Rabbits Constipation (Causes, Symptoms & Treatment)

 Constipation is a serious problem in rabbits. Constipation occurs when the rabbit's feces harden and cannot move through the digestive tract. This can even lead to intestinal obstruction. That's why it's important to make sure your rabbit is not constipated.

Rabbits Constipation
Rabbits Constipation

 It's easy to overlook rabbit constipation because your rabbit may not have any alarming symptoms, or may have symptoms that are difficult to recognize. That's why it's important to pay attention to your rabbit and make sure it defecates regularly and without difficulty. Although constipation is usually considered a minor disorder, the truth is that in rabbits it can often be fatal. rabbits constipation is caused by intestinal obstruction, also known as gastrointestinal (GI) stasis or rabbit ileus. This is a very serious problem that occurs relatively frequently.

 There are several possible reasons why a rabbit may be constipated, but remember that this is always a medical emergency that requires veterinary treatment. Continue reading this Nodisk One article to find out everything you need to know about rabbit constipation, what foods can cause constipation, the symptoms and treatment.

This article is for informational purposes only. Nodisk One is not authorized to diagnose or prescribe any form of veterinary care or treatment. If your pet has a problem or is in pain, we recommend that you take your pet to the vet.

My Rabbit Eats But Does Not Poop

 If your pet is eating but not pooping, stress is the most likely explanation. If a rabbit has a gastric obstruction, it will be too painful to eat. Observe your rabbit and make a mental list of its behavior. If he otherwise seems normal, the constipation is probably temporary. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Is your rabbit eating with his usual healthy appetite?
  2. Is your rabbit running and exercising as usual?
  3. Does your rabbit enjoy your presence, approaching you to pet and groom you?

My Rabbit Eats But Does Not Poop
My Rabbit Eats But Does Not Poop

 If you answered yes to these questions, it's likely that something has upset him. Even if your rabbit has overcome his discomfort, it takes time for his bowels to normalize. A wild animal may have entered your yard during the night and frightened your pet. A car may have backfired and frightened him. You may have delayed greeting him in the morning, or after a nap.

 All of this can cause a temporary episode of constipation. It doesn't have to last long. Use a laxative or physically induce excretion if you are particularly concerned. However, give your rabbit a few hours before trying. Dry food, such as pellets, should be temporarily removed. Give your rabbit plenty of hay and water to drink. You should find that it won't take long for him to relieve himself.

Causes Of Rabbits Constipation

 There are several causes of constipation or intestinal obstruction in rabbits. A precise diagnosis can only be made by a veterinarian. However, here are some of the possible reasons why your rabbit is constipated:

Causes Of Rabbits Constipation
Causes Of Rabbits Constipation

- Improper diet: Most often, rabbit constipation is the result of improper feeding, so you need to make sure you are feeding your rabbit a healthy, appropriate diet. Excess carbohydrates or protein are often the cause. a rabbit's diet should be based on fresh green food, a very small amount of dry or processed pellets and plenty of hay. Cause hay provides the fiber needed for a rabbit's digestive tract to function properly.

- Changes in diet: A sudden change in food or eating habits can also cause your rabbit to stop eating or become constipated. If you want to introduce new foods or change your rabbit's diet, introduce the changes gradually to give your rabbit time to get used to them.

- Dehydration: Dehydration is also a major concern in rabbits. One of the side effects of dehydration is hypomotility or slowing of the digestive tract, which prevents it from functioning properly. This causes blockages and produces constipation.

- Poisoning: Your rabbit may have eaten spoiled or toxic foods for rabbits. These can cause serious digestive problems, making defecation difficult and causing the rabbit to become constipated.

- Dental or oral infections: If your rabbit has dental problems or oral infections such as abscesses, it may stop eating, resulting in constipation.

- Stress: In the wild, rabbits are prey animals. It is therefore sensitive and naturally prone to anxiety or stress. Increased noise levels, moving into a new home or the presence of other animals are just a few of the factors that can frighten your rabbit. This can cause your rabbit to stop bowel movements due to stress.

- Pain: Pain from other health problems can also cause your rabbit to become constipated. In this situation, the vet will likely prescribe you to give your pet painkillers.

