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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 DIET & CARE Suddenly picky bun won’t eat hay

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    • sgtsnuggles
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      16 posts Send Private Message

      Hello everyone!

      Appa is a one year, fixed, Holland Lop. He was very good about eating hay and this just recently became an issue. He stopped eating timothy and would only eat botanical and oat (and alfalfa but that is only a treat). Now he will only eat oat hay and very specifically picks out certain pieces and leaves the rest. I already reduced his pellet serving to 1/8 a day to try to encourage him to eat hay and reduced his fresh greens servings. It’s really hard though because with these reductions he’s still refusing to eat his hay. Does anyone have any advice? He also gets Vitamin C every other day and Digestive Support everyday from Oxbow Natural Science. I can’t bear to watch him not eat much and he’s been pooping but I fear GI stasis 🙁


    • Bam
      Moderator
      15219 posts Send Private Message

      Dental problems are a common cause when a bun starts being picky with food. Some buns will avoid hay, others may avoid pellets. Sometimes you see the bun take food only to drop it  immediately, or the bun gets excited for food and comes running for it  but doesn’t eat it.

      Due to the rabbit’s anatomy  the molars and premolars can’t be seen without an otoscope. You can check the incisors yourself,  but you need a vet to look at the molars. Dental x-rays are very good for identifying problems with tooth roots.


    • LBJ10
      Moderator
      15412 posts Send Private Message

      If it was just the timothy hay, then I would say perhaps something is wrong with the hay. What you’re describing makes me think something is wrong. As Bam pointed out, teeth would be the number one suspect at this point.


    • sgtsnuggles
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      16 posts Send Private Message

      Thank you so much to both I will schedule him in for an exam!


    • sgtsnuggles
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      Just an update if anyone is facing the same problem as I am:

      Appa went to the vet today and was checked for GI stasis and molar disease. The doctor let me know that he feels fine, no drool, no stomach pain, etc. She sent us home with GI stasis medicine just in case and told me to continue observing him and giving him a “smorgasbord” of food.

      Appa is continuing to refuse to eat hay. I don’t believe there’s something wrong with it as I keep them all closed and in my air conditioned room. I have offered him Timothy, meadow, oat, and botanical from Oxbow brand. He only wants to eat alfalfa, which as we know has high calcium and is only given as a treat. Currently he’s willing to pick all the oats out of his oat hay, eat twigs, pellets, Natural Science supplements, veggies, fruits, treats, and Timothy hay bales/twists. The doctor said he is likely just spoiled rotten lol.

      Any suggestions would be lovely but I am continuing to monitor the situation. The vet didn’t give him an X-ray so I really hope there is nothing wrong dental-wise.


    • Alexmack2016
      Participant
      19 posts Send Private Message

      Hey!

      I hope your rabbit is back to eating hay, if not, I would definitely get a second opinion. My rabbit started to get picky with food and stopped eating hay, I took her to her vet who said her teeth looked perfectly fine.

      I ended up taking her to an exotic animal hospital and the vet that looked in her mouth said she had severe dental disease, they did X-rays and found she also had abscesses in her jaw. This didn’t happen overnight (most likely genetic with my girl) and the vet I had been taking her too since she was a baby never noticed it. It is so extremely important to find a vet that specifically knows rabbits, and not just treats them alongside dogs and cats.

      My rabbit had one badly infected incisor removed and the abscesses drained as best they could but the infection was too deep in her jaw so she’s on weekly penicillin injections to keep the infection under control.

      That was 2 years ago, she still isn’t able to eat hay but she will chew on Sunsets Timothy Hay Cubes or Living World Timothy Chews. This keeps her teeth in check for the most part and she gets her molars floated every 6 weeks. Maybe your rabbit would prefer these?

      Fingers crossed that your little guy has a better outcome.


      • sgtsnuggles
        Participant
        16 posts Send Private Message

        Hello thank you for your response!

        I took Appa to an exotic pet vet that was recommended on a bun website to find reliable and affordable spays and neuters for bunnies. I was a bit worried she only used the tool to look at his teeth and didn’t order any X-rays. Could I ask when you find a vet do you ask if they specialize in rabbit care? I’m always wary of places that charge a lot for rabbits too because online it said this may be their way of “dissuading” people from coming in with their buns. I also wasn’t sure if it’s weird to ask lol I have just asked if they see rabbits. I will definitely consider a second opinion and seeing another vet to ensure he has no dental problems!

         

        Appa has been eating hay again, a lot less enthusiastically, but he seems in good health. Thank you so much for your advice and sharing your experiences it really gives me peace of mind 🙂 Best wishes to your baby girl as well, my lil Appabear loves Timothy hay cubes as well!


    • Alexmack2016
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      I’m so glad Appa’s feeling better! I know how stressful that can be.

       

      So I moved recently and had to find a new vet and after the previous experience I had, I was not shy with questions lol I was literally interviewing potential vets. I had one vet ask me if my rabbit is given penicillin orally or injected. I crossed him off my list for not knowing you can’t give a rabbit penicillin orally. That seemed like an accident waiting to happen.

       

      I also ask how many rabbits they normally see a day/weekly, their experience level with dental issues etc. anything you can think of to do with your bunny.

       

      I’ve found that Emergency Animal Hospitals usually charge more for rabbits even though they’re knowledge of rabbits is pretty basic, they probably use the same websites we do, but if you do end up find a vet that specializes in rabbits, it will probably cost you more but their expertise is well worth the price.

       

      Best of luck!


    • Bam
      Moderator
      15219 posts Send Private Message

      I sadly have had the same experience as Alexmack2016: My bun dtopped eating one day, I took him to the vet right away, the vet that was their “best” rabbit vet took a look at my bun’s teeth with an oroscope and said the teeth were fine. We were prescribed Critical Care by syringe, nothing else.

      The next day my bun was in worse shape, and luckily the only rabbit savvy vet clinic in my region could fit him in. It was a long drive, but so worth it. They pretty much immediately found that my bun’s teeth were a total mess. Dental x-rays then confirmed this.

      My bun survived, but he wouldnt have without the rabbit savvy vet.

       

       


    • Alexmack2016
      Participant
      19 posts Send Private Message

      omg @ Bam. It’s sad that we had the exact same experience but that’s what makes me ask all the questions now. I’m glad your rabbit survived.

      Vets are always willing to see rabbits and take your money even though they might not know much about them. I had an emergency hospital under prescribe pain meds before but thankfully I knew her correct dosage and I always keep Meloxicam and a few other meds at home.

      My girl is 5 years old now and has had end stage dental disease and a few other medical conditions for the last 2 years, but she wouldn’t be alive if I hadn’t found an exotic animal hospital.


    • LBJ10
      Moderator
      15412 posts Send Private Message

      If you’re having trouble finding a vet, look for vets listed as “exotics” vets. My vet office is actually locally known as a bird vet, but one of the doctors specializes in small critters, including rabbits.

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Forum DIET & CARE Suddenly picky bun won’t eat hay