Pet rabbits often require special attention and care because of the way their digestive system is set up. One of the problems they may frequently develop, which could be painful and deadly, is Gastrointestinal (GI) stasis; this ailment can come on gradually or suddenly with little notice. However, it can be prevented with proper care. Here is more information about this condition and how it can be prevented.
What is GI Stasis?
GI stasis occurs when the conditions and speed of digestion change and cause the stomach to lose fluids. When this happens, its contents bind up and become difficult to digest. Eventually, the digestion process may slow down or stop completely. Bacteria then begins to build up and cause bloating and pain. Your rabbit may refuse to eat and will either slow down or stop defecating.
How Do Rabbits Get GI Stasis?
The most common cause is a diet too high in carbohydrates and fat and not enough fiber, such as a nearly all-pellet diet. Rabbits need to have adequate fiber in order to aid the digestion system. Other causes include high levels of stress, tooth or mouth problems and a lack of exercise.
How is GI Stasis Treated?
Your veterinarian will do an examination and possibly take x-rays to determine the amount of gas and blockage that exists. Depending on the severity of the infection, fluids will either be administered intravenously or through a syringe to help get the digestion system moving. He or she may also give medication to speed up the process. You may also be asked to continue the treatment at home until your pet begins to eat normally again.
How Can GI Stasis be Prevented?
GI stasis can be prevented by making sure your rabbit has plenty of high-fiber foods such as hay. Hay also has the added benefit of keeping your rabbit's teeth worn down enough to prevent mouth problems. Your pet will also need regular exercise to keep his digestive system active. Make sure to lower your rabbit's stress level by keeping activity and changes to the living environment quiet and consistent.
GI stasis can happen to just about any pet rabbit and it can be deadly, so it's important that you prevent the problem from happening. Make sure you are providing the right types of food and always keep an eye on your pet's condition and appetite. If you think your rabbit has this ailment or any other type of problem, then contact your veterinarian to have your pet rabbit examined. To learn more, contact an animal hospital like Buck Road Animal Hospital.