The following are points you may like to discuss with your vet when seeking treatment:
Anorexia (loss of appetite) is a symptom of pain in Rabbits. It needs IMMEDIATE Veterinary Attention. Your Vet should :
1 Examine your Rabbits abdomen feeling for abnormalities (including palpation of the bladder to check for bladder sludge or stones) and listen for gut sounds with a stethescope. Also check Rabbits bum for signs of scouring. If possible obtaining a urine specimen and testing it for infection.
2 Examine your Rabbits Teeth (using an special instrument to view the molar teeth or 'back' teeth). Also feel all around your Rabbits jaw and cheeks for signs of pain
3 Check your Rabbits Temperature (Rabbits in pain often have an abnormally low temperature)
4 Listen to your Rabbits Heart and Lungs via a stethescope
5 Check your Rabbits ears for signs of infection
6 Check that your Rabbit is not dehydrated
Your Vet should also ask you what you feed your Rabbit and if they have recently been given a new type of food. Also if you have noticed any change in your Rabbits toileting behaviour.
Reduced gut motility or GI Stasis is often a SECONDARY SYMPTOM of another PRIMARY PROBLEM. The primary problem is often related to a dietray issue or a Dental problem. Treating the GI Stasis in the first instance is obviously necessary and this should include a gut motility stimulant and pain relief. Medication MUST be given by injection to Buns with reduced gut motility. Oral meds wont be absorbed if the GI tract is not functioning effeciently. It is then important to try to identify the CAUSE of the GI malfunction.
If your Vet also prescribes antibiotics do not be affraid to ask 'WHY' Without clinical evidence of bacterial infection Rabbit specialists believe antibiotic use in treating GI Stasis is inadvisable.
Your Vet should also explain the importance of syringe feeding an Anorexic Rabbit and give advice as to how much and how often. Probiotics to balance the 'healthy gut bacteria' may also be prescribed. The 'old fashioned' idea was to feed the Bun live yoghurt. But Rabbits are Lactose (milk sugar) intolerent and so a probiotic like Bio-Lapis is more appropriate.
If you are not happy with, or do not understand what your Vet advises or prescribes for your Rabbit do not be affraid to say so.
Written by Jane, Feb 2007.