Bunny Blog

Health Scare: GI Stasis

CosetteWe’ve had a very scary last few days here. Cosette had to go to the emergency vet over the weekend because she had stopped eating and pooping and looked quite hunched. After an x-ray, the vet found that her stomach was extremely distended and she had two large gas bubbles. The diagnosis was GI stasis, and her prognosis was guarded.

A dental exam showed that her molars were unevenly worn, which most likely led to her digestive issues. They filed her teeth that night, and during her stay at the vet’s, she received motility medication, pain medication, IV fluids, and force feeding of Critical Care.

Sunday morning, her condition had worsened, and the vet was not optimistic about her chances of survival. With dull, droopy eyes, a hunched, tense posture, and a visibly bloated stomach, Cosette looked like she was experiencing a lot of pain.

Sunday evening, she started perking up a little, and she managed to eat a little on her own and finally excreted some soft stool. We brought in more greens and she ate some cilantro with encouragement by us. This morning, she excreted formed stools and had more of an appetite, so she was allowed to come home this evening. Coco was very excited his friend was finally back.

We will continue her motility medication for the next few days, and if necessary, we may need to continue syringe feeding Critical Care to supplement her diet as well. She is not quite back to her old self at this point. She doesn’t have quite the appetite, and her stools are quite small. But I was pleasantly surprised that her litterbox habits appeared to remain in tact, despite having quite a stressful weekend. (And of course, that she was actually going to the bathroom again, and her digestive system was active again.)

I wanted to share this story so that other people could learn from our scary experience. For example, it’s so important for your bunny to get regular checkups, including a dental examination. Even rabbits with a hay-based diet, who show no signs of pain, can have molar spurs. And this condition can lead to potentially deadly conditions like GI stasis. For more information about GI stasis, see Dana Krempel’s article, GI Stasis: The Silent Killer.

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11 thoughts on “Health Scare: GI Stasis

  1. Nicole

    Oh, poor Cosette! I am so sorry to hear about her – and your, of course – tough times. Thank you for sharing them with us so we can all learn from it. I can really empathise as Frank went through a bad bout of ileus earlier this year. It can be so stressful; so emotionally draining! Congratulations on intervening in time – ileus can cause a very quick death. For the sake of posterity, would you mind listing the pain and motility drugs (if you know them)? You’ll be in my thoughts – here’s to hoping for a quick recovery!

  2. Rabbits' Guy

    Scary, Scary, Scary …. we always keep the juice from a fresh pineapple frozen in an ice cube tray. We syringe in as much of that as we can whenever we see those symptoms. That and metacam often help a great deal.

  3. qb

    Glad to hear things are turning out okay! We had some GI problems with our minirex about a year back, but couldn’t afford much veterinary care–had to do a lot of our own force-feeding and temperature-taking, but she made a full recovery in around a week and a half.

    One very sad consequence: as a result of the GI problems, she lost some of her balance for a while. One day during her recovery she was obviously feeling much better, and launched a characteristic binkie from a standstill. Trouble was, she accidentally jumped sideways, full force, into a wall. She hurt herself, I think, and hasn’t binkied since that day.

    I’ve never heard of the pineapple juice thing–can someone point me to a reference on that? If that works, keeping some frozen sounds like an excellent precaution.

  4. Kine

    Hi I’m so glad your rabbit is ok as I can imagine how devastating if she didn’t make it. Unfortunatley my rabbit is at the vets as we speak on a drip as I think thats what hes got. He wasnt eating or drinking last night and his condition worsened so I am praying for him to get better. The vets said that his chances are 50/50 at the moment and will give me a call this afternoon to let me know his progress. Some peopel think having rabbits as pets are silly but I think rabbits are the best pets to have. I love my rabbit and don’t know what I would do if he didn’t recover. I’m just praying and hoping……thats all I can do.

    1. My House Rabbit Post author

      Hi Kine, I hope your bunny is in recovery. It is so scary when this happens to your bunny because you just don’t know if they will respond to the treatment. Our thoughts are with you and your bun!

  5. marcela

    Hi. I was wondering where you lived and what vet you took your rabbit to if you live in NYC because I have a rabbit whom I believe is headed towards that direction and I want to prevent it as soon as possible. If you do not live in NYC it would be a lot of help if you know of any vets or if there is one you can recommend here in NYC. Thank You.

    1. My House Rabbit Post author

      Hi Marcela,

      I live in Connecticut and take our rabbits to a vet in Rhode Island, so that won’t work for you. But check out this page of vets by the Rabbit Rescue and Rehab (NYC House Rabbit Society Chapter): http://www.rabbitcare.org/vets.htm

      There are lots of rabbit-savvy vets in your area, so call one right away!

      Anyone else looking for rabbit-savvy vets in their area, check out the House Rabbit Society’s page: http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/vet.html

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