The condition may involve only a slight decrease in size and/or frequency of stool production, and gut sounds may be normal. Chocolate The primary author has a special interest in cecal function because of her rescued rabbits. Rabbits produce two different types of droppings. Carrot/beet tops It is beyond the scope of this article to address all cecal disorders. Papaya Only you have control over the success of this treatment. Nuts The plants that rabbits eat are high in fiber, which is indigestible to mammalian digestive enzymes. True diarrhea in a rabbit is a sign of a serious and often fatal condition. In addition you may wish to read the handout Hairballs in Rabbits for a more complete description of gastrointestinal tract function in the rabbit. Use several containers for the hay to encourage your pet’s interest, such as hayracks, boxes or baskets. That’s right, ALL treat foods. If there is no improvement or if the rabbit’s temperature drops, it’s vital to reexamine the situation. (Please read our handout Care of Rabbits for details on this diet.) The soft stools are actually malformed cecotropes that should have been eaten directly from the anus by the rabbit. Good quality hay should be fed in long-fiber form (i.e., not cubed or chopped up) whenever possible. Dr. Stahl mentioned that high-starch or refined carbohydrate foods (e.g., crackers, cereals, bananas) are highly fermentable. Cecotropes and waste droppings are produced in different areas of the intestinal tract and at different times. Dr. Guerrera’s home-care program for a rabbit suffering from early-stage cecal hypomotility includes fluids and a diet high in fiber. Used by permission. There are various stages and manifestations of cecal motility disorders. Author (with collaborator Nancy LaRoche) of Rabbits: Gentle Hearts, Valiant Spirits – Inspirational Stories of Rescue, Triumph, and Joy, Marie has also written rabbit-related stories and articles for other publications. For one thing, they are generally part of the problem and two, they will provide enough calories that your rabbit may not get hungry enough to have an incentive to change to a new pellet or to start eating hay. Cecal impaction does not mean a rabbit cannot recover. Some folk believe in an egg cup of pellets but Im afraid i dont.. Celery (leaves are good) Corn Excess amount of cecotrope-Too many cecotropes are a sign of an unhealthy diet. Refined sugar Dandelion greens (and flower) This condition is the cause of numerous euthanasias and surrenders to shelters due to the high maintenance involved in cleaning the pet and the environment on a daily basis. Carrots If the condition of ISC cannot be resolved with dietary treatment then your veterinarian will need to perform further diagnostic investigation to determine if there is additional disease. Contents of the cecum are normally semifluid. Mucoid enteropathy is felt to be a less severe form of enterotoxemia seen in mature rabbits. We need to add these foods back in carefully though, because your bunny has a history of GI unbalance and we don’t want to return to that state. She is coauthor of Self-Assessment Color Review of Small Mammals and author of numerous lay and professional writings on rabbit medicine and care; she has also lectured extensively in the United States and Europe. Dr. Guerrera also manages an online subscription-based website for people with veterinary-related rabbit questions: Dr. Brown offers this: My experience with several hundred rabbits who have had pudding-like cecotropes – but were otherwise active, alert, and medically normal – is that feeding a diet of only grass (not alfalfa) hay usually turns them around in a week. Different Types of Rabbit Poop. The Benefit of Cecotropes. 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. Three general stages of cecal motility disorders are discussed in this section: abnormally soft cecotropes, cecal hypomotility (slowdown), and cecal impaction (stasis). Rabbits have a very high mortality rate with this disease, and it can happen very suddenly. t’s caused by an imbalance of carbs and sugar in your rabbit’s diet. Image Source Similar to humans, rabbits may be checked for any medical condition or rule out any illness by evaluating their poop. Most would be considered “special needs,” and it was not uncommon to see them initially producing soft cecotropes. 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. Though long-fiber hay is preferable, timothy-based hay cubes are an option. Green or red bell peppers Too many treats or too little hay (fiber) will result in an excess of cecotrope. Pellets, carrots and fruit are the usual culprits. Any other grains. If a rabbit cannot eat the cecotropes, then she may be missing vital nutrients those special droppings provide. She has made a home with special-needs rabbits and other animals, all of them rescues. In cases of ISC in rabbits, there is also an alteration of the flora in the cecum, but it is less severe than that seen with enterotoxemia. Cecotropes are an important part of a healthy rabbit diet and are usually eaten directly from the anus as they are produced. Peach This dumping usually results in relatively formless, “pudding like” cecotropes, often with foul smell. Endive Unlike many other species, in which liquid is removed from the contents of the large intestine, the rabbit actually secretes fluid into the upper part of the large intestine to allow sorting of the two fibers. Put hay in baskets or stuffed in empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls around the exercise area. The progress of treatment can be evaluated and detection of any other diseases can be made. Certain pellets or too many pellets can be the cause of a too rich diet. There can be several reasons, such as the hay is old, moldy, too “stemmy” (not soft and grassy), it is put in an area that is not appealing to the rabbit and so on. Decreased water consumption; start of   dehydration, Cessation of water consumption; acute dehydration, May be very thirsty but too weak to drink well; may “drape” over the water bowl. May exhibit mild to moderate pain (e.g., less active), Severe abdominal pain due to gas accumulation. Iota toxins are absorbed into the bloodstream and produce a toxic condition commonly known as enterotoxemia. Peas Unlimited grass hay and a measured amount of green leafy vegetables should be offered daily. They are covered in a thin layer of mucus to provide initial protection to the bacteria from the low pH stomach acids. Raspberries When your rabbit returns to normal stool production and after the introduction of green foods you can try feeding small amounts of fruits and other vegetables as treats. More commonly a microscopic examination of the stool will reveal large numbers of yeast organisms, which reflect the abnormal flora in the cecum. 