If you notice that your rabbit hasn’t produced poop for 12 h or more, consider this as an emergency. React fast and take your pet to the vet.
Your bunny might have a condition called GI Stasis that could be life-threatening and end up with the life of your bunny pretty fast.
If you would like to learn more about the reasons why your bunny won’t poop, how to help him/her at that moment and even more important how to prevent constipation in rabbits keep reading our article.
How Many Poop Does Healthy Rabbit Do Per Day?
Mid-size, healthy, adult bunny should produce 200-300 poops daily. Don’t worry if you think that your rabbits produce significantly less, you never will be able to see every single dropping.
One of the reasons is that rabbits eat their own poop. Although it sounds disgusting, it is vital for their health. Rabbits eat softer and more moisture dropping called cecotropes. This poop is full of vitamin B and other nutritive elements such as proteins therefore very important for your bunny’s health.
The bunny usually eats these dropping directly from the anus. It can look like he is grooming his hind end but actually he got the information from the brain that those highly nutritious little things are likely to come out.
So to bottom line, you will hardly ever seen any cecotropes in the rabbit’s litter box or cage. But if you do see them in larger numbers in your bunny’s cage that could indicate that the bunny’s diet is too rich in proteins or be a sign of some serious health problem. In that case, seek for vet’s help.
Cecotropes has stronger smell then ordinary rabbit’s droppings.
Other droppings that your bunny doesn’t eat ( they look like dry, little balls, in the size of a pea and if you crack it you will find something like sawdust inside. Doesn’t stink ) you can find either in a litter box or if your bunny is not litter box trained than you can find it all over the place.
Why Is My Rabbit Eating and Not Pooping?
If your rabbit is eating but not pooping, this can be quite disturbing and requires a fast reaction.
In case your rabbit stopped producing droppings that mean that his gastrointestinal tract cannot push the digested food through the colon and later rectum.
As a result of the fact that the digestive system has slowed down or even stopped, bad bacteria build-up causing gas and pain in rabbits. As this condition progresses, your bunny will stop eating as well as he will be in pain.
This condition is called GI Stasis and happens very quickly and can be fatal. As a matter of fact, it is the most common health problem in rabbits.
As said before this situation is considered an emergency. You need to see the vet asap.
The vet will perform X-rays and full examination. He might give IV fluids to your bunny if he thinks that would help.
How Do I know If My Rabbit Has a Blockage?
GI Stasis is just one of the condition that is considered as a blockage. Others are intestinal obstructions and hairballs.
GI Stasis Symptoms:
- Your rabbit will be in ”meatloaf ”position, which is commonly seen when rabbits are in pain.
- Your bunny will not have the desire nor energy to greet you
- Teeth grinding is also possible, indicating that he is in pain.
- Your pet will not be interested in food, not even in his favorite treats.
- He will not produce droppings.
Intestinal obstruction is something different from GI stasis and requires different treatment but also considered an emergency. Rabbits ( especially those that roam free all over the house) can run into some objects that could be appealing to them and they can easily swallow them.
For example buttons ( remote control ), toys, plastic parts, cables… That is why it is very important to rabbit-proof the room or the whole house if you let your bunny roam free.
One important remark – rabbits are not able to vomit so therefore not capable to throw up the thing they have just swallowed
Not only the objects pose the threat, but also some food may cause this condition. For example – apple seeds or sweet corn or even locust beans that might be found in muesli type food may cause intestinal obstruction.
Be careful also with litter, don’t use cat litter especially that clay-based clumping litter. This one can cause a lot of trouble for a bunny. Always choose non-clumping litters ( like wood shavings).
Intestinal obstruction symptoms
Very similar to the GI Statis symptoms such as:
- teeth grinding
- a rabbit that is not willing to move
- not willing to eat and as a result of that become anorexic
- not producing poop
- a rabbit that occupies a ”meatloaf” position so he can press his stomach on the ground
- bloated stomach
This condition is not always easy to detect as signs are not always so obvious. If you suspect that your bunny is struggling with something like this you should take him to the vet. Vet will perform X-rays.
Most probably the vet will detect easily the enlarged part of intestine, showing an excess of gases or fluids pointing exactly where the blockage has been developed. Sometimes even the object can be clearly seen, but that depends on the type of object the caused the blockage.
