Additionally, note that a rabbit may not eat cecotropes due to dental or other oral pain as well as obesity or restricted movement (e.g., spondylosis) that prevents the bunny from physically reaching the anus to eat the cecotropes. However, as previously noted by Dr. Brown, a rabbit will not necessarily proceed through each stage. In contrast, when rabbits are allowed free access to commercial pellets (including those containing dried fruits, grains, and/or legumes) or simple carbohydrate snacks (such as crackers, toast, or cookies), the cecum often can no longer function properly. Celery (leaves are good) In addition, the drug can destroy the stomach lining and damage the kidneys, especially in a dehydrated rabbit. It is estimated that B12is synthesized 100x the daily requirement. Alfalfa hay may be the only hay available in your area, or your pet may absolutely refuse to eat grass hay and will only eat alfalfa. Rapid fermentation in the cecum upsets the pH, creating an environment more hospitable to dangerous bacteria. If a rabbit is not treated early, the caregiver will suddenly notice changes in the rabbit’s behavior and responsiveness. Angela Lennox, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian) is a 1989 graduate of Purdue University, has practiced exotic animal medicine exclusively since 1991, and is the owner of Avian & Exotic Animal Clinic of Indianapolis (Indiana). Acute dehydration, Irregular production in timing and number; abnormally soft, pudding-like, malformed, Fewer in number; may be abnormal in shape, None; complete cessation of cecotrope production, Reduced number of fecal pellets, which may be harder/drier, with sharp edges, No fecal output; possible watery discharge (true diarrhea, which is different from runny cecotropes), Enterotoxemia: true diarrhea: watery, greenish brown to brown; may contain blood. The technically difficult procedure on a critically ill patient equals a poor success rate. Also, make sure to purchase Timothy-based pellets. Many rabbits with ISC are overweight, and not only do they feel sluggish because of the GI problems but because of their weight it is more difficult for them to exercise. Brief mention of cow pile syndrome, which shares some similar signs with cecal disorders, is included at the end of the article. Compounding the problem is the lack of fiber; the rabbit is not eating enough grass hay, which means that the cecum does not empty as it should. Leaf lettuce Iota toxins are absorbed into the bloodstream and produce a toxic condition commonly known as enterotoxemia. If the soft cecotropes return, remove the offending pellet and you may try a different brand of grass-based pellet. Extreme caution needs to be taken when feeling the internal organs of a rabbit with a potential cecal problem because the thin-walled cecum could be bruised or ruptured with overly aggressive palpation. Date Reviewed/Revised: 12/07/2009, Copyright 2009 – 2012 by Susan Brown, DVM. This shouldn't be confused with normal cecotropes that have been smooshed by your rabbit's feet or bottom. Water cress. If the pellets are alfalfa-based, they should be replaced by grass-hay-based pellets as soon as possible. Peas I work out a treatment protocol for the caregiver that includes additional hydration if necessary, and some caregivers are skilled in giving fluids at home. Nuts TREATMENT AND PROGNOSIS FOR RECOVERY FROM CECAL MOTILITY DISORDER, Treatment and Prognosis for Recovery: Abnormally Soft Cecotropes. The most common cause of ISC is an inappropriate diet that is too high in carbohydrates and/or too low in indigestible fiber. Healthy rabbits consume all their cecotropes. A diet high in fiber and low in starch and sugars will be critical in returning the rabbit to health. Because cecal impaction and intestinal obstruction share some of the same signs, it’s critical that the veterinarian determine the cause of the rabbit’s problems to ensure correct treatment and follow-up. In this article, we’ll discuss what causes it and rabbit diarrhea home treatments. This is how rabbits get all the nutrients they can from their diets. A stressed rabbit is less likely to eat or drink normally. (Please read our handout Care of Rabbits for details on this diet.) Cranberries Rabbits who have had cecal impactions in the past are more likely to develop problems in the future: the cecum may fill up again. This diet is much too high in carbohydrates and often low in indigestible fiber. Overview of article. The treatment of ISC is based first on a serious diet restriction to grass hay, which acts to return the GI tract to normal, and secondly a gradual reintroduction of additional foods after normal cecotropes are produced for at least a week. Treatment for the early stage of cecal hypomotility (slowdown) leading to impaction is much the same as for ileus, the cessation of GI tract movement. When the contents of the cecum are retained for longer than normal periods of time the cecotropes are eventually excreted in a more liquid state and it is impossible for the rabbit to eat them. The Benefit of Cecotropes. All rights reserved, Permanent Link: