A few weeks ago I suddenly became very ill. My tummy was so painful I didn’t know what to do with myself and just couldn’t get comfortable. My housemates noticed something was amiss that morning when I wasn’t my usual perky self. Instead I was all hunched up in the corner, I hadn’t eaten any hay overnight and couldn’t even be tempted with pellets (which I normally devour pretty quickly!). So they whisked me off to the vet…
Now some of you might be thinking “that’s a bit over the top – why don’t you give it a day to see if you start eating again”, however, the problem with us rabbits is that once we stop eating we can very quickly go downhill, so if you notice your bun-friend is not munching on their food then take them down to the vets asap.
Once at the vets I had a thorough check over from vet Mel. All my symptoms, my examination (I was breathing very fast, I was cold and had a big, fat hard tummy) plus a blood test pointed towards me having bloat.
Bloat occurs when a blockage happens in the stomach. Gas and liquid will build up in the stomach, causing it to expand and become dangerously large. Bloat occurs very quickly - most rabbits will one minute appear healthy and happy and the next they are in pain and have no interest in food whatsoever.
Below is an x-ray that had been taken of me – can you spot the rather large stomach? Not only is this incredibly painful, but a large stomach will block the blood flow to my essential organs such as the heart and kidneys. On top of this, if left untreated the stomach wall will continue to stretch until it ruptures = end of Selma. Pretty horrid eh?
A couple of days at Lowesmoor and some intensive nursing from my housemate Tara at home and I’m feeling good now, although it took me a week or so before I was fully back to binky status. Luckily with quick treatment to relieve my symptoms I did not need surgery to remove the blockage and so recovered much quicker.
For many rabbits bloat is a poor outlook- often by the time they get to the vets the combination of internal damage, pain and shock proves too much. I have suffered with bloat twice and thankfully recovered and that is because symptoms were spotted early and I was quickly treated. Being aware of changes in your bunny’s behaviour and eating is vital to catching problems early on (remember we are prey animals and it’s our nature to try and keep illness hidden!).
If you ever have any worries about your rabbit then don’t hesitate to give the Lowesmoor Vet folk a call, even if you think it’s something silly – better to put your mind at rest and know that your furry friend is going to be okay.