Intestinal blockage is treated either by surgical treatment or by non-surgical one. If the vet decides to try with medical (non-surgical) treatment, your bunny will receive pain killers, fluid therapy and gas decompression ( the vet will use one tube which will go through your rabbit’s mouth to its stomach)
Surgical treatment is performed under general anesthesia during which the obstruction is surgically removed.
Another issue could be Hairballs. Hairballs were considered as the main reason for blockage in rabbits in the past. But nowadays, thanks to many scientific studies, the experts come to the conclusion that ingested hair will not make any problem to a healthy rabbit with normal gut motility.
Rabbits are very clean animals, they groom themselves almost constantly and it is quite normal to swallow their own hairs. Especially in the shedding period, they can swallow great number of them.
If their intestine works well, hairs will just pass through the gastrointestinal tract and will come out together with the poop. But in case the gut motility is compromised hairs will pile up causing the blockage.
So the primary problem here is that the Gastro-intestinal tract has slowed down (due to lack of fibers and water in the diet) and hairballs are the only secondary issue that comes as a result of the main problem.
Hairballs symptoms are similar to Intestinal obstruction signs.
What Can I Give To My Rabbit To Help Him Poop?
If you notice that your rabbit produce less poop or doesn’t poop at all, encourage him to eat more hay ( if he can still eat)
Never give laxatives to your rabbit, at least not without consultation with the vet. A more natural solution is olive oil. But you should be careful with nature too.
Too much olive oil may cause diarrhea ( due to high-fat content) so from one problem your rabbit ends up having another problem, not a good idea. Try with one teaspoon of olive oil. If you don’t see any result in a few hours, don’t give it again. It could only harm your pet.
If your bunny won’t eat, you can try syringe feeding. Take some appetite restore solution such as Oxbow Critical Care or Sherwood’s SARx Rescue. You can also use the baby gas drops ( little less than one dropper ). I also heard that some people find fresh pineapple juice helpful in this situation.
Encourage your rabbit to run around. Good exercise could influence his digestive tract to start moving again. If your pet starts bouncing around, that is an excellent sign!
If your bunny is in pain and won’t do any exercise, place him in your lap, with a head towards you. Elevate your legs a little bit so the rabbit’s bottom is also elevated and start a massage.
Perform gentle massage of rabbits abdomen, trying to find any bubbles or some frim parts and work on them. Most of the rabbits will tolerate the massage as they are in pain and continue with massage as long as your bunny wants.
You can repeat syringe feeding, infant gas drops and massage every few hours.
After the poop resumes you should still feed your bunny with recovery nutrition such as Critical care ( Oxbow) but you can add some digestive support tablets ( either Oxbow Natural Science or Sherwood’s Pet health)
When your bunny starts to eat normally and become interested in greens again, put your bunny on hay only diet for a day or two. Hay is full of fibers and therefore precious for gut motility recovery.
After that, your bunny starts producing normal droppings again you can let him eat as usual. But be careful, maybe you and your bunny experienced this problem because of a poor diet.
How To Prevent Constipation in Rabbits?
To prevent constipation in the rabbit make sure your bunny has a proper diet, is very active and entertained as well as safe.
A good diet should contain a lot of good quality hay, small amounts of pellets and a generous portion of leafy, dark green veggies. Not to forget water, of course.
When you pick the pellets, make sure they have high fiber content and to be Soy-free.
Don’t feed your bunny with fruits every day as they have high sugar and carbohydrate content.
Provide your bunny with enough room to do exercise. Bunnies need to be active, hop and run around, otherwise, they can become obese and get sick easily.
Before you let your bunny to roam free make sure you bunny proof the room/ house. In short that means that you should cover wires and cables, protect furniture and baseboards, block off some areas that are not safe for bunnies with puppy pen or baby gates, move house plants out of bunny’s reach as great deal of them might be poisons to your rabbit.
If you do this task as it should, you will reduce possibility that your bunny swallow something that could cause him obstruction.
If your rabbit eats and doesn’t poop, take it seriously, something is wrong. Either try some of things such as massage, olive oil and more hay and if doesn’t help rush to the vet.
Remember that lack of droppings for 12 h requires vet attention and if passes more then 24 h your bunny’s life is in real danger.
Take all precaution to prevent any of this to happen. Good care, proper diet rich in fibers and a lot of exercise will keep your bunny in good shape and great health. Good luck !