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Thread: Recurring GI stasis - any help to identify causes please

  1. #1

    Default Recurring GI stasis - any help to identify causes please

    Hello fellow RUers,

    I'm asking for help as there are so many experienced rabbits carers on here that I'm hoping some of you may have come across something similar to what we're facing with our bun at the moment. I'd be very grateful for any suggestions, ideas or comments that you may have. Thanks in advance.

    Before I go into the details I'll start by explaining that the rabbit in question is going to be referred to an exotics specialist for further exploration / diagnosis. My questions on here are to help me to do everything I can to ensure that I get the best care for him.

    Rocky is a male, neutered rabbit, who is 2 and a half. He is a rescue rabbit and came to live with us (one of a bonded pair with his littermate and brother) when they were aged 9 months. Until February this year he has had no health problems (his brother has been fine throughout and continues to be so).

    08 Feb 2017 both rabbits were vaccinated (VHD2). 10 days later Rocky suddenly stopped eating. We took him to the vets within a few hours and he was hospitalised for 2 days before being sent home with meds (metacam painkiller, zantac antacid and emeprid gut stimulant). He recovered well and as was going through a heavy moult at the time and there some fur in his poo, the vet thought that might be the cause. Mar 2017 both rabbits were vaccinated (myxo / combi vac).

    At the start of July 2017 (5 months after the first episode) Rocky suddenly stopped eating, we went to the vets and as before he was hospitalised for a couple of days before coming home with meds.

    1 week later (so mid July 2017) he stopped eating (but was pooping) and on vet advice I gave him painkiller (metacam) at home and within a few hours he'd started eating again and was bright and responsive, displaying usual rabbit behaviour - grooming, eating hay, napping, running, jumping and binkying. That evening I updated the vet and she advised that we needed to determine the root cause of the GI stasis. The following day Rocky was admitted to the vets and had a general anaesthetic. They checked his teeth and found a small spur on one back tooth which they filed down. They x-rayed his abdomen, skull, hips/ spine and could find nothing that might be causing a problem. He recovered well from the GA and came home the same day. The vet advised that although the tooth had been filed they were unconvinced this was the cause of the GI as the spur was so small and hadn't caused any damage to his mouth/cheek and because the stopping eating was sudden. They were unable to take a blood sample. The vet thought perhaps there's something underlying such as EC but then dismissed it because in between bouts he's a lively, apparently well rabbit (and the vet would expect a rabbit to be a bit more poorly).The vet advised that there were further diagnostic tests that could be done should it happen again and that they would be happy to make a referral to an exotics specialist to do this.

    All was well until this Saturday (5th August). I went to feed him at 7am (as usual) but he wasn't interested in any food at all. He was subdued and sleepy. (The night before - the Friday night at 11pm - when I checked on him he was in his hay tray munching away). We took him to the vet at 9am Sat, they kept him overnight and yesterday discharged him with meds. He's now at home, is eating, drinking and pooping, is a little subdued/ sleepy (but always is when he has painkillers). Once he's well the vet is going to get him referred to an exotics specialist.

    Has anyone else experienced anything similar?
    It happens quite quickly, so he will be fine, lively bright and active and then a few hours later stops eating and becomes subdued. There's no apparent teeth grinding. When the vet has felt his tummy it's always soft and not bloated. His weight has remained constant (vet weighing him each time) his coat is in good condition, eyes clear and bright and no obvious signs of skin or ear flakes/infection etc.

    His diet is hay, fresh mint, fresh lavender, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, dried herbs. No pellets, banana only to disguise meds (but not given at any other time). Willow sticks, willow log rolls, seagrass balls and water hyacinth chew mats. He is a house rabbit and lives in a room with his brother. The flooring is play mats with rugs on top and there are no signs of either being eaten. They have cardboard boxes to hide in and although nibbled I don't consider excessively so. They have plastic under the bed storage trays as litter trays (the trays are not chewed at all) and ceramic drinking bowls.

    Thank you for reading this far!

    Sarah x (and Rocky)

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper Jack's-Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarahbun View Post
    Hello fellow RUers,

    I'm asking for help as there are so many experienced rabbits carers on here that I'm hoping some of you may have come across something similar to what we're facing with our bun at the moment. I'd be very grateful for any suggestions, ideas or comments that you may have. Thanks in advance.

    Before I go into the details I'll start by explaining that the rabbit in question is going to be referred to an exotics specialist for further exploration / diagnosis. My questions on here are to help me to do everything I can to ensure that I get the best care for him.

