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Rabbits/Patches the rabbit with gas.


QUESTION: Hello Dana,
This is about Patches again, the rabbit that's getting gas everyday. It wouldn't let me ask another follow-up question, so I have to start fresh.

Reglan didn't work, parasite treatment didn't work, and his poops are getting smaller. Our vet feels that it's a full blockage. He says that surgery would be extremely risky.
He's having us give Patches 1cc of mineral oil two or three times a day to try to push the blockage through.

Does this sound like a good idea? Is there anything else that will help?

Thank you so much for answering my questions! I know it's very time consuming for you, and I really appreciate your help!

ANSWER: Dear Bethany,

A lot of experienced rabbit vets are no longer keen on the idea of using mineral oil to help blockages pass through the GI tract.  The thinking is that it can coat a desiccated mass of food and hair in the stomach and/or intestine, and prevent it from hydrating and breaking up normally.

If it's something synthetic he ate, though, mineral oil might help.  It's not harmful, so it could be worth a try.  Gentle massage of the lower abdomen can help, too.

We've found that the key is really hydrating the heck out of the bun from both ends:  enema and lots of oral liquid in the form of very wet greens and water given via syringe.

Were radiographs taken of the abdomen?  If there is a blockage, something might show up, especially if the vet gives Patches some barium an hour or so beforehand.

I hope things do pass soon!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Dana,

Thank you for that information! We'll hydrate the little guy until he feels like a water balloon! :)

I'm afraid of giving an enema, I worry that I could hurt him. So I'll need to have the vet do it if wet veggies and water alone don't do the trick.

Sadly radiographs were not done, which I'm really kicking myself about. Patches is TERRIFIED of car rides. He shakes and hyperventilates so bad that I worry about his safety. So when we had no choice but to take him to the vet, I wish I had had the vet do everything under the sun then so that I wouldn't have to put poor Patches through another car ride. But if I can't handle this at home, I'll have to take him back to the vet.

Thank you again!!

Hi, Bethany

Well, don't overdo the fluids, either.  :)  Normal water intake for a mammal is about 90-100ml/kg per day, including what they get in their food.

If you have to take him back to the vet, ask the vet for a small dose of Ativan (lorazepam) to do away with his anxiety before you leave.  It will be a miraculous difference!



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


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:

Find a rabbit vet at 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.


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.

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

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

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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