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Rabbits/SOFT STICKY POOP

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Question
Hi Dr.Krempels,
I adopted a dwsrf rabbit a few months ago. All was good for the first 2 months or so but then I started noticing that the second level in his cage was getting caked in poo, I was finding some stuck to his bum, and clumps of stuck together poops on the floor(he's a house rabbit). Other than that, he eats, drinks, and does his regular dry round poops as well. I took away all fresh veggies and have him on just his hay and pellets (timothy ). However I have not seen a difference in the soft sticky poo problem. What is going on with my bunny and how can I fix it?
Irene

Answer
Dear Irene,

This is a really common problem.

Your bunny appears to be suffering from chronic cecal dysbiosis, which is fully explained
here:

www.bio.miami.edu/hare/poop.html

While some people mistakenly believe this is due to giving a bunny a diet too rich in fresh
greens, this is almost never the problem.  However, it could have something to do with diet,
if bun is getting the wrong type of food.  Please check that here:

www.bio.miami.edu/hare/diet.html

The second most common cause of this problem is probably pain/stress from dental disorders,
such as molar spurs or other dental problem.  Dwarf rabbits, with their foreshortened faces, are particularly prone to this problem.  Please read:

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

You will need an experienced rabbit vet to help you, and you can find one via the Vet
Referral Listings linked here:

www.rabbit.org/vets

Obesity can also contribute to the messy bum problem, as a pudgy bunny will have more
trouble reaching around her big belly to get her cecotropes fresh from the chute.  Instead, she'll smear them around and get them on her feet as she struggles to reach and eat them.

Rex bunnies are prone to being overweight, as they spend less energy making those long,
proteinaceous guard hairs other rabbits make.  So there's more energy left over to store as fat!  This is something to consider if your bunny has the Rex fur mutation.

Finally, if your bunny is white with pigmented spots and dark eyes, she may suffer from a
congenital condition similar to megacolon in other species.  (Other colored bunnies can have
this, but it's most common in the "butterfly" or "spot" pigmented rabbits.)  If bunny
produces large, misshapen fecal pellets that are not quite hard and not quite soft (some
would call them rubbery), this could be something to consider.  If you see this, please
write back to me for more information.


In the meantime, you can safely clean bunny and keep him comfortable with the techniques
described here:

www.bio.miami.edu/hare/buttbath.html

I hope this helps you get to the bottom (har) of the problem and get it under control.

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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