Diarrhea in rabbits – Causes and Treatment
Rabbits are no longer simply farm animals to turn more and more often into adorable pets that have the most ideal features for many people.
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A rabbit is obviously very different from a dog or a cat and the attention it requires is also different, however, this does not mean that it does not need a certain care, since like all animals, it needs health conditions to be able to have a state of complete well-being.
Gastrointestinal disorders in rabbits can be as frequent or serious as they can lead to dehydration and hunger, so in this article the expert shows the causes and treatment of diarrhea in rabbits .
What to do if my rabbit has diarrhea
When a rabbit suffers from diarrhea, regardless of its origin, it is suffering from an enteritis, ie an inflammation of the enterocytes or intestinal cells which are essential for proper assimilation of the nutrients.
As we will see later, enteritis can be caused by several factors, but it can also be idiopathic, that is, without any known cause, anyway, the most important and that this signal has a mortality rate that ranges from 10 to 20% of affected animals.
Diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration and malnutrition, so if we notice that our pet has diarrhea, we should go to the veterinarian as quickly as possible .
Causes of diarrhea in rabbits
The causes of diarrhea in rabbits are several, and may be infectious or not, and varying degrees of severity depending on the underlying pathology.
Let’s see what are the most common problems that give rise to this symptom:
- Coccidiosis: It is an infectious disease caused by parasites that mainly affects those rabbits under stress that causes the weaning phase. These parasites can specifically affect the intestine or liver, but in both cases we are faced with a serious illness that manifests itself with diarrhea, among other symptoms.
- Over-Protein Diets : The rabbit’s gut is usually colonized by the bacteria Clostridium Spiriforme and Escherichia Coli , however, when the rabbit ingests too much protein through its food, these bacteria have the ability to proliferate and produce a toxin that will cause diarrhea.
- Low-fiber and high-carbohydrate diets: On the one hand, with low fiber intake intestinal motility becomes slower and the stool remains longer in contact with the intestinal mucosa. This fact together with a high amount of carbohydrates favors the proliferation of the bacteria that were mentioned previously.
- Taking antibiotics: Lincomycin, penicillin, ampicillin and erythromycin produce diarrhea in the rabbit because they attack very specific bacteria and the germs that are not sensitive to this type of antibiotics have the possibility of proliferating massively, since they do not have the bacterial competition, since the other bacteria that control their colonies are also eliminated by antibiotics.
- Abrupt changes in the diet: Any sudden change in food will cause changes in the intestinal flora of the rabbit, which will lead to an acute diarrhea.
- Idiopathic: As previously mentioned, diarrhea in the rabbit may have an unknown cause.
In the milder case the diarrhea may be caused by the food alteration but in the most serious case it may be caused by a coccidiosis, which is highly lethal to the rabbit, so we want to remember again the importance of urgently going to the veterinarian .
Treatment of diarrhea in rabbits
Treatment of diarrhea in rabbits will depend on the factor that causes it , although it will generally be advisable to initiate fluid therapy which may include semi-solid feed via a syringe since the primary objective will be to avoid dehydration and starvation.
Depending on the underlying cause, the following treatments may be used:
- In the case of a diet high in proteins and carbohydrates and low in fiber should be introduced progressively changes in nutrition until a proper diet and balanced for our rabbit.
- If by veterinary prescription we must administer to the rabbit some of the antibiotics that cause diarrhea, we must prevent this side effect with a feed based on forage and vitamin supplements.
- If diarrhea is caused by a sudden change in diet, we should provide a fluid therapy, trying to stabilize the diet and may need some nutritional supplement to restore the intestinal flora.
- When diarrhea is caused by coccidiosis the veterinarian should be able to prescribe an antibiotic from the sulphonamides group and it will also be necessary to initiate a semi solid feed administered with a syringe.
Advice for preventing diarrhea in rabbits
Preventing diarrhea in rabbits will not always be possible, but using some hygienic-dietary measures we have been able to protect our rabbits to a greater extent:
- The rabbit must always have hay and fresh water at his disposal.
- It is important to supplement your diet with fiber-rich snacks, always specific to rabbits
- We must keep the cage in good hygienic conditions.
- We should try to give our rabbit a quiet environment to prevent stress
- If it is necessary to make any changes in the diet, this should be done progressively
- It is important to observe the rabbit daily to detect as early as possible possible pathological signs.
This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.
If you would like to read more articles similar to Diarrhea in rabbits – Causes and treatment , we recommend you to enter our section on Other health problems .