• emeraldcityrabbitry

GI Stasis: The Silent Killer

Because rabbits are prey animals, they tend to hide pain extremely well. This is why it is critical to monitor your rabbit's body language and habits to know when it is necessary to visit the vet!



Causes

Gastrointestinal (GI) stasis is a potentially deadly condition in which the digestive system slows down or stops. The leading causes of GI stasis in rabbits are a high starch / low fiber diet, stress, pain from underlying conditions, or lack of exercise.


Treatment

If your rabbit is demonstrating symptoms of GI stasis, the best thing you can do is take them to your rabbit savvy vet who will administer motility drugs, IV fluids, pain medication, and antibiotics. You may be wondering - is there anything I can do at home if my vet is not accessible? While this advice is not intended to replace proper veterinary care, pineapple juice and Critical Care can be syringe-fed to help improve symptoms. Belly massages can help pass the blockage if it is not a large obstruction. When a rabbit is in stasis, their body temperature can drop quickly so it is important to keep them warm and hydrated!


Prevention

The best way to prevent stasis is to feed a well-balanced diet, consisting primarily of Timothy hay. Make sure to groom your bunny often (especially during molting) to prevent any hairballs from forming. Bringing your rabbit in for regular veterinary checkups can help eliminate underlying health conditions. Lastly, evaluate your rabbits' environment and ensure there is plenty of room for exercise!