rabbit producing too many cecotropes

There is no doubt that your rabbit will not be happy with you for a while and will probably throw a few tantrums. Rabbits have a complex and efficient gastrointestinal (GI) physiology that allows them to digest materials that are indigestible to non-herbivore species. Young rabbits, especially those newly weaned, are especially susceptible to the disease when they are fed a high-starch diet because their digestive system does not yet have the normal amounts of microbial flora, as does that of a healthy adult rabbit. The chart below, based on information presented in this article, is for reference purposes only. Additional factors aid in the diagnostic process, including the history of medications, description of the diet (including dates and details of change), any possible foreign materials ingested and date of occurrence(s), and stress factors. They are nutrient-packed dietary items important to your buddy rabbit’s good health. Cause of Intermittent Soft Cecotropes (ISC) A common complaint of rabbit owners is having their pet produce normal dry stools along with soft, semi-liquid droppings that stick to the rabbit and to the surroundings. There are times when combining the expertise of both standard and alternative treatments offers the best supportive care. Because cecal impaction is a serious threat, I want to see the rabbit respond to treatment within twenty-four hours. Image Source Similar to humans, rabbits may be checked for any medical condition or rule out any illness by evaluating their poop. In all cases, the emphasis remains on high quantities of quality grass hay. Current research indicates that return to health hinges on fluids and fiber. and E. coli bacteria are normally found in small amounts in the cecum and do not cause a problem. Cecotropes are also more often produced in the evenings, rather than all day long like normal rabbit poops. Used by permission. (Please read our handout Care of Rabbits for details on this diet.) A non-profit rabbit rescue and education organization. Additionally if you are currently feeding a pellet mix that contains seeds and nuts you need to make the same switch to a grass hay pellet. Cecal dysbiosis is poop that isn't completely formed and is doughy or pasty and is usually quite smelly. It does, however, require a commitment by you, the caregiver, to provide a healthy diet for your pet for the rest of the pet’s life. If a rabbit cannot eat the cecotropes, then she may be missing vital nutrients those special droppings provide. A rabbit will normally poop a number of times per day, producing anywhere between 100-300 individual pellets (this number will change depending on the size of the rabbit). Intermittent soft cecotropes are fairly common in rabbits. Cabbage (red, green, Chinese) Cecotropes and waste droppings are produced in different areas of the intestinal tract and at different times. Your veterinarian may wish to obtain a stool sample for microscopic examination. Gaining an understanding of how this large organ works – and what causes disruption – will help caregivers monitor their rabbits’ health, detect early signs of cecal disorder, and take steps to prevent a bunny’s condition from worsening. I work out a treatment protocol for the caregiver that includes additional hydration if necessary, and some caregivers are skilled in giving fluids at home. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including pain, toxins (including some antibiotics), ingestion of foreign materials, disorders of other parts of the gastrointestinal tract, and environmental or physical stress (such as extremes of temperature, poor sanitation, and lack of exercise). An irregular production or abnormal formation of cecotropes is often the result. Monitor the waste droppings as described above to make sure your pet is eating sufficient amounts of hay. Edible flowers from the garden (organically grown and NOT from a florist) such as roses, nasturtiums, day lilies, pansies and snap dragons Rabbits who have had cecal impactions in the past are more likely to develop problems in the future: the cecum may fill up again. The signs for cecal motility disorders are non-specific; they may be indicative of some other problem. In addition, cecal motility disorders may be gradual and progressive. Too many treats or too little hay (fiber) will result in an excess of cecotrope. Despite these soft droppings, however, there is evidence of normal, dry, round stools being produced daily as well. Once the pet starts eating the hay gradually reduce the amount of pellets to zero over the next week and continue with feeding only grass hay as described in the section above until the soft stools are gone for a week. The hay acts to return normal motility to the GI