You are here:

Rabbits/bleeding gastric ulcer (semi urgent)


I wrote to you just recently, telling you that my rabbit was having liver failure. The vets now think it is a bleeding Gastric Ulcer.
George is 1.5 years old, he handle stress rather poorly, worst than most bunnies. I would say last Monday or Tuesday 6/3/2015 he seemed unusually stressed. I had some house repairs so the previous couple weeks were very noisy. The following Tuesday I noticed excessive cecals, so I took away pellets and treats. He seemed to be improving less cecals and they were well formed. Sunday morning he was happy and eating hay as he normally was. When I got home I noticed he had some cecals and I encouraged him to eat them which I found helped. He was completely uninterested in his favorite treat and was extremely tired. So I rushed him vet. The vet noted no gas and no pain in his stomach so she did not think it was stasis. By evening I had to give him some critical care but still unresponsive except for some soft cecals (two or three very small soft poos). So I took him back to the vet, this time the emergency vet took him under watch because he was dehydrated. No change on Monday, his gut was full just not moving despite all the meds, so I ask for blood work to be done. The results show liver failure and 11% red blood cell count. This was very concerning the vet listed all the possible things that could lead to anemia and liver failure, including coccidia, lymphoma, torsion (possibly). By Tuesday he was stable and by Tuesday evening his blood cell count was up to 13% he was more active and had 4 poops. Wednesday morning (today as of writing) red blood cells were at 18%. He is giving more of a fight as well.

What they are now suspecting is he had an ulcer and it was bleeding due to stress  and the blood maybe causing the excess cecals. Have you ever heard of this?

They have not ruled anything out per se but leaning more and more to this. What is strange is he really had no signs for coccidia or any other possible disorders. Just some excess cecals which were well formed, even when he was eating all hay. He had no gas and no real pain when feeling his gut.

Dear Matthew,

To help an ulcer heal, ask the vet about using sucralfate, which coats the lesion and acts as a sort of "bandaid" on the ulcer, protecting it from stomach acid.  It's important that this be given alone, not with food or any other medications, so it has a chance to bind to the stomach mucosa.

If there is a suspicion of hepatic coccidiosis, you might consider treating this with Marquis (ponazuril), which we have found to be exceedingly effective at eliminating Eimeria (the protist that causes coccidiosis).  Our vets use it at a dose rate of 20-50mg/kg once a day for 5-7 days to treat coccidiosis.

I hope it's not a torsion, because the only option in that case is surgery.  And lymphoma would be an even worse prognosis.  

I'm glad he's starting to improve!  



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2016 All rights reserved.