How to Treat Rabbit Ileus, a Common Gastrointestinal Disorder

How to Treat Rabbit Ileus, a Common Gastrointestinal Disorder

Here we can see, “How to Treat Rabbit Ileus, a Common Gastrointestinal Disorder”

Because of their proclivity for ileus, also known as gastrointestinal stasis, rabbits are often referred to as “guts with fur.” When something goes wrong in a rabbit’s body, the intestines—or guts—are usually the first to suffer.

What exactly is Ileus?

Ileus, or gastrointestinal stasis, occurs when a rabbit’s intestines cease transporting food out through the colon and finally the rectum. A rabbit should always be eating and defecating, but if they don’t do either of those things, the bacteria in their intestines produce excessive gas. This gas is unpleasant and makes your rabbit want to eat less. Because rabbits cannot vomit, their owners must use drugs and stimulation to help them get the food and gas out of their bodies.

Ileus Treatment Medications

Along with pain medicine, your exotic veterinarian may give gut motility treatments like metoclopramide (Reglan) or cisapride (not widely available). Dehydration may be treated with fluids and medicines to reduce gas production, such as simethicone (Gas-X), may be prescribed. If your rabbit isn’t eating, you’ll need to force-feed him because food must be pushed in to get waste out.

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Ileus Management and Treatment

You should treat your rabbit as an ileus case until it is eating and defecating normally. Your rabbit will be back to normal in no time with prompt intervention and correct care. Ileus can be fatal if left untreated, so you should begin medication within 24 hours of your rabbit’s not eating or defecating. Start with syringe feeding (mixed veggie baby food or Critical Care) and offering water in a dish or through a syringe if you can’t get into an exotic vet in that time period.

Because rabbits with ileus are more likely to get too cold, which can slow or stop their recovery, it is very important to keep them warm or give them extra heat.

Best Rabbit Foods for Ileus

For rabbits with ileus, Oxbow Critical Care is a popular and successful option. It’s a powdered hay blend that you mix with water. It provides more complete nutrition than comparable goods, and rabbits often enjoy it. It comes in two flavours: anise (the original) and apple-banana, and is fed via a syringe.

If your rabbit refuses to take critical care or you don’t have any, you can substitute ground rabbit pellets mixed with water or mixed vegetable baby food (without potato or starch). Your veterinarian will advise you how much food to syringe-feed your rabbit, but it should be around 20–30 mL twice a day. It could be less if your rabbit eats a little on its own.

EmerAid Intensive Care Unit Herbivore is another alternative your vet may suggest.

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Ileus Prevention: What Should a Rabbit Eat?

Every day, rabbits should consume a mound of grass hay the size of their bodies (timothy, orchard, Bermuda, etc.). (if not more). The calcium content of alfalfa hay is too high for an adult rabbit. Fresh, dark, leafy greens (dandelion greens, kale, escarole, endive, parsley, etc.) should also be provided at a rate of around 1 cup per five pounds of body weight each day.

Pellets are the smallest component of a rabbit’s diet. A pet rabbit can only eat 1/4 cup of pellets per day. Fruit is a nice treat, but broccoli, cauliflower, and other gas-forming veggies should be avoided. Soaking the leafy greens in a dish of water can also help them drink more water.

Ileus and Exercise

Exercise should be promoted for a rabbit with ileus. Create plenty of secure areas for your rabbit to run around in, or at the very least, massage your rabbit’s tummy to encourage its guts to move food.

Other Diseases With Ileus

It’s possible that Ileus isn’t the only reason your rabbit isn’t eating or defecating. It could have an enlarged set of teeth, a bladder stone, or simply be agitated. It’s critical to diagnose the cause of your rabbit’s ileus rather than just treating the ileus, because the ileus may not go away and your rabbit may contract it again.

User Questions

How do you treat GI stasis in rabbits at home?

Prevention is the greatest remedy for GI stasis. Fresh grass hay should provide sufficient dietary fibre for your rabbit. Feed pellets with a high fibre content (at least 22% crude fibre). Make sure your rabbit gets enough water to keep the ingested food hydrated and moving smoothly.

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Can you give rabbits laxatives?

Under no circumstances should rabbits or other herbivores be given laxatives. Unlike a cat’s “hairball, which is mostly made up of hair from grooming, a rabbit’s “hairball” might also contain pellets, hay, and other items that it ate.

How do you treat digestive problems in rabbits?

Orally administered fluids include critical care gruel, electrolyte solution, and diluted fruit juice. More badly injured rabbits may require intravenous or subcutaneous fluids. Pain can cause gut stasis, and gut stasis is an unpleasant condition in and of itself. Therefore, pain alleviation is critical.

Can rabbits survive GI stasis?

A rabbit suffering from GI stasis can achieve a full recovery with these medicines, time, and patience. However, it is critical to notice the signs early and take your rabbit to a rabbit-friendly veterinarian for treatment.

How long does it take for antibiotics to work in rabbits?

If some strains of pathogenic bacteria are present, they will create poisons that can kill the rabbit. This two-step process can take up to ten days after treatment to kill the rabbit, making it hard for vets who don’t know much about rabbits to figure out what the problem was in the first place.


I hope you found this helpful guide. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the form below.


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