Feeding Rabbits

Rabbits are one of the more common smaller pets that we see here at the emergency clinic.  And the most common problem we see with rabbits has to do with their digestive tract.  Rabbits need to eat constantly to keep their digestive tract moving.  If their digestive tract stops they can get very ill.  As a matter of fact it is a life threatening problem.  There are many problems that can wait for your regular vet to open the next day.  This is not one of them.  The sooner your rabbit is treated with fluids, special food and injections to get the gut moving again the better the chances of recovery.

This problem is complicated by the fact that bunnies tend to hide if they are sick.  In the wild this is a protective mechanism.  Therefore any of the following signs can be a warning sign: not eating or only eating treats, pellets larger or smaller than usual, diarrhea or softer pellets, change in behavior, hiding, increasing or decreasing water consumption.

Preventing the problem is of course best.  Always have Timothy hay and water available.  Pellets can be fattening and should be limited.  Too many greens can cause diarrhea.  Apples and carrots can be given as treats very infrequently.

Another way to prevent problems is to provide chew toys.  Rabbit’s teeth never stop growing and they must chew to wear them down.  Also have your regular vet check the teeth for signs of dental disease to prevent problems with eating.

Please don’t hesitate to call us (310 320 8300) or come in if you are concerned about your rabbit.

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