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Rabbits/rabbit quit eating her normal pellets

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Question
I hate to ask this, but I can't afford to see a vet and want to know if there are any at home remedies for my rabbit. She has eaten the same pellets, hay, vegetables and drank from the same water bottle since i got her Last year. Last week she quit eating the pellets and drinking. I've offered water in a bowl and tried to get her to drink from a syringe, but refuses. She will still eat some vegetables and her fecal matter looks the same only much smaller, she still has lots of energy but sheds terribly this past week, has lost obvious weight and has quit grooming herself. I've been giving the vegetables, mostly lettuce, to her rinsed to try and get more water into her system

Answer
Dear Mariah,

I wish I could tell you there was a home remedy for this, but there isn't.  The description you give me is a *classic* scenario for dental/mouth pain, and this is usually caused by molar spurs or other dental problem.  Please read:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/dental.html

Left untreated, this can lead to much worse problems.  A rabbit in pain will gradually lose GI tract motility, and the poops will become smaller, harder, and gas will start to build up as the intestines slow down and the bacterial ecosystem inside changes.  This can result in ileus, a complete cessation of normal intestinal peristalsis (the muscular movement that pushes food through the intestine):

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/ileus.html

I would strongly urge you to find a rabbit-savvy veterinarian who is familiar with rabbit dental disease, so that person can check deep in your rabbit's mouth to check for spurs, ulcerations, or other source of pain.  It might require sedation to get a really good look if nothing is obvious with an otoscope.

You can find a list of rabbit-savvy vets linked here:

http://www.rabbit.org/vet

I hope this helps you get your bunny on the road to recovery.

Dana

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

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:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet 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.

Experience

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.

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

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

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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