- Abdominal adhesions: If your rabbit has undergone abdominal surgery, constipation may occur after surgery due to abdominal adhesions. This can lead to intestinal obstruction or gastrointestinal stasis. If your rabbit seems to be suffering from constipation after surgery, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Foods That Cause Rabbits Constipation

 A rabbit's diet is very important. What he eats determines his health. Even though they are very picky, some rabbit moms may force them to eat something they don't like. Or in some cases, our rabbits can be a bit naughty and eat too much food that can potentially cause constipation.

 The primary food in a rabbit's diet is hay. Timothy, prairie and grass hay are all high in fiber. Usually, these types of hay are fed to rabbits. However, if you give your rabbit alfalfa hay, it can cause constipation. Avoid alfalfa hay for your rabbits. You should avoid feeding your rabbit legumes like peas and beans. This can cause intestinal stasis. Also avoid anything from the onion family. This includes chives and green onions.

Foods That Cause Rabbits Constipation
Foods That Cause Rabbits Constipation

 Dry foods can also cause blockages in rabbits. They should be fed fresh vegetables and if not, rabbits can become constipated. This is because when you give them dried fruit or herbs, there may be a lack of water in the food. This can cause hardened stools that they can't excrete.

 Starchy foods can also cause constipation. Potatoes and bread are the main examples. Rabbits should never eat potatoes or bread. In addition to constipation, starchy foods can also cause serious health problems in your rabbits. So the key to a healthy digestive system for rabbits is simple: good nutrition. You need to feed them a high-fiber diet for healthy excretion. Quality food is the key to this puzzle.

Foods that are good for the digestive system of rabbits

The following foods are good for rabbits' digestive systems:

  • Basil
  • Carrot tops
  • Broccoli
  • Cilantro
  • Bok Choy
  • Beet greens
  • Hay or grass
  • Romaine lettuce 
  • Kohlrabi 
  • Watercress
  • Mustard greens
  • Celery

Risks Of GI Stasis In Rabbits

 Veterinary care is necessary for rabbits with constipation and GI stasis. If your rabbit is defecating but the stool is very small, hard or unusual in appearance, you should still seek veterinary attention. Constipation can be complete or partial, so be aware of any changes in your rabbit's stool. As mentioned, rabbits constipation is caused by intestinal obstruction or GI stasis. Here are some specific ways that GI stasis can manifest itself:

Risks Of GI Stasis In Rabbits
Risks Of GI Stasis In Rabbits

- Hypomotility: this is a condition in which there is a slowing of movement in the rabbit's GI tract. This means that food and hair move too slowly through the rabbit's digestive system, or get stuck, resulting in gastrointestinal stasis and constipation. Hypomotility can be caused by inadequate feeding, dehydration or other diseases.

- Obstructions: Rabbits constipation sometimes involves physical obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract by objects such as hairballs or trichobezoars. Rabbits ingest hair when they groom themselves, and if they are fed a healthy diet containing sufficient fiber, the hair normally passes through their system without complications. If your rabbit cannot process hairballs due to other underlying health problems, the hairballs clump with undigested food, blocking the rabbit's intestines and causing constipation. If your rabbit ingests a foreign substance such as carpet fibers, it can also cause obstructions in its gastrointestinal tract.

 Due to the characteristics of the rabbit's digestive system, hypomotility and constipation impact glucose levels, causing hypoglycemia in the rabbit. This in turn can lead to hepatic lipidosis and death of the rabbit. Therefore, partial or total constipation is considered a serious condition in rabbits, requiring urgent medical attention. At the first sign of constipation or blockage in your rabbit, you should take it to the vet immediately. This can be crucial in saving your rabbit's life.

How Do You Physically Encourage A Rabbit To Relieve Itself?

 Construct an obstacle course for rabbits and motivate your pet to run around. This will get his digestive tract moving again. The more cardio he does, the faster he will relieve himself.

How Do You Physically Encourage A Rabbit To Relieve Itself?
How Do You Physically Encourage A Rabbit To Relieve Itself?

 Even if he doesn't relieve himself as soon as he returns to his hutch, your rabbit will be thirsty. This means he will drink a lot of water. This will soften the hard stool.