http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=3012, Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress, CA – Ban of Fur Sales (Including Rabbit Fur), http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=3012, Pasteurella: Its Health Effects in Rabbits, Diet (overload of carbohydrates and/or insufficient indigestible fiber), Inappropriate antibiotic use (many antibiotics are not safe for the rabbit’s GI tract). The plants that rabbits eat are high in fiber, which is indigestible to mammalian digestive enzymes. The condition can last for months or even years. However, if quality grass hay is unavailable or if a rabbit only nibbles hay or doesn’t seem to like it at all, the rabbit has to be treated differently, as Dr. Brown indicates: Rabbits who do not freely graze on hay can be maintained on grass-hay-based pellets and leafy greens. It is usually caused by an alteration in the flora (microorganisms) of the cecum, which is the fermentation area of the rabbit’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It may also be necessary to do additional testing such as blood tests, urinalysis, fecal examination or radiographs to rule out other non-diet related causes of ISS in some cases. Cecotrophs contain around 28-30% crude protein and up to 30% of the total nitrogen intake of rabbits. Caregivers can become knowledgeable about drugs considered safe for rabbits by perusing articles on this website, including where to find additional medical information. Here is a list of what you should look for in rabbit pellets to guarantee your rabbit will not produce too many cecotrope. If the soft cecotropes return no matter what brand you feed, then you may have a rabbit that simply cannot tolerate pellets. Dr. Brown offers this: My experience with several hundred rabbits who have had pudding-like cecotropes – but were otherwise active, alert, and medically normal – is that feeding a diet of only grass (not alfalfa) hay usually turns them around in a week. Below are a few tips for enticing your pet to eat grass hay: Once the soft droppings have resolved for at least week, it is time to try adding in some additional foods. In cases of ISC in rabbits, there is also an alteration of the flora in the cecum, but it is less severe than that seen with enterotoxemia. Not all rabbits with cecal dysbiosis will exhibit obvious soft or pudding-like cecotropes. When there is dehydration and shutdown, buprenorphine (an injectable morphine derivative) may be more appropriate. Cecal impaction is when matter stops moving in the cecum, where cecotropes are formed, due to a blockage. The focus should be on coarse fibrous plant materials [grass hay]. After your pet’s cecotrops have returned to normal for at least a week, it is time to introduce green foods into the diet. A rabbit who suffers from cecal impaction generally will not be returned home until he is no longer in critical condition. ISC is a sign of a problem and not the problem itself. I become very concerned when a rabbit is not responding to treatment and starts to have diarrhea, lethargy, and weight loss. Some owners observe that the soft droppings occur only at certain times of the day or night. Some rabbits get upset tummies during mating season, during pregnancy, or while nursing their kits.. The return to normal stools may take two weeks to three months, depending on the severity of the disease in your pet. Because he’s active and alert, the caregiver often assumes the rabbit’s health is okay. This can be done by mixing the two types and gradually reducing, then removing, the alfalfa-based pellet. So when I palpate doughy contents in the cecum instead, my diagnostics may include radiographs and blood work to assess the severity of the situation. Once you have tested several green foods, then you should feed at least three types daily to your pet Feed a maximum of about 1 packed cup of green foods per 2 pounds of body weight at least once a day or this amount divided twice a day. Provide the grass hay in unlimited amounts and have it available at all times to your pet. Dr. Bill Guerrera, who treats many rabbits from the Colorado House Rabbit Society, shares his experience: At first, the rabbit may act very normal and is eating and drinking. Utilizing the principles of behavior and training, she is teaching ways for people to live in harmony with their companion animals. Caregivers may want to consider supplementing their rabbit’s care with alternative therapies, some of which are addressed in separate articles posted on this website. Cause of Intermittent Soft Cecotropes (ISC) *Please note that it will be helpful to the understanding of this disease if you first read the Care of Rabbits handout in order to understand the normal diet of the house rabbit. Vets often consider testing rabbit poop as a part of their medical checkup, and this is also the same with humans. As adjunct professor at Purdue University, she teaches both veterinary and veterinary technician students. Cecal motility disorders and enterotoxemia require the attention of a veterinarian to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. 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