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Rabbits/Urgent Severe bunny constipation


Angel House Rabbit society
Angel House Rabbit soc  
Hi Dana.  I am sending you an xray so I can get your opinion.  I am a volunteer with the NMHRS and have asked you questions before and have complete faith in your answers and knowledge.  This bunny is from a local sanctuary.  I took it in because it was not well.  It is all skin and bones.  Her belly felt solid as a rock though and was quite enlarged.  My local vet took xrays and said she was severely constipated so much so that he thought it could take months to get her all cleared out.  She had a huge clump of poop stuck to her bottom that was preventing her from pooping on her own but once we got her cleaned up she is pooping on her own. I have had to give her more butt baths though to keep her clean from poopy butt.  They are not very large poops but they are plentiful.  We started her out on a liquid diet only including Critical Care and Angels mush.  We have added greens.  My concern was he did not want her to have hay because he said it would only pack in more dry matter and add to the waste already backed up in her.  Wouldn't the hay help though with all its fiber?  I have NEVER heard of not feeding hay to a bunny under ANY circumstance.  Let me know what you think after viewing the xray.  I am giving her hay (I'm a terrible patient) but she refuses to eat it anyway.  I have tried timothy, alfalfa and Oat and she just wont eat it.  But she does eat her critical care and mush all on her own and not by syringe.  Any tips thoughts or ideas would be helpful.  The sanctuary was not a good place for her and she has scars from other rabbits bites I believe.  That could be why she was so malnourished and has strange eating habits. Let me know if you have trouble viewing the xray. Thank you

Hi, Victoria

Sorry for the delay.  My house got struck by lightning just when I came back on as an "expert" and I didn't even realize I had questions pending.  (Fortunately, bunnies all okay.)

That is the worst impacted GI tract I've ever seen.  Not sure I disagree with the vets about the hay in this case.  I think it's more important to *hydrate the heck* out of her.  Oral liquids.  ENEMA.  SubQ fluids.  I suspect she got this way from having insufficient liquids available, and it may, indeed, take weeks to hydrate everything so it breaks up and starts to move through.  Hay will complicate things.

I would give her VERY wet Critical Care, but concentrate on hydration.  If you don't know how to do an enema, there are instructions here:

Enemas can work *wonders* to hydrate the lower GI, and if you do it once a day, things will start to move.  The enema actually appears to stimulate GI motility.

I hope this helps.  Bless you for taking care of this poor little bunny.

Please let me know how it goes, if you have time.  And if you have further questions, please write directly to me at as I've had to put myself on break from AllExperts for the moment.

Hope all goes well.



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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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