9 year old mini dutch rabbit won't eat

by Janet
(Kittanning, Pa. U.S.A.)

I have a nine year old mini dutch, male. The last few days he would eat only lettuce, apple bits and small pieces of banana. He normally loves his pellets but he won't go near them. Tonight he wouldn't even take the lettuce, so I went outside and cut him some grass because one other time that and a little Crisco seemed to help him. but that didn't help either. I gave him the Crisco in some lettuce two days ago, nothing. His poop (what there is of it) is dry, so I got a new water bottle and even tried a water bowl. I can't get him to a vet for two days. Any advice for me and my little Jasper?

***** Karen Sez *****

I guess you don't need to be told that Jasper is very old in bunny years. It might just be nearing the end of its life.

On the other hand, you'd like to do what you can in case there's any hope for turning things around. So let's brainstorm a bit.

How are Jasper's teeth? Is he able to chew? If the bunny is developing a tooth spur or a malocclusion in its molars, it could be it can't chew without sharp jagged edges hurting him. If you work a few pellets, a piece of banana and some water into a mush, will he eat it?

Adding a bit of solid fat is a good idea - I'd recommend coconut oil over Crisco, which is an unhealthy trans-fat. Another option could be black oil sunflower seeds (bird seed). (If the teeth are maloccluded, the oil seeds will probably be too difficult for the rabbit to masticate.)

Supposing his teeth are fine, however, I'm concerned that the rabbit is becoming dehydrated. If his intestines slow down and then stop, this will not bode well for the rabbit's survival. I appreciate the lengths you are reaching toward in order to help your rabbit get better.

You sent your note a few days ago; did Jasper see the vet? What did the vet say? Is the bunny on the mend, or has he died?

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Jan 26, 2014
Thanks everyone
by: Janet

Jasper is nine but I want him to live all the quality time he can! I wanted to try everything I could at home first because I live in a snow belt and on a good day it takes me an hour to get to the vet.

I took away Jasper's pellet food and only fed him drenched herbs (because he wasn't drinking waste either) and Timothy hay. I then gave him a little crisco to lick off his paws, because at that time he wasn't using his litter box at all.

I am happy to report after a change in diet and lots of tummy rubs he is back to normal! I can change his litter box again. Never realized before how happy I am to do that!

Thanks for your concern. It's great to know I have people to talk to.

***** Karen Sez *****

Such good news! Thanks for keeping us all in the loop. Your words will help someone else someday.

Good ole Jasper!

Jan 17, 2014
When my bunnies have eating problems,,,
by: codrina miculit-maniu

I always start by trying to rule out a dental problem - excessive salivation,dropping the food from their mouth, growling when eating, slow chewing, etc.

I also check the way the droppings look:
- too sticky, elongated or deformed - possible dysbiosis(intestinal or cecal bacterial flora problems), intestinal parasites,
- too small - low food intake,
- too dry - dehydration.

The next thing I do is stimulate their appetite and water intake in a healthy way, meaning:
- many varieties of hay,
- willow and apple leaves (for fibres, coccidiostatic and also very yummy)
- aromatic herbs - fresh (they also get some hydration this way) or dried: basil, parsley, mint, thyme (strong antibiotic), camomile, etc.
- other herbs - I like nettle, which is nutritive, detoxifying, antibiotic, and mallow (hydrating and protective for the intestinal wall)
- herbal teas,
- syringe water and food feeding,
- I drastically reduce the protein and carbohydrates in their diet.

I also listen to the abdominal sounds:
- too loud: bloating, excessive fermentation - I give them simethicone for gas elimination and gentle belly massage;
- no sounds at all - GI stasis.

A little metacam is very helpful when there is an intense pain in the body.

And, of course, I took them to the vet as soon as possible, if my solutions don't give very quick results.

I really hope your little Jasper is better now. God bless you both.

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