Gastrointestinal stasis and obstructive Ileus in the rabbit

Jennifer Prebble
Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rabbits have a highly specialized digestive tract and consequently they develop different digestive problems to those seen in cats and dogs. Diet, stress and pain can all play a role in the development of gastrointestinal stasis, a disease characterized by reduced motility of the digestive tract. Early signs are often missed by clients and at the time of presentation many rabbits are depressed, anorexic and are developing hepatic lipidosis.Obstructive Ileus can occur following ingestion of foreign objects and can be difficult to distinguish from gastrointestinal stasis. History, clinical examination and radiography can all be used to distinguish these conditions. An accurate diagnosis ensures the rabbit receives the correct treatment. Prokinetics and assisted feeding while essential in the management of gut stasis are contraindicated in cases of obstructive ileus until an exploratory laparotomy has been performed.Nursing rabbits with these conditions can be time consuming but plays a very important role in their recovery. Good supportive care consisting of fluid therapy, syringe feeding and reducing stress during hospitalization is essential alongside treatment.

Gastrointestinal stasis and obstructive Ileus in the rabbit
Gastrointestinal stasis and obstructive Ileus in the rabbit

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