Gut Stasis

Gut Stasis, aka G.I Stasis, or Gastrointestinal Stasis, is one of the most common illnesses in rabbits. Thankfully, it’s also one of the easiest conditions to treat if it’s caught early on, but it can be fatal if it isn’t treated quickly.

GI Stasis, the Silent Killer.
Photo Credit: www.redbarnrabbitrescue.org

What Causes Gut Stasis?:

Gut stasis is a digestive problem, caused by a variety of things such as:

  • Poor diet (not enough fiber)
  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Dental problems 
  • Furball or some other intestinal blockage (say, ingestive carpet fibers)
  • Sudden changes in diet
  • A fruit or vegetable causing excess gas buildup in the intestines
  • Parasite damage
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Even sudden and drastic changes in whether (barometric pressure) can cause gut stasis in some sensitive or prone rabbits

What are the Symptoms of Gut Stasis?:

Your rabbit may have all or just a few of these symptoms, or they may start out with just one or two, and then other symptoms emerge as the problem progresses, so it is good to know all the signs a rabbit can exhibit when suffering from gut stasis:

  • Loss of appetite (try the craisin test)
  • Low Body Temperature–Under 100.5 F (rabbits begin to go into shock and their body temperature begins to drop). Learn about Rabbit Vitals Here.
  • Lethargy and/or disinterest in normal things
  • Little, dry poop pellets, no poop at all, or “runny” or mushy stool
  • Hunched or “curled” posture
  • Teeth chattering or abdominal sensitivity showing they’re in pain
  • No intestinal noise, or lots of loud, violent gurgles coming from the intestines (gas moving around).
  • Bloating

What’s the cranraisin or Craisin test? It’s a common test you can do at home to test how your rabbit is feeling. Cran-raisins (dried cranberry, brand name Craisin) are a pretty universal yummy treat for rabbits, and rabbits who normally LOVE a treat like that and when healthy will happily much it up. However, if your rabbit isn’t feeling well, offering even the best of treats will be met with rejection or disinterest. This is a big tell that something is wrong with your rabbit and you need to call your vet asap. Even if everything else seems normal, ignoring a yummy treat like a cranraisin is cause for alarm. 

Don’t ignore a failed Craisin test!

Can GI Stasis Be Successfully Treated?

If your vet has determined that there is no intestinal obstruction, there are several treatments they may wish to use to help your bunny in distress.

As always, do not perform any of these procedures or try to administer any of these medications without the supervision of a veterinarian experienced with rabbit disorders and treatments.

This list was taken from House Rabbit Society’s more in depth list in their article: Gastrointestinal Stasis: The Silent Killer. Click on the link to see a more in depth review of the treatments of Gut Stasis. 

With your rabbit-savvy veterinarian’s guidance, you can do some of these as at home treatments to help alleviate some of your rabbit’s pain before you take them to the vet. HRRN sells Rabbit Emergency Medical Kits that include items that will help with gut stasis. 

  • Simethicone (gas-x)

  • Abdominal Massage

  • Heat Pad to raise body temperature
  • Enema
  • Petroleum-based laxatives (use with caution)
  • Oral or Subcutaneous Fluids
  • Motility Drugs
  • Pain Meds
  • Digestive Aids
  • Antibiotics
  • Appetite Stimulants

This is a nice quick video about bunny massage and how it can alleviate gas pain. 

This video is for education purposes and can be a part of gut stasis treatment, only AFTER your rabbit has been seen by a rabbit-savvy veterinarian to ensure there is no blockage or teeth issues causing the problem. 

House Rabbit Resource Network Rabbit Emergency Medical Kits

House Rabbit Resource Network sells Rabbit Emergency Medical Kits so that you can be prepared for the most common emergencies that can happen when you care for rabbits. 

The Rabbit Emergency Kit is available only through HRRN. The cost is $19.95 per kit, which includes shipping and handling. Texas orders must include 8.25% sales tax ($1.65/kit).

To order please visit our online Bunny Boutique Shop page

Each Emergency Kit Includes: 

  • Acidophilus Capsules (6)
  • Kwik-Stop® Styptic Powder with Benzocaine
  • Critical Care Syringe
  • Feeding Formula
  • Electrolyte Replenisher
  • Surgilube® Lubricating Jelly (2)
  • Laxatone® Gel Lubricant for Hairballs (3 pre-filled syringes)
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment (2)
  • Prozyme® Enzyme Powder Supplement
  • Simethicone Softgel Capsules (6)
  • Digital Thermometer (1)
  • Thermometer Probe Covers (3)
  • 1 cc Syringes (2)
  • 3 cc Syringes (2)
  • 10 cc Oral Feeding Syringe (2)
  • Instructions for use and everything is carefully labelled. 

Rabbit Emergency Medical Kits
Rabbit Emergency Medical Kits 1

Rabbit Emergency Kit and Contents ©1999-2009 House Rabbit Resource Network.