Part 1

A great in-depth article by Linda Seeman, MSN, on GI Stasis and it’s effect on your rabbit.

Rabbit Bloating

by Linda Seeman, MSN

One of the most disturbing conditions any bunny parent will face is GI Stasis. This condition develops gradually. The best advice I can give anyone is to follow Dana Kremple's guidance in her article, "Gastrointestinal Stasis: The Silent Killer". This article provides crucial and lifesaving information for anyone helping their buns through this ordeal. I contend there is an even greater threat, and one that is harder to recognize: Bloat. My husband and I recently faced this frightening ordeal with our 5-year old minilop Pokey. One day he was fine and the next day he almost died. Having seen some of the foster buns in rabbit rescue die suddenly and, without explanation, makes me believe Bloat can be an entirely different phenomenon from GI Stasis, one that requires immediate veterinary intervention. Here's our story.

One day in July, our minilop Pokey was eating, drinking, eliminating, and playing normally. The next morning we noticed he had not eaten his 11 PM salad from the night before. He was hunched up in the back of his room and didn't want to come outside to run which is very unusual for him. I immediately checked for bowel sounds (which were diminished), gave him some simethicone, and called our vet. Our vet examined him that very morning and confirmed my suspicions of GI Stasis. Pokey's temperature was 99.4°F with an ear thermometer (this was a significant clinical finding, but was not addressed at the time). His abdominal x-ray showed an overly distended stomach with a huge, well-defined gas bubble inside the stomach. The bubble had distinct margins around it, rather than a diffuse gas pattern, which is usually seen in GI Stasis. In comparison, this x-ray was a lot different looking from Pokey's previous x-ray during an episode of GI Stasis last year. I had never seen anything like this before after looking at years of bunny x-rays in my vet's office. And it developed overnight! Pokey was sent home to reduce the stress of being at the vet's. We gave him subcu IV fluids, simethicone (Baby Myliconâ or Gas-Xâ), and limited his food intake to just hay and water.

Pokey continued to lie around for a few more hours and then we heard his teeth chattering. It was such a loud sound, I didn't realize what it was at first. I grabbed him out of his room, took his rectal temp, which was 97.7°F, placed him on a heating pad, and called our vet. Within minutes, we knew Pokey was going to die. His eyes were dull, he was having trouble regulating his temperature, his breathing was fast and labored, and the pain was overwhelming him. My husband and I rushed him to the vet, wrapped in towels. They were waiting for him when we arrived and immediately gave him a shot of Torbutrol for pain. His rectal temp had increased to 100°F. That's when my vet told me if Pokey were a dog, she would think he had Bloat. This condition is a medical emergency that many dogs and cows succumb to. The prognosis is poor.

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Read a great in-depth article by Linda Seeman, MSN, on GI Stasis and it’s effect on your rabbit.

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