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Question
coco- a dwarf rabbit, 2 or 3 yrs old, mostly indoors - outdoors on leash sometimes, only pet

diet is: food pellets, alfalfa hay, water - not enough carrots or reg hay

about 2 weeks ago i noticed that stool was getting very small, otherwise acting normal. gave coco more carrots with green tops, little less pellet food, some dandy loin greens.

now i am noticing that she seems to be drinking less water and pooping less, peeing less- through out all of this she is acting normal. we have since switched to just Timothy hay a few days ago, also noticed what might be ear mites (scaly white dandruff on just the outside of her ears- just a very little bit).

during this time we did try to contact our vet but was brushed off as them saying that an app would be unnecessary as that there would be nothing that they could do.

we are taking her to a different vet but would like a 2nd opinion.

thank you

Answer
Hi Genie

Sorry to hear about Coco. That first vet sounds bloody useless. Definitely find a second savvy vet - ask them about their experience with rabbits and exotics.

Gut function does sound like it's slowed so she needs to be checked for gut obstructions/blockages, possibly given a gut stimulant (Metoclopramide) and painkillers (Metacam) and possibly Ranitidine (also called Zantac) if her poops are still too small and hard. She also needs her teeth checking - if she has problems with front teeth or molars, that will cause pain when they're eating so they won't eat as much. Small breed rabbits with squarer boxy skulls compared to wild rabbits are more prone to dental problems. The vet cannot see the molars without a scope, don't leave until they've done the wiggly battle of getting the scope in the bunny's mouth and had a good look at the molars for spurs.  

She definitely needs the scaly skin looking at too, left untreated that can escalate to horrible levels. This is a good site about ear mites. Warning: the pics will make you itchy!
http://medirabbit.com/EN/Skin_diseases/Parasitic/earmite/Psoroptes.htm

Work on upping Coco's hay in take. At her age, she shouldn't be eating alfalfa as it can cause bladder and kidney stones in adult rabbits due to its very high calcium content. Timothy and Meadow hay should be offered. If she has dental problems she's going to less inclined to eat hay.

I would also recommend looking to see if you can build your own bunny first aid kit, if you can get hold of sachets of Oxbow Critical Care and Fibreplex by Protexin, this is good to help if the bun stops eating and there isn't a gut blockage. Never syringe feed without first checking with your vet there isn't a blockage!

Also see if you can get hold of Fibafirst sticks by Supreme Science, and excellent very high fibre treat for rabbits that comes in a nice big box.

Good luck at the vet!!

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Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

Education/Credentials
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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