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sherie 02-26-2014 08:13 AM

My dwarf bunny is sick please help asap
PLEASE HELP.. sick dwarf rabbit- If this is not appropriate please remove. I have an 8 year old draft female bunny who appears to have stopped eating. Also looks like she is not drinking much either. Could be as long as 2-3 days. I did not notice at first as she does have a habit of picking the treat parts out of her food. Yesterday am I noticed that she had not eaten her carrot or her pellets. I didn't give her any more food as she needs to eat the pellets and not just what ...she wants out of the food but did start watching her. Last night when I went to feed she had not eaten any of her food, not even her timothy hay which she loves. She was also laying down which is unusual at feeding time. Now of course I am worried sick so I tried giving her some honeysuckles, she got up to smell them but would not eat them. I also tried rose leaves which she loves. No luck. She has no eye or nasal discharge and no diarrhea that I can tell as her butt is clean. Actually she looks good. Coat nice and clean, eyes bright, ect. I have no idea what could be wrong with her or what I can do to help. I could take her to the Vet and would if it looked like something that some antibiotics would take care of but from what I have read dwarfs usually don't live very long so I hate to stress her for nothing. She did allow me to pet her last night which is unusual as she will normally run to the back of the cage unless she is eating. I also noticed that she was grinding her teeth. She has done this before when trying to catcher for the grandkids but I am afraid it could be a sign of pain or maybe she just did not feel like being messed with. I worried about the teeth grinding so I checked on her many times during the night. I did not notice any more teeth grinding however she was not active and did not eat.
Does any one have any suggestions?? Could she be dying of old age or is there something I can do for her. Should I force her to drink to keep her hydrated? Any idea what is wrong with her. Should I take her to the Vet at her age?

OutOfTheLoop 02-26-2014 09:37 AM

When you are old and get sick, are you just going to lay in bed and die instead of go to the doctor " because your too old"?
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Monkey 02-26-2014 11:10 AM

You mentioned no diarrhea, which is good, but has she been pooping at all? Is it normal?

I'm NOT a vet, so please take this with a grain of salt, since no one can diagnos an illness over the internet, but based on what you described, my first thought is that she might have gas or GI Stasis (similar to colic). The teeth grinding is a definite sign of discomfort. Is she sitting with her belly pressed to the ground? You could try dosing her with 1cc of Pediatric Simethicone (you can get it over the counter at pretty much any drug store or grocery store) every 3 hours - if it's gas, the simethicone will help break down the gas bubbles so she can pass them. A gentle tummy massage might also help.

I would recommend taking her to a vet, especially if this has been going on as long as 2-3 days like you mentioned it might have.

Does she get unlimited access to hay? It's important for bunnies (I have two) to be continually nibbling - much like horses. Rabbits' and horses' digestive systems are fairly similar, from what I understand. What have you been feeding her in terms of veggies? Diet may contribute to gas issues.

It's always scary when a furbaby is in pain and we don't know how to fix it :( One of my bunnies recently had a bout of gas; I was able to help him through it with the massages and the simethicone, and he's doing just fine now. :)

Do a Google search for GI stasis in bunnies and you'll find a lot of good information (just be careful that you're getting info from reputable sites like

Also, try searching for info at They have a really good forum. I'm no longer an active member there, but there are some REALLY awesome people there who can provide good advice. (You'll also get the same advice that I gave you about taking her to a vet).

Here's just one resource I found quickly: Gastro-Intestinal (GI) Problems: Gas and Stasis

Good luck! Sending positive vibes and prayers your way. :-) Please let keep us updated.

sherie 02-26-2014 11:22 AM

Guess that would depend. Sometimes quality of life makes a difference. It would sure beat the things I have seen relatives with cancer go through for nothing except more suffering. So far as my bunny I was hoping for some useful information until I could actually reach a Vet in our area that sees rabbits. Finally found one recommended by my Equine Vet but he is not in our area today. He will be in on Friday so for now I will be giving her yogurt, baby food, and pineapple juice( in case of hair ball) Also there would not have been any questions about taking her to the Vet if she had been hurt or had other symptoms such as respiratory which indicated some meds would help but at her age I sure don't plan on putting her through the stress of having surgery or even having to stay at the Vet. I would rather put her down. Also do you have any idea how hard it is to find a Vet that sees rabbits? After 10 calls this am finally found a Vet that will see a rabbit but not today. They advised to try baby food, yogurt, pineapple juice (in case of hair ball) via syringe. Also because of your rude comment I want to let you know that I lost my 33 yr old blind Appy with uveitis 2 years ago after 10 years of fighting to keep him comfortable, Vet visits and constant eye drops and other meds. Not to mention that last year we paid over $3000 for my dog who broke her leg in two places and had to have surgery to have screws and pins put in. I take care of my animals but sometimes age and quality of life is a factor. I would hope that someone would take that in to account for me.

jaydee 02-26-2014 11:24 AM

That's quite a good age for a dwarf rabbit - they don't seem to live as long as some other breeds
Have you checked that her teeth don't need cutting - some need to have their teeth trimmed because they keep growing and interlock with each other making eating very difficult if not impossible
The flat faced breeds seem to suffer most with this - we found it was common in all the dwarf lops we had
This is a video explaining how but I would suggest you take your bunny to a vet if you don't have the experience yourself to do it

sherie 02-26-2014 11:27 AM

Monkey, That you so much for your informative and supportive reply. She has an appt on Friday and they thought they same as you that it may be a GI problem so they gave me a plan. I have already been to the store and got what they suggested and now will take my lunch hour to go home and get her so I can begin the recommended treatment

sherie 02-26-2014 11:31 AM

Monkey and Jaydee

Yes, she and my other bunny always have timothy hay, hard salt and mineral blocks and apple sticks to chew along with fresh veggies, grasses, fruit, ect.

I hope it is her teeth and I will check as soon as I get home. Afraid it is not as she has been eating fine until 2 days ago.

thank you so much for your advice and concern. It really means a lot.

DancingArabian 02-26-2014 11:43 AM

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I think you should take her to the vet and not wait or try to treat on your own.
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Strawberry4Me 02-26-2014 11:51 AM

8 is quite old for a rabbit in general. And dwarfs don't tend to live as long as some other breeds. You may want to talk to the vet about how long he thinks she has left in her... I don't want to be a downer, but it might just be her time... If she has stopped eating, maybe she has reached the end of her rope.

I have owned many rabbits in my life, I absolutely LOVE them... I have only ever had ONE live longer than 8 years, and he lost complete use of his back legs and was peeing and pooping all over himself. I had to bathe him daily, and hold his hind end up so he could try and walk around. I should have let him go sooner, and I learned a valuable lesson with him. Its much better to let them go when they are ready than to drag on their life, when they have no quality of life left. He suffered because I was too selfish to let go.

I am not saying this is the case with your bunny, but consider her age when you are processing all of this. Also, I would go to the vet now. Today.

Shoebox 02-26-2014 12:18 PM

Yes, this isn't something that can wait. I have bunnies and the rule of thumb is if they don't eat in 12 hours, start to worry. If they don't eat in 24 you need a vet. Immediately. Bunnies are hardy little things, but they're also fragile, and the way it's going it doesn't sound like your bun can make it till Friday - ESPECIALLY if she's not eating.

It does sound like GI stasis, like another user said. An impaction in the gut similar to horse colic. How long is her fur? Licking fur can collect in their stomach and cause an impaction. But let's face it - she's old. She's very old - do keep that in mind. I don't think you should wait for a vet appointment, I think she should be brought in today.

All the best for you, I hope it goes well. Keep us updated

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