    Rocky is a male, neutered rabbit, who is 2 and a half. He is a rescue rabbit and came to live with us (one of a bonded pair with his littermate and brother) when they were aged 9 months. Until February this year he has had no health problems (his brother has been fine throughout and continues to be so).

    08 Feb 2017 both rabbits were vaccinated (VHD2). 10 days later Rocky suddenly stopped eating. We took him to the vets within a few hours and he was hospitalised for 2 days before being sent home with meds (metacam painkiller, zantac antacid and emeprid gut stimulant). He recovered well and as was going through a heavy moult at the time and there some fur in his poo, the vet thought that might be the cause. Mar 2017 both rabbits were vaccinated (myxo / combi vac).

    At the start of July 2017 (5 months after the first episode) Rocky suddenly stopped eating, we went to the vets and as before he was hospitalised for a couple of days before coming home with meds.

    1 week later (so mid July 2017) he stopped eating (but was pooping) and on vet advice I gave him painkiller (metacam) at home and within a few hours he'd started eating again and was bright and responsive, displaying usual rabbit behaviour - grooming, eating hay, napping, running, jumping and binkying. That evening I updated the vet and she advised that we needed to determine the root cause of the GI stasis. The following day Rocky was admitted to the vets and had a general anaesthetic. They checked his teeth and found a small spur on one back tooth which they filed down. They x-rayed his abdomen, skull, hips/ spine and could find nothing that might be causing a problem. He recovered well from the GA and came home the same day. The vet advised that although the tooth had been filed they were unconvinced this was the cause of the GI as the spur was so small and hadn't caused any damage to his mouth/cheek and because the stopping eating was sudden. They were unable to take a blood sample. The vet thought perhaps there's something underlying such as EC but then dismissed it because in between bouts he's a lively, apparently well rabbit (and the vet would expect a rabbit to be a bit more poorly).The vet advised that there were further diagnostic tests that could be done should it happen again and that they would be happy to make a referral to an exotics specialist to do this.

    All was well until this Saturday (5th August). I went to feed him at 7am (as usual) but he wasn't interested in any food at all. He was subdued and sleepy. (The night before - the Friday night at 11pm - when I checked on him he was in his hay tray munching away). We took him to the vet at 9am Sat, they kept him overnight and yesterday discharged him with meds. He's now at home, is eating, drinking and pooping, is a little subdued/ sleepy (but always is when he has painkillers). Once he's well the vet is going to get him referred to an exotics specialist.

    Has anyone else experienced anything similar?
    It happens quite quickly, so he will be fine, lively bright and active and then a few hours later stops eating and becomes subdued. There's no apparent teeth grinding. When the vet has felt his tummy it's always soft and not bloated. His weight has remained constant (vet weighing him each time) his coat is in good condition, eyes clear and bright and no obvious signs of skin or ear flakes/infection etc.

    His diet is hay, fresh mint, fresh lavender, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, dried herbs. No pellets, banana only to disguise meds (but not given at any other time). Willow sticks, willow log rolls, seagrass balls and water hyacinth chew mats. He is a house rabbit and lives in a room with his brother. The flooring is play mats with rugs on top and there are no signs of either being eaten. They have cardboard boxes to hide in and although nibbled I don't consider excessively so. They have plastic under the bed storage trays as litter trays (the trays are not chewed at all) and ceramic drinking bowls.

    Thank you for reading this far!

    Sarah x (and Rocky)
    Poor Rocky

    I assume that bladder problems have been excluded ?

    What is his poo output like when he is 'well' ? Does he ever pass large abnormal shaped fecal poo ?

    Strange question, but what colour is he ?

  3. #3
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarahbun View Post
    Hello fellow RUers,

    I'm asking for help as there are so many experienced rabbits carers on here that I'm hoping some of you may have come across something similar to what we're facing with our bun at the moment. I'd be very grateful for any suggestions, ideas or comments that you may have. Thanks in advance.

    Before I go into the details I'll start by explaining that the rabbit in question is going to be referred to an exotics specialist for further exploration / diagnosis. My questions on here are to help me to do everything I can to ensure that I get the best care for him.

    Rocky is a male, neutered rabbit, who is 2 and a half. He is a rescue rabbit and came to live with us (one of a bonded pair with his littermate and brother) when they were aged 9 months. Until February this year he has had no health problems (his brother has been fine throughout and continues to be so).