Symptoms Of Rabbits Constipation

 The most common sign that your rabbit is constipated is, of course, if he stops defecating or defecates less than normal (in smaller pellets, for example). In addition to your rabbit appearing constipated, here are some other key symptoms of gastrointestinal stasis to watch for.

Symptoms Of Rabbits Constipation
Symptoms Of Rabbits Constipation

Contact a veterinarian right away if you notice any of these:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Gas
  • Anorexia or lack of food
  • Dehydration
  • Lethargy
  • Stooped posture
  • Thick saliva
  • Decreased urination
  • If there is a stool: usual pellets that may be covered with a whitish mucus.

 If your rabbit does not defecate at all for more than 24 hours, you should take him to the vet immediately. As mentioned, a complete lack of defecation in your rabbit can be fatal for the animal. A trained professional will be able to treat him properly in the emergency room.

Treatment Of Rabbits Constipation

 When there are several possible causes for your rabbit's constipation, the veterinarian will ask specific questions about his living conditions, the symptoms you have noticed and any changes in his routine. The veterinarian will examine and palpate the rabbit's abdomen to determine the cause of the constipation.

Treatment Of Rabbits Constipation
Treatment Of Rabbits Constipation

 An x-ray may be necessary to better observe the condition of the rabbit's digestive tract, although sometimes obstructions do not show up on an x-ray. The veterinarian may also decide to perform an ultrasound. And finally, to understand more about your rabbit's general health, a blood test may be suggested.

Medication And Remedies For Rabbits Constipation

 Medication and treatment for constipation or gastrointestinal stasis in a rabbit depends largely on the health of the rabbit and the underlying causes of the constipation. Here are some of the possible treatment options your veterinarian may recommend:

Medication And Remedies For Rabbits Constipation
Medication And Remedies For Rabbits Constipation

- Disease treatment: if a particular disease is causing your rabbit's constipation, the veterinarian will prescribe specific treatments to combat the disease as well as the constipation. Here is a list of some common rabbit diseases.

- Intestinal motility medications: To stimulate intestinal motility, the veterinarian may prescribe rabbit medications to reactivate the digestive tract. Massage and light physical activity will also help your rabbit's bowel movements.

- Fluid treatment: In severe cases, the veterinarian may opt for intravenous or intraosseous fluids, as proper hydration is essential for healthy bowel movements. In less critical cases, fluids may also be injected subcutaneously or administered orally through a nasogastric tube. It is essential that the rabbit continue to feed during this period. The veterinarian may decide to feed the rabbit through a tube or syringe, and will give a special formula for rabbits in this condition.

- Painkillers and gas medication: If the rabbit is in a lot of pain, the veterinarian may prescribe a painkiller and medication to treat the gas in the rabbit's abdomen. Of course, the veterinarian will also give you suggestions for a proper, high-fiber diet to prevent your rabbit from becoming constipated again.

- Antibiotics: In some cases, antibiotics are prescribed because constipation increases the number of intestinal bacteria, which can lead to infections that worsen the rabbit's condition. Antibiotics are generally not recommended because they also destroy healthy intestinal bacteria, and should only be prescribed by the veterinarian if absolutely necessary.

- Gastroprotectants: Gastroprotectants are medications used to prevent ulcers that often develop as a side effect of rabbits constipation. Ulcers complicate the rabbit's ability to recover because they can perforate the stomach wall and cause peritonitis.

- Natural laxatives: In the case of hairballs that have formed during gastrointestinal stasis, cat malt paste or natural pineapple juice can be given to rabbits. They have a natural laxative effect and rehydrate the digestive tract. This can help break up the mass formed in the rabbit's intestine and allow it to eliminate accumulated fecal matter.

- Surgery: If the rabbit's condition does not improve with medical treatment, your veterinarian may suggest surgery as a last option. In this case, the prognosis is uncertain. Gastrointestinal surgery on rabbits generally has a low success rate and should be considered only as a last resort.

 Once the rabbit has recovered, proper diet, adequate exercise, and minimizing stressors are essential to maintain intestinal health. After all, as with most diseases, prevention is the best cure for rabbit constipation.

What Is A Natural Laxative For Rabbits?

 The best solution is to consult your veterinarian for a rabbit-safe laxative. But if you prefer a natural laxative, olive oil is a good option. It will help your rabbits' intestinal transit. This is the only case you should give olive oil to your rabbits. Olive oil contains fat. It can cause diarrhea. So if you give it to rabbits when they are constipated, it will help them but not otherwise. 

