Gas - What do I do ?
The culprit that causes gas problems in our bunnies is believed to exist in the diet we feed them, specifically large amounts of: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. Some bunnies are susceptible to gas more than others no matter their size or breed. Completely removing such veggies from their diet is not necessary as moderation is the key. To date, the listed culprits have not been proven as the causes of gas and opinions vary widely. But it is fact that rabbits do commonly suffer from gas, and if ignored, the problem is potentially fatal. SYMPTOMS: When a rabbit suffers from gas, it is pertinent that you treat your bunny as quickly as possible. Symptoms that are most commonly presented include:
- Gurgling noises coming from your rabbit’s stomach.
- Bunny will become lethargic preferring to be left alone often sitting with her eyes partially closed.
- Significant decrease in appetite (even with her most favorite foods).
- Bunny will lay in an uncomfortable or unusual manner-partially on her side to ease the pain (most likely with the front part of her body held upright while her hind legs seem relaxed); or she may not want to lay down at all instead preferring to sit upright with a very straight posture.
- Her stomach will feel very hard, or extremely soft.
- Her temperature will be lower than normal (below 100F) WHAT TO DO:
- Check your bunny’s temperature – If it has dropped below normal, you must warm her up before her system shuts down (hypothermia). Place her on a heating pad, warm water bottle, under a heating lamp, or hold her against your body. Continue to monitor her temperature regularly (every half hour so) to make sure it does not drop further.
- Give your bunny a simethicone product orally - Commonly sold over-the-counter products include Infant’s Phazyme, or Infant’s Mylicon. Give 1/3 of a dropper (0.3ml) for smaller bunnies, or ½ dropper (0.5ml) for larger bunnies every 4-6 hours until your bunny appears to lay down in her normal manner, or she beings to eat again. A Gas relief product is a good thing to have on hand in your rabbit care emergency kit.
- Take care of her digestive tract and make sure she is hydrated – Chances are your bunny has not eaten because of the pain. We must make sure the good flora (bacteria) in her intestines are still present in her system. Give her some acidophilus twice a day during this episode, or one ml of Benebac. Pedialyte can be added to make a manageable liquid if you are using acidophilus in powder form to syringe the mixture directly into her mouth. Give as much as she will take, being careful to drop the liquid slowly into the side of her mouth. Do not squirt it into her mouth as she could breath it into her lungs.
- Apply tummy massage – Rubbing your bunny’s tummy in a gentle manner will help to ease the pain and expedite the relief. - Watch her appetite and make sure she is eating – Even if she will only feed on fruits, it is very important that she continues to eat. Episodes can last between 2 to 12 hours, you should contact your veterinarian if symptoms persist more than one day.