GI Stasis: The Silent Killer

I was replying to a comment on the Dog Meets Bunny site, and realized that it might be worth talking about GI Stasis here, too.

When under stress (as when being bonded to another animal) or if they have other health problems, the gastrointestinal system of a rabbit can shut down as a reaction, which can lead to death. Symptoms are refusing to eat, weight loss, sluggishness, and very small droppings in their litterbox. This can come on VERY quickly ... just in a manner of a day or two. Rabbits are designed to eat almost all the time, which is why having free access to hay at all times is so important ... that constant eating keeps the GI tract moving. If your rabbit hasn't eaten in a day, seek medical attention from a rabbit-savvy vet immediately!

And remember, rabbits are an "exotic" pet with a very different metabolism than cats or dogs. Be sure the vet you see specializes in rabbits. Don't just ask if they'll see rabbits since many will say yes when they shouldn't. Ask the "trick" rabbit questions ... see the House Rabbit Society's article on this for suggestions.

I lost my first rabbit to GI Stasis, so I try to tell people about it when I can. See Dana Krempels' excellent article on the subject for more info.

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