 You need to make sure that you only give a small amount of olive oil. A teaspoon is the recommended amount. You can wait for the rabbit to poop after you give the oil. If it does not poop even after that, do not give it any more olive oil. The health of your rabbit could suffer badly from this.

What Is A Natural Laxative For Rabbits?
What Is A Natural Laxative For Rabbits?

 Also remove pellets and other solid foods. Your rabbit will probably want a snack, and hay is ideal. Cause it contain fiber, And of course physical movement and water, will be a big help.

 You can also put a cotton ball under warm water then rub it on your rabbit's genitals. This will probably only work for young rabbits. You're trying to replicate the sensation of being licked, just like how a mother rabbit encourages her young to relieve themselves. Your pet's body will have a reflex reaction.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rabbits Constipation

Why does my rabbit urinate but not poop?

 Again, this may be due to stress. However, check to make sure your pet is not pooping elsewhere. He may have found a place in the house that he has claimed as his own. There may be another cause for your rabbit's constipation. Urination and excretion are not always related. If your rabbit continues to drink and pee, it doesn't mean he doesn't have trouble relieving himself.

 If a rabbit can drink, his stomach will not be overly swollen. The liquid he absorbs also dilutes the hard stool and moves it along. The best thing to do is to help your rabbit at home if you can. You will get an answer, and your pet is less likely to be stressed by the experience. If you suspect a bowel obstruction, you should seek veterinary help.

How often should rabbits relieve themselves?

 The daily maximum number of poop that a healthy rabbit can produce is 300 poops. Don't worry if this seems like a lot more poop than your rabbit ever produces. The fact is, you won't see all those poop pellets.

 Rabbits are clean animals. It's likely that your pet will relieve itself in a private, non-visible part of its hutch. Rabbits also consume a small amount of their own waste. These droppings are known as cecotropes, and rabbits use them to obtain nutrients. Cecotropes are usually a source of protein and vitamin D for rabbits.

How long can a rabbit go without pooping?

 Rabbits poop very frequently. Don't be surprised if you see your rabbit pooping every time it eats hay. When making poop, rabbits like to chew on something. Rabbits can go up to 48 hours without pooping. After that, they can have very serious health problems. Some rabbits may not even survive if they do not poop for 48 hours. 

 This means that any extended period without urination or feces is a red flag. Keep a close eye on your rabbit. If he hasn't pooped in 24 hours, see a veterinarian. Also if your rabbit isn't eating contact a veterinarian. These are symptoms of gastrointestinal stasis, which the University of Miami calls "the silent killer." Even a healthy rabbit will not survive long in this condition. Check your rabbit's hutch and litter box daily for poop. Rabbits like to relieve themselves in soft areas.

How do you know if your rabbit has an upset stomach?

 Indicators of abdominal discomfort are bruxism (teeth grinding), pushing the abdomen to the floor and a stooped posture. General therapy is to rehydrate the rabbit and restore a healthy microbial ecology in the digestive tract.

How can I help a rabbit with temporary constipation?

You have two choices if you believe your rabbit's constipation is temporary:

  1. Give your rabbit a small laxative dose.
  2. Physically stimulate your rabbit to poop.

The technique you use will depend on the severity of your rabbit's constipation.

Can rabbits eat strawberries?

 Because of their reasonably balanced sugar and fiber content, strawberries are one of the best occasional treats you can give your rabbit. So if you want to give your rabbit a special treat, strawberries are a great option!

A Final Word

 Rabbits constipation is a serious health problem. You must take care of your rabbits because treating constipation is not an easy task. That's why you must prevent it from happening. You can easily prevent gastrointestinal stasis in rabbits by adopting a healthy diet and exercising your rabbit. It's that simple! If you notice that your rabbit is constipated, be sure to treat it as described above.

Rabbits constipation is a serious health problem
Rabbits constipation is a serious health problem

 If it's been more than 48 hours, you need to go to the vet immediately. Hopefully, all of your rabbits are free of constipation and are healthy. For more questions about constipation and rabbit health, comment below!

Only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, are used by Nodisk One to substantiate the information in our articles.