    08 Feb 2017 both rabbits were vaccinated (VHD2). 10 days later Rocky suddenly stopped eating. We took him to the vets within a few hours and he was hospitalised for 2 days before being sent home with meds (metacam painkiller, zantac antacid and emeprid gut stimulant). He recovered well and as was going through a heavy moult at the time and there some fur in his poo, the vet thought that might be the cause. Mar 2017 both rabbits were vaccinated (myxo / combi vac).

    At the start of July 2017 (5 months after the first episode) Rocky suddenly stopped eating, we went to the vets and as before he was hospitalised for a couple of days before coming home with meds.

    1 week later (so mid July 2017) he stopped eating (but was pooping) and on vet advice I gave him painkiller (metacam) at home and within a few hours he'd started eating again and was bright and responsive, displaying usual rabbit behaviour - grooming, eating hay, napping, running, jumping and binkying. That evening I updated the vet and she advised that we needed to determine the root cause of the GI stasis. The following day Rocky was admitted to the vets and had a general anaesthetic. They checked his teeth and found a small spur on one back tooth which they filed down. They x-rayed his abdomen, skull, hips/ spine and could find nothing that might be causing a problem. He recovered well from the GA and came home the same day. The vet advised that although the tooth had been filed they were unconvinced this was the cause of the GI as the spur was so small and hadn't caused any damage to his mouth/cheek and because the stopping eating was sudden. They were unable to take a blood sample. The vet thought perhaps there's something underlying such as EC but then dismissed it because in between bouts he's a lively, apparently well rabbit (and the vet would expect a rabbit to be a bit more poorly).The vet advised that there were further diagnostic tests that could be done should it happen again and that they would be happy to make a referral to an exotics specialist to do this.

    All was well until this Saturday (5th August). I went to feed him at 7am (as usual) but he wasn't interested in any food at all. He was subdued and sleepy. (The night before - the Friday night at 11pm - when I checked on him he was in his hay tray munching away). We took him to the vet at 9am Sat, they kept him overnight and yesterday discharged him with meds. He's now at home, is eating, drinking and pooping, is a little subdued/ sleepy (but always is when he has painkillers). Once he's well the vet is going to get him referred to an exotics specialist.

    Has anyone else experienced anything similar?
    It happens quite quickly, so he will be fine, lively bright and active and then a few hours later stops eating and becomes subdued. There's no apparent teeth grinding. When the vet has felt his tummy it's always soft and not bloated. His weight has remained constant (vet weighing him each time) his coat is in good condition, eyes clear and bright and no obvious signs of skin or ear flakes/infection etc.

    His diet is hay, fresh mint, fresh lavender, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, dried herbs. No pellets, banana only to disguise meds (but not given at any other time). Willow sticks, willow log rolls, seagrass balls and water hyacinth chew mats. He is a house rabbit and lives in a room with his brother. The flooring is play mats with rugs on top and there are no signs of either being eaten. They have cardboard boxes to hide in and although nibbled I don't consider excessively so. They have plastic under the bed storage trays as litter trays (the trays are not chewed at all) and ceramic drinking bowls.

    Thank you for reading this far!

    Sarah x (and Rocky)


    Hi Sarah and Rocky

    I wonder whether your vet has excluded Megacolon syndrome?

    http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_dise...ga/mega_en.htm

    There are some differential diagnoses here:

    http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_dise...fferential.htm

    Or caecal dysbiosis?

    http://rabbit.org/disorders-of-the-cecum/

    One more link

    http://www.vgr1.com/megacolon/

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack's-Jane View Post
    Poor Rocky

    I assume that bladder problems have been excluded ?

    What is his poo output like when he is 'well' ? Does he ever pass large abnormal shaped fecal poo ?

    Strange question, but what colour is he ?
    Hello Jane,
    No, not ruled out bladder problems, so will make sure that's covered.
    When he's well he produces regular/ round uniform size and shape golden poop. (having read the links from MightyMax - just to add, his poo is not watery or spongy, but dry. I've never seen his cecotropes (he eats them and has never left any in trays etc.) and he hasn't had a mucky bum in the time I've cared for him and RSPCA didn't mention this as having been a problem for him). When he first came to live with us he did have a couple of occasions when he produced a tiny (by this I mean spots) of brown liquid with his poo, but I took pellets out of his diet and he hasn't produced anything similar since).

