Rabbits/Gut stasis


I have a 3yr old male lionhead x who has had gut stasis about six times now. I am very fortunate as I work in a veterinary surgery so getting him seen to promptly and having expert help on board isn't a problem, but I'm wondering in your experience do you think there is anything I could be doing at home to help prevent this ?  He is fed on science selective pellets and protexin high fibre food with probiotics, he gets about an egg cup full in the morning and in the evening, he also has access to hay and greens his favourites being parsley, dandelions, grass, and kale. He is a solitary bunny but has plenty of human company and lives in a large shed so has plenty of exercise whatever the wether, he prefers drinking out of a bowl , fresh water always available, and he is cleaned out twice a day.
         I think it could be stress related rather than a diet problem, as he does get spooked easily, the last episode happened during gale force winds and things were blowing round the garden, and the time before that a hedgehog got into his shed. I'm wondering if a companion would help ie a neutered female ?
         I'm very good at spotting the signs and we always catch it very early on and he recovers very quickly, but any advice you may have on how I can possibly help prevent this would be appreciated.

Hi Lorraine

Sorry to hear about all your gut stasis worries! There are a huge number of potential causes and yes indeed stress can be one of them. Both of mine are prone to stasis (they are also brother and sister so could be a genetic prone-ness there) and stasis most often rears its ugly head with me right when they start to moult, pesky fur in the gut causes problems. Although I have also discovered equally odd triggers including wet spring grass and eating wet grass right after they've eaten their pellets! Rabbit tummies are an odd thing indeed. I keep gut stimulant at home for them. I have seen a tummy ache set in within 20 minutes, from perfectly fine to hunched and obviously in pain. Scary.

I personally believe that no outdoor rabbit should be kept alone. Yes I think finding a good local rescue with some already spayed females would be an excellent option and should certainly help on those dark and stormy nights. A good rescue will also help with the bonding. The rescue I volunteer at has a rule that they never rehome a bun singly, they will only ever rehome pairs (or indeed groups, rehomed a trio this week!). Having a nice confident wifebun with him may well help calm his nerves.

Medically, have you had his teeth checked? If his molars aren't grinding his food properly it could cause blockages. Maybe a fecal sample would also be beneficial to make sure nothing odd is going on there i.e. odd parasites? I had this done for both of mine recently and it fortunately came back as all clear.

I hope I've helped, if you need any more advice I highly recommend the Rabbits United forum on Rabbit Rehome.

Good luck!


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I can answer questions around the welfare of pet rabbits, basic health queries including gut stasis, diet worries, bonding questions and the proper welfare standards around housing rabbits (i.e. no wire floors, no small cages and they should be kept in properly bonded de-sexed pairs in very large enclosures). I cannot answer showing questions nor complex breeding issues as I do not agree with either, seeing the other end of the story in the world of rabbit rescue.


I have two 7 year old rescue rabbits and volunteer for a well established rabbit rescue here in the UK, both physically doing cleaning out etc and I am also their events and awareness co-oordinator, helping educate the general public on proper rabbit keeping, this means I have to ensure all information I give is correct and matches current welfare standards.

I belong to the RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund) and volunteer for a major rabbit rescue.

I have no formal education on this subject, however read everything I can to keep up to date with current welfare standards and health problems. Both my rabbits have sensitive guts and constantly keep me on my toes.

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