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Symptoms: gnawing the wall, retching, not eating by herself

I am trying to figure out what is going on with my 4 year old rabbit. Background: She's been a picky eater since birth and has had intestinal problems at regular (6 monthly) intervals. She has never ever wanted to eat hay, however much I have tried to force her to do so. She eats some pellets, but only specific ones.
Now she started with a rumbling stomach, she was moving her mouth excessively and then started eating less and less and not even drinking. I caught it in time, and have been forcefeeding her for over a week now. I tried to stop one night but she was back to having a bad stomach the next mornign and had not eaten any of the pellets i left for her. She does eat her chicory and a little bit of dried bread, but leaves just about everything else. I am really worried about her. I have had xrays done, nothing showing. The vet looked at her teeth, notthing immediately noticeable there either, maybe a loose molar but they are not sure since they did not want to give her too much aenasthetic since she has not been 100%..... she continues to gnaw corners of my walls (she roams free in the house...mostly always following me whereever I am), she tries to eat paper (which I stop her doing) and she munches on the doorstep...and she retches regularly...is there something I am missing or something that jumps out at someone who has been trhough this with a rabbit too that recognises the symptoms? She has to start eating by herself again. Oh, I also have to give her drops to stimulate her gastric tract/intestines 3x day. But I am worried sick that I cannot get her to eat again and eat well...I hope someone can help.
4 Responses
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234713 tn?1283526659
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Once the problem is identified and solved your rabbit should begin to eat on her own again.
Helpful - 1
234713 tn?1283526659
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Rabbit's have very sensitive teeth and if your rabbits teeth are bad enough to have a loose molar it may be necessary to extract that molar and perform a necessary dental prophylaxis.  

The gas anesthetics, Isoflurane or Sevoflurane, are very safe and short acting.  Your vet should be able to maintain anesthesia on your rabbit long enough to perform a complete oral exam, extract the loose molar, and perform necessary maintenance on the teeth safely.  If there is any question of safety due to electrolyte imbalances,   other blood abnormalities,  or dehydration, than your vet can perform pre-anesthetic blood work and place a catheter to supple fluids prior to anesthesia, during,  and after anesthesia  if necessary.  If your vet doesn't routinely perform these procedures on rabbits perhaps he/she can refer you and your rabbit to a veterinarian who specializes in exotic species.  

Another cause of the behavior you describe is a trichobezoar (hairball) causing a stomach impaction.  Hairballs are very difficult to see on X-Ray because they resemble food on an X-Ray.

Additionally most veterinary schools have an exotic specialist on staff and it would be worth your while to make inquiries at a veterinary school near you.
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
Thank you for your advice. This is precisely what I am doing right now. She will be at the vet's this afternoon who is not herself a specialist in tooth extraction, but she will examine her and file her teeth if there are any hooks and she will check the molar to see if it is indeed loose. If so, then I have already secured a slot with a specialist early next week who can extract it.
Is it your experience that after three weeks of forcefeeding, rabbits do quickly settle back to eating by themselves??

Thanks again - really great to hear I am doing the right things and that I can hopefully help her through this...

Marion
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
You might try feeding her something that contains wetness, like fruits and veggies that taste good and are not harmful to the rabbit.  The rabbit may be craving a different diet or just be tired of her food.  This could be something wrong with the stomach, or just personality.  I wouls still get a doctors oppinion just to be safe.
Helpful - 0

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