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My rabbit is not eating and lethargic. She ate a little baby

food (apple) but turns away...
My rabbit is not eating and lethargic. She ate a little baby food (apple) but turns away when I approach her with any food. She just wants to lay down in her bed.
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Answered in 17 minutes by:
8/2/2012
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,111
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hello, I'm so sorry to hear about Meimei and I'd like to help.

A loss of appetite in a bunny is a serious problem. If they don't eat constantly or take in enough fiber their gut motility slows down tremendously. Once a bunny's intestines and stomach aren't moving properly they can experience abdominal pain which can decrease their appetite further.Poor mobility can also cause bacterial overgrowth which inhibits normal digestion.

There are several things that can decrease appetite in a bunny her age. If she is not spayed a uterine or ovarian mass is possible. Tooth problems and abnormal wear of molars can make it painful to eat. Respiratory infections are another possible cause.

Ideally your bunny would be seen by an experienced rabbit veterinarian as soon as possible. Here is a link to help you find one in your area: http://www.rabbit.org/vets/vets.html

I understand that may be difficult tonight so I recommend keeping her warm, confined and force feeding her with a mixture of ground pellets, pedialyte and vegetable baby foods like green beans, squash or carrots every few hours to try and stimulate gut motility.

She needs subcutaneous fluids given daily as if she is dehydrated that will only make her sicker.

She should be force fed frequently, every 3 hours during the day if you are able. Oxbow critcical care is an excellent food. Your veterinarian should have this or can order it for you. If you are unable to get this in the meantime continue using a mix of ground up pellets, no sugar pedialyte and veggie baby foods in a syringe.

Make sure she has constant access to timothy or mixed grass hay. She needs fiber to restore normal motility.

Ideally she would also be placed on a probiotic to restore her normal gut bacterial population. Here is an example of a rabbit probiotic: http://www.nutramaxlabs.com/vet/products/Proviable-rb.aspx

I also recommend she be medicated with Reglan (metoclopramide) every 6 to 8 hours to try and restore normal gut motility. Your veterinarian can prescribe this.

Best of luck with your bunny. I hope things work out for her.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,111
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Verified
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
I just forced fed critical care and baby food pear.. She is looking pretty dismal. She is confined in her cage and laying down. The cage is covered and I thought if I was to lose her, she would be more confortable in her own hutch. It's quite warm with blankets covering her cage. i spent an hour carrying and petting her and i think she would rather be alone. I can tell she is not feel good. Thanks for the advice. I am not sure if a veterinarian in an emergency can help to much. I will give her critical care every three hours as you suggest. Thanks.

Thanks for the update. I'm so sorry to hear that she is feeling so badly.

Many animals that are as sick as she is do want to be left alone to rest. Interaction with owners just takes too much effort, please don't take it personally. I agree that the best place for her now is somewhere she is familiar with so her hutch is perfect if she is resting quietly there.

If your local emergency veterinarians don't handle bunnies frequently it may be better to wait for morning and someone who is much better qualified to help. Stressing her further to be seen by someone who isn't sure what to do with her may not be much more help then the nursing care you are providing.

Best of luck with your girl, please let me know how things go for her.

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Dr. Kara, I appreciated your help last night. Just to let you know that the vet this morning told me that my bunny had many tumors in her lower abdominal area, specifically a large on her liver. There was really no hope with chemo cause there was such a spread. Decision with the vet was to let Meimei go to bunny heaven. I am griefing but I did not want her to suffer. He stated that she was probably in pain but bunnies don't show it. Thanks again. I wanted to give you an update.

Thank you very much for updating me. I'm sure that it was difficult for you to have to write about her, but I very much appreciate the follow-up.

With her diagnosis I absolutely believe that you made the right decison for her, although the most difficult one for yourself. Please take comfort in your selflessness. Bunnies are amazing at hiding pain as a self defense mechanism, because they are a prey species. It makes catching an illness early on very difficult for owners and veterinarians alike.

You are in my thoughts, please take care and allow yourself time to grieve.

Thanks again, Dr Kara.

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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,111
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