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Rabbits/Undigested hay in rabbit poop

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Question
Hi,
We have a lionhead lop bunny. We often see distinct pieces of hay sticking out of his poop, and his poop are strung together by strands of hay. He does not like to eat hay. We tried all sorts of ways to encourage him to eat hay, including cutting the amount of vegetables and pellets, syringing him with lots of water, and giving him unlimited amount of hay. Yet he eats little of the hay and most of it became his bedding. Is the presence of undigested hay in his poop and his reluctance to eat hay cause for concern? He is not drooling and doesn't have ulcers in the mouth/cheek. At the last dental check he had some slight spurs at the side of the mouth but the vet said it's not crucial to file them down now.

Answer
Dear Sue,

Are you sure the residue you are seeing is not fur?  This is a much more common thing that strings poops together.  I doubt hay would make it through the digestive tract in long strands like this, unless it is extremely lignified hay.

Make sure he gets lots of wet greens and oral liquids to help hydrate his intestinal contents and push things through easily.  If he won't eat hay, then at least he needs fresh greens (try fresh, wet grass that has not been sprayed with insecticide or fertilizers, and is very clean--it's even better than hay).  That will help keep his GI tract healthy.

I hope this helps.

Dana

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.


RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.

Experience

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Organizations
Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Publications
Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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