Rabbits/loose stool

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Question
I have noticed that my house rabbit has at times loose stool. It is not consistent but intermittent. His activity level and appetite have remained unchanged. I am thinking that that problem is dietary as he is a VERY fussy eater. I have tried continuously to get him to eat timothy hay and he flat out refuses. I have tried to offer it in small amounts mixed with alfalfa and he seems to get angry and just pulls out all the hay eating only the alfalfa. I stopped the alfalfa completely as well in hopes that he would be hungry enough to eat the Timothy hay with no luck either. I am looking for any suggestions as to how to improve his diet. He is a sweet rabbit but loaded with personality and stubborn as a mule!!! :)

Answer
Dear Jamie,

Your bunny appears to be suffering from chronic cecal dysbiosis, which is fully explained here:

www.bio.miami.edu/hare/poop.html

While some people mistakenly believe this is due to giving a bunny a diet too rich in fresh greens, this is almost never the problem.  However, it could have something to do with his, if bun is getting the wrong type of food.  Please check that here:

www.bio.miami.edu/hare/diet.html

A very common cause of this problem is  pain/stress from dental disorders, such as molar spurs or other dental problem.  Your bunny's picky eating habits are a BIG red flag for this.  Please read:

www.bio.miami.edu/hare/dental.html

You will need an experienced rabbit vet to help you, and you can find one via the Vet Referral Listings linked here:

www.rabbit.org/vets

The vet can also check for intestinal parasites (if possible, bring a very fresh sample of bunny poop with you in a clean ziplock bag), such as coccidia or roundworms. These are not particularly common in adult rabbits, but it never hurts to be sure.

In the meantime, you can safely clean bunny and keep him comfortable with the techniques described here:

www.bio.miami.edu/hare/buttbath.html

I hope this helps you get to the bottom of the problem and get it under control.

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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