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Rabbits/What to do for a bun with sour stomach?


QUESTION: Dear Dana,

Thank you for reading.

My rabbit of 9 and some months seems to have a sour stomach.  Of course, I have been to two vets (both who are fairly knowledgeable with buns) twice in the last month but they never seem to address this with me.  Lots of blood work... everything seems fine.  However, I see her kind of doing an acid reflux kind of thing and rolling on her back at times.  Is she in pain?  Is the benebac twice a week enough or should not be used?

I'm also seeing sometimes clumps of poops (not what I am used to seeing in the way of cecotropes).   

She gets 2-4 cups of vegetables daily - she is a 6 pound dalmation/papillion rex black and white (who is overweight)  
Her morning diet is organic cilantro and parseley, with teaspoon of pellets.  Evening mixed greens, wheatgrass, sometimes carrot or beat tops, chickory.  She eats lots of apple sticks... could that be causing acid reflux (from an unsprayed crababble tree near home).

I don't see her drinking much so I have been giving her fluids once a week but since the clumps have started, I stopped thinking this may make her wet.  FOr a week and 6 days, I have not given her fluids and I saw another clump.  However, other times her poops are just perfect.

I know other buns in the house might make her nervous... thought these two foster buns have been here since last March, though moved off the porch into my bedroom for the winter -totally separate spaces and she has not seen them and I don't plan to show them.

Anything I should do differently or add to her care?

Thank you so much for considering!  
Princessa Calamity Jane Creampuff

ANSWER: Dear Deborah,

Your phrase here:  "I see her kind of doing an acid reflux kind of thing and rolling on her back at times."  is a little confusing.

What do you mean by an "acid reflux kind of thing"?  Is she choking?  And does she roll on her back at the same time?  If so, she must be in deep distress.

But some bunnies will roll on their backs when very relaxed and happy.  It's all about context and understanding what body language is saying.  Here are a few articles that might help, especially if she appears to be choking:

and if she has a messy bottom:

I hope these help, but if you would like to send me much more specific symptoms, I might be better able to help.


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

Calamity on way to vet
Calamity on way to vet  

Thank you.  Will check out the sites...  I appreciate you doing this work!

The acid reflux thing sometimes appears when she is laying on her stomach and I will notice her doing what appears as like a burping. Not a choking but like something sour might be coming up.   No, not when she is rolling on her back... What are causes of sore stomachs?

Oh, I meant to also include in her diet that she has hay everywhere... lots of good hay.    So much so that I wonder if anyone could ever come over.  She may be getting too many greens?  I didn't think she could put on weight with greens but I do wonder.  Also, is it possible that weight gain comes with muscle loss?

Thank you Dana!!!

Hi, Deborah

My long-distance guess is the same:  dental problems.  Be sure you have a good, experienced rabbit vet who will look DEEP into her mouth to find problems.  And please do read the articles I sent before.

Rabbits cannot vomit, nor will they have acid reflux.  The signs you describe are more like choking, and that's typical of molar spurs or other problem deep back in the mouth.

I hope you'll be able to get the bunny to an experienced rabbit vet soon.  Find one here:

Good luck,



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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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