Foreign Object Blockage in Rabbits

Excessive consumption of foreign objects such as carpet, fur, bedding etc. can cause obstructions within your rabbits digestive system. If an obstruction like this occurs you should seek veterinary assistance immediately, failure to do so could be fatal. 

Rabbit chewing, foreign object blockage rabbit

Symptoms

  • Stop eating
  • Stop producing faeces or produce smaller than usual faeces
  • Teeth grinding (indication of pain)
  • Hunched over posture (indication of pain)
  • Lethargy (indication of pain)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Collapse
  • Abdominal distension (stomach expands beyond its normal girth)
  • Repeated attempts to swallow with or without food

Cause 

  • Excessive consumption of foreign objects: fur, carpet, cardboard, bedding, wires, foam from furniture etc.
  • Not enough fibre in their diet (affecting the ability of their gastric muscles)
  • Inactivity

Diagnosis

  • Physical examination by your vet, checking for any obstructions and potentially a build up of gas or fluid behind the obstruction
  • X-ray to assess what and where the obstruction is

Treatment

Immediate treatment is imperative, failure to do so will be fatal. If your rabbit does not eat or pass faecal pellets they can die within 24 hours.

Surgery is possibly going to be the only option to remove any foreign object blockages.

Syringe feeding and gut motility drugs were once recommended, however, new advice indicates that this can in fact push the blockage to a smaller part of the digestive system that may be very difficult to access, so this is no longer advised.

Prevention

  • High fibre diet (hay, grass etc)
  • Close supervision and regular checks to ensure your rabbits are not excessively consuming foreign objects.

 

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