    He is agouti colour.
    Thanks x
    Last edited by Sarahbun; 07-08-2017 at 04:57 PM.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
    Hi Sarah and Rocky

    I wonder whether your vet has excluded Megacolon syndrome?

    http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_dise...ga/mega_en.htm

    There are some differential diagnoses here:

    http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/GI_dise...fferential.htm

    Or caecal dysbiosis?

    http://rabbit.org/disorders-of-the-cecum/

    One more link

    http://www.vgr1.com/megacolon/
    Thanks MightyMax I'll have a read of these now x

  6. #6
    Warren Scout Compass's Avatar
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    I'm having something very similar with my rabbit. Last year he stopped eating although it seemed to be a progressive disinterest in food. He had GA and they found a very small spur and he had it ground down, he then went in a few weeks later with the same problem and they thought the other tooth on the other side may have grown out slightly (they said this sometimes happens when having one tooth filed). Anyway thereafter it took him a long while to recover and he was never back to his usual self (he always ate tonnes of hay and gobbled all his food at once - now he is a grazer and will only eat readigrass hay). One year later and he started to stop eating within minutes of jumping/binkying and was rubbing his belly on the floor. We took him to the vets and they couldn't find anything wrong with him. He even had his teeth checked under GA and no cause found. He had pain relief and it quickly subsided. However, since then it has happened about 10 times and is now happening on quite a regular basis. The vet seemed to think it may be gas and suggested pain relief at home (as I kept taking him to the vet with no cause found) and if it didn't improve within 12 -24hrs to bring him in. So we have done this and it usually improves within hours and he starts to eat again. We give him Metacam and Zantac and he goes back to normal. we took him to the vet again just to be sure we weren't missing anything and again nothing could be found. As it becoming more frequent I am concerned and am wondering what to do. We are going to taking him back again to the vet next week. We noticed it comes on very quickly and sometimes he seems to let out gas from his bottom. He is also pooping uneaten caecotrophs when he gets this gas. He is a ginger spotted white domestic rabbit who is at least 6 years old. We don't really want to put him through surgery given if we can manage it with medications but we will discuss options with the vet soon. I would be really interested to know what happens with your rabbit...
    Last edited by Compass; 07-08-2017 at 05:20 PM.
    A collector of Rescue Bunnies 'Brie', 'Biscuit', 'Pickle' and newbie 'Bagel'

    Binky in Peace Pedney and Cheddar

  7. #7
    Warren Scout Compass's Avatar
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    He eats only two dessert spoons of Excel nuggets each day, fresh parsley kale and readigrass - He doesn't seem to eat as much hay as he used too but his weight is stable and he seems to graze more throughout the day.
    A collector of Rescue Bunnies 'Brie', 'Biscuit', 'Pickle' and newbie 'Bagel'

    Binky in Peace Pedney and Cheddar

  8. #8
    Wise Old Thumper MightyMax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarahbun View Post
    Thanks MightyMax I'll have a read of these now x

    Hope there's something helpful there, if only to eliminate what doesn't sound right

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Compass View Post
    I'm having something very similar with my rabbit. Last year he stopped eating although it seemed to be a progressive disinterest in food. He had GA and they found a very small spur and he had it ground down, he then went in a few weeks later with the same problem and they thought the other tooth on the other side may have grown out slightly (they said this sometimes happens when having one tooth filed). Anyway thereafter it took him a long while to recover and he was never back to his usual self (he always ate tonnes of hay and gobbled all his food at once - now he is a grazer and will only eat readigrass hay). One year later and he started to stop eating within minutes of jumping/binkying and was rubbing his belly on the floor. We took him to the vets and they couldn't find anything wrong with him. He even had his teeth checked under GA and no cause found. He had pain relief and it quickly subsided. However, since then it has happened about 10 times and is now happening on quite a regular basis. The vet seemed to think it may be gas and suggested pain relief at home (as I kept taking him to the vet with no cause found) and if it didn't improve within 12 -24hrs to bring him in. So we have done this and it usually improves within hours and he starts to eat again. We give him Metacam and Zantac and he goes back to normal. we took him to the vet again just to be sure we weren't missing anything and again nothing could be found. As it becoming more frequent I am concerned and am wondering what to do. We are going to taking him back again to the vet next week. We noticed it comes on very quickly and sometimes he seems to let out gas from his bottom. He is also pooping uneaten caecotrophs when he gets this gas. He is a ginger spotted white domestic rabbit who is at least 6 years old. We don't really want to put him through surgery given if we can manage it with medications but we will discuss options with the vet soon. I would be really interested to know what happens with your rabbit...
    I'll let you know how we get on. It's worrying isn't it? I hope everything works out okay for you x

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
    Hope there's something helpful there, if only to eliminate what doesn't sound right

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