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. It is very harmful to overfeed your bunny, so you will want to pay attention to how many carrots you give … Signs of sick rabbit Digestive Issues. Digestible Fiber and Cecotropes (UK spellings include cecotrophs and caecotrophs), In contrast, digestible fiber, along with some fluid, is moved backwards from the upper part of the colon into the cecum. Mucoid enteropathy results in excessive mucus. Because cecal impaction and intestinal obstruction share some of the same signs, it’s critical that the veterinarian determine the cause of the rabbit’s problems to ensure correct treatment and follow-up. The soft droppings stick to the rabbit’s hindquarters, causing irritation and a foul odor. However, when the process does not work normally, disruption in cecal motility results. Rarely, parasites such as coccidia are seen and can be easily treated, but they are not the primary problem. Treatment for the early stage of cecal hypomotility (slowdown) leading to impaction is much the same as for ileus, the cessation of GI tract movement. As long as they are eating a low carbohydrate diet, these bacteria are not harmful. Romaine lettuce I also provide guidelines for a diet that is high in fiber and water content (Oxbow Critical Care™ is a popular choice). Rabbits should always be allowed to eat their cecotropes. I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to Drs. The rabbit is unable to eat them, and they may end up on the floor or pasted to the rabbit’s rear end. This shouldn't be confused with normal cecotropes that have been smooshed by your rabbit's feet or bottom. Toxins from the environment such as heavy metal, toxic plants, etc. This section of the article addresses three cecal motility disorders; most disorders of the cecum will eventually lead to dysbiosis (imbalance of the microbial flora in the cecum and GI tract). When the cecum cannot empty properly, it no longer functions normally. Rabbit poops are in the form of small balls that are uniform in appearance, dry, and hard to touch. In addition, toxins such as heavy metal or inappropriate antibiotics can cause cecal flora changes. Food that passes into the large intestine (colon) is separated into two parts: indigestible fiber and digestible fiber. The most common cause of ISC is an inappropriate diet that is too high in carbohydrates and/or too low in indigestible fiber. All rights reserved. The information contained in the sub-section immediately below applies to the whole of this section, though a veterinarian may provide specific guidelines for feeding pellets and leafy greens, depending on the condition of a rabbit. Unlike other animals, rabbit poop is not so unpleasant. This may happen if the rabbit is fed too many pellets, treats or rich greens in his diet or if the rabbit is unable to reach down and consume them (ex. The rabbit is producing too many cecotropes Most of the time when you notice a lot of cecotropes in your rabbit’s litter box or around the room, it’s because your rabbit is producing too many cecotropes so they don’t want to eat them all. In ISC the production of waste droppings is unaffected and they are formed normally and appear in the toilet area mixed with the soft stools. I like to monitor them closely because once the cecum has been stretched, it potentially loses tone and is more flaccid than it should be. It is an injectable that can be given orally if mixed with something palatable. Many of our clients comment that after the treatment for ISS their rabbit experienced a new “lease on life” and was as active as a young bunny again! Be clear and realistic about your expectations and goals for treatment, which should prioritize your rabbit’s comfort and quality of life. In my experience, the vast majority  patients with ISS have been fed a diet composed primarily of commercial pellets with little or no grass hay. At the end of the article is a chart that sums up the various disorders and signs. Prevention of cecal disorders. Fiber affects cecotrope consistency as well as the rabbit’s appetite for them. They are high in nitrogen, short-chain fatty acids, microbial protein, B vitamins, sodium, potassium, water, lysine, the sulfur amino acids, and threonine. NOTE:  How do you know your rabbit is eating enough hay? These food capsules are not fecal waste; they are a critical part of the diet. The short-chain fatty acids in their cecals provide an additional source of energy, and the B vitamins provided can be in excess of the rabbit's needs. 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. Processed pellets are unnecessary for most rabbits if they eat quality mixed grass hay and a variety of leafy green foods. Dr. Lennox offers additional explanation: A rabbit who doesn’t seem to do well with green leafy vegetables may have a genetic intolerance. Not all rabbits with cecal dysbiosis will exhibit obvious soft or pudding-like cecotropes. 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. Cause of Intermittent Soft Cecotropes (ISC) *Please note that it will be helpful to the understanding of this disease if you first read the Care of Rabbits handout in order to understand the normal diet of the house rabbit. Some rabbits have never had the opportunity to eat grass hay and they could starve if they are suddenly given grass hay and nothing else. Mucoid enteropathy: excessive mucus. I would also have concern about the long-term prognosis for the rabbit. These toxins are absorbed into the bloodstream and affect many organs in the rabbit’s body, often resulting in death in a very short time. For those rabbit guardians who are concerned that leafy vegetables may be the cause of abnormal cecotropes, Dr. Brown advises that true vegetable intolerance is rare. Try different types of hay. 