving him fibreplex today which will hopefully help his guts a bit.

      At home he still seems perky and a bit more interested in food, and his poos are looking bigger (pretty much the same as Sammy’s), but unfortunately he is still dropping weight and was 2.36kg this morning.

      The exotics vet didn’t think a CT scan would be very helpful at this point. Our regular vet also heard back from their specialist who suggested testing for EC too, as well as potentially doing a urine test and an ultrasound to look for a UTI or any kidney or liver problems.

      For now we are keeping him at home to rest and continuing with meds and food. Really hope we can get him feeling a bit stronger in the next few days otherwise I think we will be back in the vets next week with all the stress that entails!

      Thanks again for your advice and support!

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Forum DIET & CARE Please help – poorly bunny & vets mystified!