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loud noises from bunny, suspected gas

22 9:53:00


Dear Dana,

Since you helped save my bunny Vijfje a few years ago when he was suffering from an enormous bladder stone, I thought I would try and aks for your help again.

I know it says here not to ask for help in an emergency, but I live in the NL and for the past few years I haven't been able to find a good vet that seems to know how to deal with bunnies. Last time Vijfje was ill it took the vet 6 weeks to figure out what the problem was, and that was only after I showed him your reply to my question.

A few days ago I noticed my bunny Vijfje hadn't eaten all his food. I figured he might be stressed from all the fireworks at New Year's but decided to keep an eye on it. I then noticed that his droppings were getting smaller as well and I saw a few of those large, darker ones in the cage as well. I then knew he must not be feeling well.

I watched his water intake closely (last time with the bladder stone he stopped drinking water, so that was my first suspected cause of the no eating) but he seems to be drinking fine. I then offered him his favourite treat but he wasn't interested. Then I knew something was really wrong.

After I searched the net I got the suspicion he might be having gas. I called the vet immediately to ask wether they sold simeticon or similar against gas in bunnies but they said they didn't and urged me to make an appointment instead. The first available opening they had was in two days however and I didn't want to wait that long. I then continued to search the net and found out I could buy simeticon in a drugstore.

I bought it and started administering this as per the instructions. I have been doing this for two days but whereas first I thought it was helping and Vijfje was eating some parsley afterwards, it now seems like to gas is not going away and the loud noises in his belly only seem to get more frequent.

I am doing everything according to the instructions, massaging his belly and feeding him fibers, but he still doesn't really eat on his own and he looks very thin and miserable, the way he is laying around in his cage all the time.  He does poo but not nearly as much as usual and the droppings are either very tiny or big, soft lumps.

He is six years old, between 3.5 pounds (see attached picture).

Is there anything else I should be doing or can the loud noises and the no eating be caused by anything other than gas? I would really like your opinion first as you helped me so well last time, before I put my bunny through the stress of going to the vet, who I am not very confident in to begin with.

Could you please let me know what you think?
I will be keeping an extra close eye on him this weekend and will contine the forcefeeding and the medication. If things don't improve I will take him to the vet first thing on Monday.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story!

Kind regards,

Dear Ellen,

If your bunny has gas, then there is a reason for this.  And the most common reason for a relatively sudden onset like this is that his gastrointestinal (GI) tract is slowing down.  Please read:

Though he is not now producing mushy cecotropes, many of the thing that cause cecal dysbiosis (described in the article) also cause gas.  So there are some avenues for you to pursue.

Vijfje is at the age when many dwarf rabbits develop painful molar spurs.  Please read:

I would try to find a vet who is familiar with rabbit dental problems and can look deep into the mouth to check for spurs poking into the tongue (bottom teeth) or into the cheek (top teeth). These can be filed, but it might require anesthesia.  

If the teeth are fine (and you MUST have a very experienced rabbit vet who knows what s/he is looking for!), then on to bloodwork to check for other cryptic health problems that could be eliciting GI slowdown and gas.

Please also see:

Ileus is the complete cessation of GI tract movement, and slowing down can be a prelude to this life-threatening condition.  The treatments in the article above will help get your bunny's intestines moving again, and then you can proceed to find out what actually *triggered* the GI slowdown in the first place.

I hope this helps.