Part 2

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

Rabbit Bloating

< Cont. From Page 1

Fortunately, with continuous at home care, Pokey recovered. Other buns have not been so lucky. I believe this is because most vets in this country do not acknowledge that Bloat exists in rabbits. Research on the Internet revealed the vets in Canada and the UK treat rabbits for Bloat. In the UK, they pass a GI tube down the rabbit's throat to release the pressure, like they do in this country with dogs. When the stomach gets overly distended from the gas buildup in Bloat, it places a lot of pressure on the chest cavity making it difficult to breathe. The cause of death is cardiovascular collapse, but it is usually secondary to the gas buildup.

What to look for:

1. A very sudden change in eating habits: If your bun suddenly skips a meal, give him a dose of simethicone and call the vet.

2. Check his temperature with a rectal thermometer: The ears regulate body temperature. If they start to feel cool to touch, chances are his body temperature is falling. A normal rabbit temperature is 102-104°F. Any temperature under 100°F is a medical emergency. This means the rabbit's system is shutting down and he is going into shock. Grab a heating pad (on low) and wrap it around the bun. When you transport him, wrap him in warm blankets to help maintain his body heat.

3. Get him to the vet immediately! Often the pain is so great, the bun gives up. A shot of pain medicine was crucial to Pokey's recovery.

4. Fluids are necessary to keep the bun hydrated and to help overcome shock. The quickest and least stressful way to accomplish this is with subcu IV fluids. Your vet can show you how to do this at home. Simethicone is necessary to relieve gas buildup. Laxatone is often prescribed, but its use is controversial. We gave Pokey a small amount of Laxatone and it seemed to help. Additionally, Metaclopramide (Reglanâ) or Cisapride (Propulsidâ) activates the digestive system. Do not give this without your vet's knowledge because the administration of this agent can cause the stomach to rupture if there is an obstruction present.

5. Keep your bun in a warm environment: We placed Pokey in a small room upstairs and closed the vent to the AC. The room temperature was 81°F all night. I believe this helped him stay warm.

6. Give your bun a small area to run: We gave Pokey the freedom to roam around if he wanted to, which he did once his pain was under control. Exercise encourages the GI System to move. In addition, a gentle stomach massage can help to break up the gas in the GI System.

The next morning, Pokey's temperature was 102.4°F and he started to eat hay and passed tiny, mis-shapened stools. By noon, he passed a few blobs of foul-smelling goop and then passed gas the rest of the day. His bowel sounds became more active and the next day we started feeding him Oxbow Critical Care that he ate on his own from his food bowl. His diet was gradually advanced and within 4 days, Pokey was back to normal. In comparison, it took two weeks of constant home care and daily treatment before he recovered from GI Stasis last year. Having been through these two medical situations with Pokey in the past 1-1/2 years, I firmly believe Bloat can be a primary disorder which can occur suddenly and without warning, as well as a complication of GI Stasis.

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

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