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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11427
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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I'm concerned about my rabbit, he is a 2 year old dwarf mix

Customer Question

Hi, I'm concerned about my rabbit, he is a 2 year old dwarf mix (I think maybe Florida and Himalayan) and he's taken a sudden turn this evening. Earlier he and his cage mate were having their roaming time just fine but after they went back into their hutch he suddenly couldn't seem to make himself comfortable and was breathing very fast and very quickly as though he was stressed. He kept flopping over and moving again, flopping over and moving again, all the time fast breathing, but he seemed limp on his feet and for a moment I was worried he was losing feeling in his hind legs! He was that slippy and uneasy on his feet. This carried on for the last half hour or so and while I've been consoling him I've noticed his ears feel quite cold and he's not been eating anything I've offered him. He has spent the last 15 mins or so in a corner of the hutch with his ears straight up, eyes squinting and hunched up or laid down. He is occasionally very quietly grinding his teeth. I have some Metacam on hand that is still in date (got it from the vet when his cage mate was spayed in case I needed it) so I have issued 10ml of that to him, by mouth, as directed on the label and by my vet. I'm hoping this will get him through the night in minimal pain because it seems to me as though something is causing him pain, normally I would dismiss the flopping over and occasional teeth crunching as contentment but I just have this feeling that something isn't right but isn't quite serious enough for the emergency vet? As far as I can tell he is passing faeces normally aswell.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with over 40 years of experience raising and showing rabbits. I'm sorry to hear of this problem.

Your rabbit is definitely exhibiting signs of severe pain. The hunching up, the grinding teeth, and restlessness all point to that. We have no way of determining the cause of the pain. However, the symptom of not eating makes this an emergency situation. Whenever a rabbit won't eat, it is considered an emergency. After just a couple of hours, the digestive system can shut down. This is called gastro-intestinal stasis, and it is life-threatening. One of the most common things we hear about rabbits is "My rabbit stopped eating, and then he died."There could be gas in the stomach that cannot pass or there could be a blockage in the intestines. You need to get him to a rabbit vet as soon as possible. You can read more about stasis here:

Until you can get to a vet, you can give your rabbit a stomach massage. Most rabbits actually enjoy this and it can get things moving again sometimes. Place him on his back on your lap and gently massage. If you can get some children's liquid simethicone (sold in pharmacies), give him some from a syringe. You can't overdose it, and it helps break up any gas bubbles in the stomach. If you absolutely cannot get into a vet, you need to get some food into his stomach. Crush some pellets to a fine powder. Mix with enough water to make a slurry. Then use a syringe to put a couple of drops at a time in the side of his mouth (not straight down his throat). These steps are only first aid, not a cure.

If you have more questions about this, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your rabbit will reach a full recovery.


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