29 February 2004
This is a happy-ending story about our beloved Dingleberry.
We hope this story helps to make a difference to other bunnies
and their human friends.
It was an ordinary Sunday, although we were a bit distracted at the time as friends were over at our house (this happens
frequently so nothing out of the ordinary). One thing different was that we overlooked was our usual routine of feeding all the
bunnies at around 5.30pm (though this also has happened before!).
When I went to feed everyone it was around 9pm (needless to say, we always now feed our bunnies much earlier!!!). Dingle
was inside one of her cardboard boxes looking quite subdued. Normally she would run out and meet us for her evening meal.
I left the food but another half an hour later and she still hadn't come out of her box. She was lying down and I touched her
head. Her ears were cold. Something was wrong.
She came out of her box with some coaching and went to her litter tray. Her poops were funny in colour and just not normal.
This was worrying straight away. She looked like she was in discomfort. I felt her tummy and it was bloated around her
I gave her tummy a gentle massage to help move things around but it looked like she required far more attention. Fortunately,
I had a bottle of Prepulsid and Metacam (both available from vets) which were given to me by my vet the year before after her
spay. Prepulsid aids the stomach to move and Metacam is for pain relief. I administered these both to Dingle by syringing
into her mouth (no needle of course!) with the doses that were recommended on the bottle for her weight (this was supplied
previously by the vet).
She was looking very sick. Her eyes were closing, she was getting colder and we were very worried. I called the 24 hours vet
at Brighton and he advised to syringe some baby food (pumpkin or pear) and Infacol (used to treat human babies for colic but
is good for keeping fluids up for bunnies) into her mouth throughout the night to keep her fluids up. My partner drove off into
the night to find the baby food & Infacol from the supermarket. I wrapped Dingle up, put the electric blanket on in the bed and
jumped in with her to keep her warm.
Throughout the night I syringed baby food and the Infacol into her mouth every hour and a half. I was in hope that she would
survive the night. Every syringed meal I would tell her how much I loved her and gave her a little kiss.
Fortunately she did make it through the night and we were at the vet by 8.15am the next morning, both in tears and sounding
and looking quite sleep deprived. She stayed at the clinic for a couple of hours and was given fluids by injection as she was
dehydrated. We picked her up around 1pm complete with injections of Metomide to further aid in gut movement (we also had
to inject her ourselves the next day). She stayed on Prepulsid twice daily for a week but was eating (if only a little bit) by
Monday night. By Tuesday, she was eating everything and her tummy was a normal shape again as things moved through.
It was a very long Sunday evening and a very long Monday but I am extremely pleased to say that Dingle recovered
remarkably well from her horrible ordeal. We had never experienced anything like that before but we were lucky that we knew
the symptoms to look for and what to do in an emergency. I hope anyone who reads this will pass on the information to other
people and hopefully Stasis will be known by the rabbit community as a serious condition that can be treated.
Thank you for reading this story and I wish you and your bunny many healthy days ahead!
2009 update!!! - Five years later & Oxbow's Critical care has arrived in Australia. YAY!!! This product is a powder form of food
for herbivores. It is high in fibre, is mixed with water & used as an emergency syringe food for rabbits that are not eating on
their own. It is one of those products that should be in every bunny person's freezer. Since Dingleberry's episode, we have
had a few cases when we have required syringe feeding sick bunnies. Critical Care can be bought from selected vet clinics.
Gastro Intestinal Stasis
Stasis (in short) is caused by a cessation of the normal continual movement of material along the rabbit's digestive tract. A rabbit
suffering from Stasis will cease eating and defecating. This in turn causes dehydration, and bloat and can send a bunny into
shock over a few hours. Requires immediate veterinary attention and medication.
Symptoms start with your bunny not wanting to eat, looking uncomfortable, stomach may feel bloated, poos may be small &
dark, doesn't want to run around but wants to lie down constantly or huddle in a corner. Listen to your bunny's tummy.... is it
quiet?? If there's no gurgling sounds, that means things are not moving as they should.
One thing you can try if you discover these symptoms early is to keep your bunny moving around as this will help the tummy to
start moving again. You can try to very gently stroke your bunny's tummy (not too rough though as it may hurt). Offer your
bunny's favourite food to encourage eating.
If all this fails and your bunny starts looking even more uncomfortable, you will require a trip to the vet. Don't leave this until the
next day as it may be too late. Once a rabbit's tummy stops moving and they stop moving, then shock sets in. You'll know if
your rabbit is in shock when they feel cold. This is serious & you'll need your vet to give fluids, pain relief & and gut motility
For more information, please refer to these websites.
Excellent rabbit medical
Do Your Bit