If a rabbit is suffering from diarrhea, the problem is serious. In fact, in rabbits, diarrhea can be lethal if not treated properly because it could dehydrate the rabbit. Dehydration, in turn, can bring with it an avalanche of other problems.
Diarrhea is rare in adult rabbits and is in fact more common among younger rabbits. It can show up quickly and cause death within hours. If your bunny suffers from diarrhea, keep a close watch on it and if you notice symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or sluggish stools, take it to an experienced vet immediately.
Diarrhea occurs with liquid and soft stools. It could be caused by the following:
- Intestinal parasites or inflammation of the intestines
- Stress or trauma
- Poor diet or malnutrition.
Remember, a bunny’s diet must be balanced; should not take more than 50g per 4 pounds of fruit per day, an average of 150-200g of mixed vegetables per day, hay and water in unlimited quantities, and high-quality pellets according to weight and age.
Address diarrhea in the rabbit
If you have confirmation that your rabbit has diarrhea, keep it hydrated first. The diarrhea is usually caused by a poor diet or gastric irritation, both consequences of a dietary change or a little hygienic environment.
Diarrhea should not be taken in the leg. While making sure your bunny is hydrated enough, continually update your vet on what’s going on and get the rabbit to eat right, as well as keep it in a calm, safe, and clean environment.
Diet management is very important. The diet must be high in fiber which will help correct the balance of nutrients directed to the cecum for fermentation. They will also keep the population of “good” bacteria in balance.
A low-fiber diet could unbalance the fermentation process and thus produce a malignant toxin which consequently produces the bacteria that cause diarrhea, dehydration, and, in the worst cases, death.
Have you noticed that the temperature, a change in food, or a trip has stressed your bunny? Did it make it more irritable and susceptible to diarrhea?
Don’t act alone without your vet’s advice. Using certain antibiotics could alter the population of microorganisms in the cecum and destroy the good bacteria and consequently allow an increase in the number of toxins that generate the bad bacteria.
If antibiotics are needed due to an illness, use only those suitable for rabbits – obviously recommended by your vet. Don’t use antibiotics continuously just for prevention.
The best home treatment would be to fast the bunny for 2-3 days with only water and small doses of hay.
If your bunny’s stool improves, start gradually letting it eat its food in small doses until it slowly returns to normal over a 2-3 day period. If the situation gets worse or stays the same, call your vet.
Prevention and treatment of diarrhea
The best way to care for a pet and prevent diarrhea is by ensuring a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. Limit food intake for all your rabbits, except nursing and newly weaned bunnies, who need to eat when they feel the need.
Living in a clean environment is also important to prevent diarrhea. Make sure your rabbit has a “den” of its own in which it can live safely away from predators.
When it comes to nutrition, you shouldn’t change it in a hurry because rabbits have very sensitive stomachs and any too rash change could upset their digestive system. Experts recommend adopting and implementing dietary changes very slowly, over a period of 7-10 days. This way your bunny – and especially his digestive system – will have time to adapt.
You will have to gradually increase the new, and gradually reduce the old. The same goes for weaning. Rabbits value habits a lot when it comes to eating, so try to establish a routine and always feed them at the same time – preferably in the evening, given your bunny’s nocturnal nature.
Remember the following tips:
- Try to serve a mix of three different vegetables every day.
- The foods that contain a lot of sugar, such as fruit, must be served occasionally as a “treat.”
- Give the rabbit only foods that are organic, clean, and safe.
- Any food that causes diarrhea must be immediately removed from the diet!