Friday, 7 October 2011

WHEN THEY STOP EATING, START WORRYING.

People generally don't realize that rabbits must keep food flowing through their digestive systems. When they stop eating, toxins build up in their gut, leading to death. I made the mistake long ago of doing nothing about a bunny who stopped eating and he paid for my ignorance with his life. Spurred on by this tragedy, I learned techniques from my PetBunny and alt.pets.rabbits friends that would stimulate a bunny's apetite.

In my When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) memoir, I wrote about the time when one of my long-eared friends worried me when he became gravely ill in 2003. This is what happened when he refused to eat.

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In September, Harry developed his own case of gastro-intestinal stasis. I tried all the home remedies I could think of, but bribing him with lettuce, force-feeding canned pumpkin and rubbing his belly didn't help. The poor guy refused food for a week and I was sure he was going to die.

Then one morning, he had diarrhea. What a relief it was to see! It may sound strange to rejoice over liquid faecal puddles, but the diarrhea indicated that Harry's gut was working again. Of course, the downside was cleaning up the mess and enduring the smell. Still, it was a relief to see him eating heartily. And as a precaution, I made sure he had plenty of fresh hay in his litter box.

The diarrhea continued and poor Harry needed a severe cleaning. In spite of the expense, I took him to the vet for a haircut. He sulked for hours after that, but I felt good that he was free of his matted coat and fouled rear end.

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When a Man Loves a Rabbit contains many more fascinating stories of life with house bunnies. These range from the tragic to the hilarious. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You're also welcome to click here to e-mail me directly for more information.