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). If cecotropes are not ingested, the rabbit may experience dietary insufficiencies. One of them, elderly and very ill, presented with a large soft mass that looked as though it had been dispensed from a soft-serve machine, complete with swirl on the top. The remaining material is turned into cecotropes: small packets of tiny-bodied, nutrient-rich flora. or E. coli can result in the production of iota toxins. Caregivers can also help reduce a rabbit’s stress by discerning what causes anxiety or fear. Once the rabbit stops producing the obvious soft cecotropes for a full week – meaning his body is now producing cecotropes normally – I gradually add in one leafy green food every three days until the rabbit is eating a nice variety. However, problems are most often caused by previous damage from chronic inappropriate diet and lack of exercise. Many rabbits will stop eating and drinking if they are suffering gastrointestinal upset.This can be caused by moldy hay or food pellets, contaminated water, viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Before the rabbit is dismissed from the hospital, sterile fluids are given subcutaneously to help soften the mass and get it moving. Additionally, note that a rabbit may not eat cecotropes due to dental or other oral pain as well as obesity or restricted movement (e.g., spondylosis) that prevents the bunny from physically reaching the anus to eat the cecotropes. Regardless of the condition, appropriate diet plays a crucial role in the recovery and health of the rabbit. She currently lives near Indianapolis with her husband of more than 20 years and four daughters. However, extreme caution is necessary so as not to damage or rupture the cecum. Caregivers may wish to read “Liver (Hepatic) Disease in Rabbits,” which discusses the importance of cecotropes and a healthy liver. You need to resist your pet’s attempts to manipulate your emotions and remember that this treatment is for her benefit and for your benefit as well when you have the freedom from cleaning up the mess every day! A diet high in fiber and low in starch and sugars will be critical in returning the rabbit to health. In this article, we’ll discuss what causes it and rabbit diarrhea home treatments. This means that humans and many other animals cannot utilize the nutrients found in … If there are signs of pain, I prescribe meloxicam (Metacam®), a COX-2 selective NSAID [nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug]. As already stated, not all rabbits with a cecal motility disorder will present with pudding-like cecotropes. The differences in rabbit behavior (both when healthy and when ill) as well as the varying ways in which rabbits present signs of illness or injury emphasize the importance of familiarity with your own bunnies. When the contents of the cecum are retained for longer than normal periods of time the cecotropes are eventually excreted in a more liquid state and it is impossible for the rabbit to eat them. Once eaten, the cecotropes are gradually broken down in the digestive tract and the nutrient-laden cecal flora are assimilated. *Please note that it will be helpful to the understanding of this disease if you first read the Care of Rabbits handout in order to understand the normal diet of the house rabbit. I give a small handful of SS to my buns everyday along with the greens and hay. Pelleted foods that are cereal-based or that contain grain fall into this category (read the label). Freshly pulled grass (not clippings) and some other native plants (e.g., dandelion greens) that are free of fecal and chemical contamination can also be fed; they have the added benefit of being more fibrous than store-purchased greens. Typically, the owner rarely sees cecotropes unless the rabbit produces more than they can consume. However, if a rabbit eats high-carbohydrate foods, there will be glucose in the cecum, which will allow pathogenic bacteria (primarily Clostridium spp, sometimes E. coli) to flourish and produce toxins that can lead to enterotoxemia, diarrhea, and death. The cecum then “dumps” contents randomly instead of producing nicely formed cecotropes. Cecotrophs contain around 28-30% crude protein and up to 30% of the total nitrogen intake of rabbits. If this is not possible, any of the hays mentioned may be used. When a bunny has soft, poorly formed cecotropes, it is recommended that caregivers discuss the daily feeding regimen with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about the appropriate diet before making major changes. If it empties and the flora balance is restored, the prognosis for the rabbit is very good. Enterotoxemia: Possible mucous   discharge. Too many cecotropes is another reason rabbits stop eating their cecotropes. However, consumption can be influenced by the rabbit’s diet. In the early stages of cecal hypomotility, the rabbit is usually healthy enough to be at home, and he’s generally less stressed there as well. Additional writings have covered topics such as aging and the environment. Any change to the rabbit’s environment, even something as seemingly simple as a change in routine, can potentially result in health problems. This may be due to a starch or protein content in the pellet that is still too high for that individual rabbit. The mucous covering of the cecotropes makes them sticky and hard to remove. Signs of three stages of cecal motility disorders, including abnormally soft cecotropes, cecal hypomotility (slowdown), and cecal impaction (stasis). As noted previously by Dr. Chlebeček, all rabbits house low levels of pathogenic bacteria in their body. To help move contents out of the cecum, very gentle massage to the belly may be beneficial, depending on the condition. 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Content before purchasing ; they are eating a low carbohydrate diet, these are! Decrease the probability of recurrence home care of a wild rabbit is dismissed from low. The emphasis remains on high quantities of quality grass hay and a variety of nutrients as well as moisture for.

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