GI Stasis in Pet Rabbits: What you need to know

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There are lots of different health conditions that can be problematic for rabbits, including GI stasis.

It is important that you learn about this particular medical condition, as it could affect your furry friend one day.

This article will detail everything you need to know.

What Exactly is GI Stasis?

GI or gastrointestinal stasis is a medical condition that causes an animal’s digestive system to slow down or cease functioning altogether. This means that it is extremely serious and should be treated as such.

This condition can occur at any point during a rabbit’s life, though it is more common in older rabbits. As bacteria accumulate in the animal’s intestines, a large amount of gas is released. This causes your rabbit to become bloated, which can be very painful for them.

As the condition becomes worse, the rabbit will stop eating and drinking entirely. Eventually they will starve to death if they do not receive proper treatment.

What Causes Gi Stasis?

There are a number of things that can cause GI stasis that you’ll want to know about. 

1. Improper Diet

One of the most common reasons that rabbits develop this health problem is because they are being fed an improper diet. If your rabbit is not getting enough fiber in the food they eat each day, they can develop GI stasis very quickly.

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2. Stress

Extreme stress can also cause a rabbit’s digestive system to slow down to a crawl. These animals often become stressed as a result of a sudden change in their environment. Stress and anxiety can have a real physical impact on your pet’s health.

It is important that you try to introduce any changes into your rabbit’s daily routine gradually. This will greatly reduce the chances of triggering a severe stress reaction.

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3. Pain

If your rabbit is experiencing pain from dental problems or something else, their digestive system could be affected. A broken or infected tooth could be the culprit. You will therefore want to look for swelling around any of their teeth on the gums.

4. Lack of Physical Activity

A lack of exercise can definitely have a negative impact on your rabbit’s digestive system. You will need to make sure that they have plenty of space in their habitat to hop around.

It is also important to let your rabbit out of its cage sometimes to explore the house. Regular physical activity is a crucial part of keeping your rabbit healthy over the long term.

Symptoms of GI stasis

Some of the most common signs of GI stasis in rabbits include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Change in the appearance of your rabbit’s feces
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Hunched over posture

If you notice any of these symptoms in your rabbit, it is important that you get them to the vet right away. The sooner you do this, the more likely it is that they can be treated successfully.

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How is GI Stasis Treated?

GI stasis can be treated in a number of ways, depending on its cause and severity. Your veterinarian will be able to make a recommendation based on the tests they run on your rabbit.

  • Medications: Your vet will likely prescribe certain medications to help with the discomfort that your rabbit is experiencing.
  • IV Fluids: There’s also a good chance that your rabbit will be given IV fluids to make the mess in their intestines softer.
  • Antibiotics: Veterinarians typically prescribe powerful antibiotics to rabbits with GI stasis. This kills the harmful bacteria that have built up in their digestive system. It is very effective in a majority of cases.
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How to Keep Your Rabbit from Getting GI Stasis

1. A Nutritious Diet

There are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to preventing GI stasis in your rabbit. This includes keeping them on a healthy, well-balanced, high-fiber diet. You need to choose the food you give your rabbit very carefully.

Your rabbit should be given certain types of hay on a daily basis. This will make up a vast majority of their diet. You can give them oat hay or even timothy. It’s also good to give your rabbit the occasional piece of fruit or vegetable to supplement their diet.

2. Plenty of Exercise

It is also crucial to make sure that your bunny is getting adequate physical activity on a regular basis. This can really help with keeping their immune system strong, making it less likely that they will develop this condition. Make sure that you let them hop around the house once in a while.

3. Regular Vet Visits

You need to make a point of taking your rabbit to the vet for regular checkups as well. This can really help with maintaining their overall health. If your rabbit has some serious health problem, you’ll want to know about it sooner rather than later.

When you take your rabbit to the vet for a checkup, they will look over them and run tests to make sure there are no major problems. Your veterinarian should be able to catch something like GI stasis on a routine examination.

Conclusion

  • GI stasis is a very serious condition that affects a rabbit’s digest system.
  • Bacteria accumulate in the rabbit’s digestive tracts, causing them to stop eating and drinking.
  • Some of the most common signs of this condition in rabbits include lethargic behavior, lack of appetite, and a hunched over posture.
  • There are lots of potential causes of this condition, including improper diet and lack of exercise.
  • Even extreme stress and anxiety can cause problems with your rabbit’s digestive system.
  • GI stasis is usually treated with powerful antibiotics and IV fluids.
  • Your veterinarian might want to keep your rabbit overnight for observation if they have a severe enough case.
  • Make sure that you keep your rabbit on a high-fiber diet.
  • You also want your rabbit to get a good amount of exercise on a daily basis.
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