Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful A Little Lop Survived GI Stasis

This Thanksgiving a sweet 7 1/2 year old lop is happily hopping around my home after a bout of GI Stasis earlier this month.  I am so thankful.  The symptoms started on a Friday before a long holiday weekend when most vets were closed for three days. My first rabbit, Groucho, died from GI Stasis many years ago. Since then I have learned everything I can about it from veterinary journals to many good sources on the web.  It is scary every time I have seen rescue rabbits with symptoms. 
Now my own lop bunny (pictured right) had stopped eating, was not producing any fecal pellets, lethargic, hunched up in pain, his stomach gurgling loudly, and an abdomen somewhat hard instead of soft and doughy. This had come on quickly. He was in real trouble. I got out my bunny first aid kit and drawing on what I had learned over the years his symptoms diminished. He slowly got better over the three day weekend and made good progress over a week. It took another week for his fecal pellets to become normal.  I racked my brain for a cause.  At the onset of symptoms I did not take the bunny to the vet. I did not have that option over the long holiday weekend. I recommend everyone get their rabbit to a vet immediately if possible.
I don’t know why this rabbit developed GI Stasis. I realized even though his diet is very good, he had lost a bonded partner three months before.  Plus, I had moved his rabbit pen into a less drafty part of the room for the winter just a couple of weeks before.  An attempt to introduce him to another rabbit wasn’t working out yet. All of these things are stressful for a rabbit.  In the past 2 weeks he seems to be bonding more with me.  He nudges me for pets much more often during the evenings when he has free run of the house and he sticks very close now.  As far as I am concerned, he can have all the pets he wants and I'm grateful his litter box runneth over this Thanksgiving.
Don't wait to take your bunny to a vet - GI Stasis is a killer.  Go to this Link for a list of vets. If a vet isn't available, try a veterinary emergency clinic.  For good information on the web:

Gastrointestinal Stasis: The Silent Killer - by Dana Krempels, Ph.D.  required reading for anyone with a rabbit as far as I am concerned.
GI stasis in rabbits - Excellent article in Hopping Mad Magazine online from the UK
Huh, Rabbits Can Get Gas?!  Go to page 12 of this booklet by the Columbus House Rabbit Society