Rabbit Digestive Care

Posted on 09/23/2016 - 10:42 by Kara

Hairballs in rabbits are quite a serious problem and preventing them is much easier and less costly than treating once they have formed. While grooming, rabbits can ingest a significant amount of hair which accumulates in the stomach; and unlike cats, rabbits cannot vomit so if the hair doesn't move through the stomach into the intestines it can form a large mass in the stomach. This mass is medically known as a Trichobezoar or more commonly referred to as "wool block". Keep in mind that a mass like this can also be formed by undigested food if your rabbit is kept on the wrong diet. These masses prevent your rabbit from properly digesting food causing them to become very ill and may even result in death.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Rabbits affected by hairballs or other matter accumulating in their stomach will often have little to no appetite and defecate less than usual.

  • The rabbit may appear lethargic and depressed.

  • If anything seems out of the ordinary the best is to take them to the nearest vet; numerous other digestive problems can arise if your rabbit isn't eating and the rabbit's health can deteriorate quite quickly.

Prevention

  • Ensure they are fed a high fibre and low carbohydrate diet as this stimulates mobility of the intestinal tract and will keep food as well as hair moving through their stomach.

  • Gastrointestinal mobility and digestion is also aided by lots of exercise, so ensure daily playtime outside of their cage.

  • Regular brushing is a must to get rid of the extra hair that could potentially be swallowed, especially during a heavy shedding period.

  • Keep your rabbits in a quiet, clean and stress-free environment as external factors may also cause digestive health complications.

  • Protexin Soluble is also a good way to ensure the health of your rabbit as it is a Multi-Strain Probiotic for all animals, it helps to boost their immunity while ensuring the beneficial balance for their digestive tract. You can find this item in-store or online at http://www.vetsmart.co.za/product/kyron-protexin-soluble.

Feeding your pet rabbit

As mentioned earlier a high fibre diet is key, this includes fresh grass hay and vegetables. Pellets may also be included but cannot be the only source of food as pellets do not have enough fiber to stimulate intestinal functions adequately and can lead to digestive problems. Anything other than hay, pellets and vegetables should be considered a treat that should be fed in moderation as the digestive system of rabbits is highly susceptible to serious upsets if the incorrect diet is followed.

Hay

We recommend starting baby bunnies on Alfalfa hay and introducing grass hays to them when they are about 6-7 months of age as the Alfalfa hay is higher in calcium and protein, but lower in fibre. By the time your rabbit is 1 year old he/she should be solely on grass hays. Some rabbits might be reluctant to eat the grass hay so you should try mixing it with the Alfalfa and slowly reducing the amount of Alfalfa in the mix. You can find Alfalfa hay here: http://www.vetsmart.co.za/product/hamster-rabbit-hay-lusern-1kg.

Vegetables

Vegetables form a large portion of the diet for these cuddle buddies and depending on the size of your rabbit, roughly 3 cups of fresh veggies a day is needed. A number of different veggies should be included to ensure a well balanced diet. Suggested vegetables would be carrots, broccoli, parsley and turnip greens. Vegetables such as kale and spinach are also good but should be limited to 3 times a week as they are high in oxalates (organic acids). There are a few vegetables to be avoided, these include rhubarb, cauliflower, cabbage and potatoes as they may cause digestive complications. Vegetables may be introduced to bunnies around the age of 12-13 weeks but only in small quantities to determine what types of vegetables may cause stomach upsets. For an easier feeding solution, consider a balanced food mix that contains all the essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and amino acids; as well as extra fibre, herbs, vegetables, fruits and health-boosting supplements to support your rabbit's healthy digestion, good dental hygiene, shiny fur and overall good health such as Cuni Rabbit Nature food (http://www.vetsmart.co.za/product/cuni-rabbit-nature-750g)

Pellets

Pellets are high in calories so house rabbits should not be fed an unlimited amount, however, they are still rich in nutrients so added (in the correct proportions) to the hay and vegetables it can make up a balanced rabbit diet. You can purchase rabbit pellets at http://www.vetsmart.co.za/product/rabbit-pellets-2kg

Please note that the above information only contains suggestions regarding rabbit feeding guidelines, it is always best to consult a professional in order to determine what is best for your rabbit's health and happiness.

 

*Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a consultation with your veterinarian. It is best to contact your veterinarian immediately should you have any concerns or queries regarding your pet's health.

*Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a consultation with your veterinarian. It is best to contact your veterinarian immediately should you have any concerns or queries regarding your pet's health.

 

- See more at: http://www.vetsmart.co.za/content/dangerous-foods-your-pets#sthash.14GVI...

*Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a consultation with your veterinarian. It is best to contact your veterinarian immediately should you have any concerns or queries regarding your pet's health.

 

- See more at: http://www.vetsmart.co.za/content/dangerous-foods-your-pets#sthash.14GVI...