tract and normal flora to the cecum eliminating the soft stools entirely. Divide this into a couple of feedings a day. When there is dehydration and shutdown, buprenorphine (an injectable morphine derivative) may be more appropriate. Although technically a rabbit could survive on good quality mixed grass hay, it is likely that it will not be complete for the life of the rabbit and will be missing some trace nutrients. Broccoli (leaves and top) Stress. In mucoid enteropathy there is production of clear mucous stools followed by gradual wasting, which if left untreated will lead to death.Clostridium spp. For additional information, reference “Liver (Hepatic) Disease in Rabbits,” posted on this website. Few caregivers ever see the cecotropes, as it looks like the rabbit is simply grooming his anal area. In a nutshell, the problem is not the production of soft stool (the waste material that makes up the round, dry droppings) but that the cecotropes, the nutrient-rich droppings produced by the cecum, are abnormally liquid and cannot be eaten. Tomáš Chlebeček, DVM is a former aerospace engineer who became a veterinarian as a result of his association with the Colorado House Rabbit Society. They contain essential nutrients that rabbits view as too valuable to waste. The stomach and small intestine alone are not able to extract all the nutrients from the fibrous plant material that is a rabbit’s primary food source. Contents of the cecum are normally semifluid. The primary author has a special interest in cecal function because of her rescued rabbits. She has made a home with special-needs rabbits and other animals, all of them rescues. The soft droppings stick to the rabbit’s hindquarters, causing irritation and a foul odor. After the rabbit stops producing the pudding-like cecotropes and green leafy vegetables are reintroduced, Dr. Brown recommends that high-fiber greens (e.g., kale) be included in the selection because of their vitamin content, especially Vitamin C. Softer greens (e.g., romaine lettuce) and cooking herbs such as parsley and mint add variety. The next most common cause is the use of inappropriate antibiotics that harm the flora in the rabbit’s cecum. Alfalfa hay may be the only hay available in your area, or your pet may absolutely refuse to eat grass hay and will only eat alfalfa. The discussion below includes information about foods that disrupt the proper working of a rabbit’s GI tract as well as foods that enable it to function as it should. If the rabbit is young, the chances for recovery are not as good, especially if the bunny is newly weaned and exhibiting the most serious signs of the disease. There are several online hay sources where you can order small bags of different types of grass hay. That means that subcutaneous fluids are not absorbed quickly enough to do much good. Three general stages of cecal motility disorders are discussed in this section: abnormally soft cecotropes, cecal hypomotility (slowdown), and cecal impaction (stasis). Look on the label and note if it is based on based on grass hay (most often it will say timothy hay, but it can be any grass hay). When a rabbit is fed appropriately, a balance of bacteria in the cecum works slowly to break down fibrous plant foodstuffs, providing volatile fatty acids for energy as well as amino acids, vitamins, and particular enzymes. Utilizing the principles of behavior and training, she is teaching ways for people to live in harmony with their companion animals. If a rabbit is not treated early, the caregiver will suddenly notice changes in the rabbit’s behavior and responsiveness. You can try adding in about 1/8 cup per 4 lbs of body weight initially and go up to no more then ¼ cup of pellets per 4 lbs body weight per day maximum. If pellets are to be eventually introduced, I recommend that only grass-hay-based (not alfalfa-based) pellets be fed on a very limited basis; the food should be devoid of grains. A diet high in fiber and low in starch and sugars will be critical in returning the rabbit to health. It is better to feed some type of hay rather than no hay at all and you can continue with the same plan described for treating ISC with grass hay. I advise my clients to never feed any high-carbohydrate (especially grain-based) foods again. It may be that a rabbit reacts with loss of appetite and subsequent slowdown of gut motility, which leads to the life-threatening shutdown of both the intestinal tract and the cecum. Cecotrophs contain around 28-30% crude protein and up to 30% of the total nitrogen intake of rabbits. Before starting the discussion of cecal disorders, it should be noted that caregivers can help protect their rabbits against the diseases, which can be life-threatening. 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