Today is a sad anniversary for me. Because of not knowing much about rabbits, my beautiful Mr. Chocolate died on this date in 1990. Had I known about gastrointestinal stasis, I would have rushed him to a vet or used a few gas-dispersing techniques.
The problem began the morning after I let Mr. Chocolate eat some weeds that I picked for him. Instead of doing his happy dance in his cage, he just lay hunched up in a corner. His food bowl was still full of pellets that evening.
Since nobody I knew had house rabbits and I didn’t know that Mr Chocolate could be kept like a cat or dog, I left him alone. I assumed he was just off his feed and would start eating soon. In fact, I didn’t even know that rabbits could be taken to the vet’s clinic.
Mr Chocolate was breathing hard as I looked in at him on the third evening of his stasis. The realization that my sweet bunny was in serious distress finally sunk in. Even so, I didn’t know what to do. When I looked in on him the next morning, he lay dead in his cage.
If I could travel back in time and disguise myself, I would go back to the point before the stasis happened and tell myself about how to cure it. Rabbits must have food flowing through their digestive system. Otherwise, toxins build up and eventually kill them.
Since gas is usually the culprit causing the discomfort, it must be broken up. Over-the-counter remedies such as Gas-X can be dissolved in a syringe and gently squirted sideways into the bunny’s mouth between the front teeth and molars. I’ve used it mixed with pure pumpkin that people use for pie filling.
Another home remedy I’ve used successfully is putting the bunny in a pet carrier and setting it on the washing machine or dryer while the machines cleaned and dried clothes. My Deborah suffers from occasional bouts of stasis and this method has helped her recover fast.
When these remedies don’t work, the bunny must be taken to a clinic as soon as possible. The longer the wait, the worse off the rabbit will be.
If the cause of not eating is bloat, this is an emergency and the rabbit must be taken to a vet. The difference between it and stasis is that the rabbit’s stomach feels hard. I had a bunny named Carolyn die after only having bloat for eight hours.
A great place to find rabbit care information is The House Rabbit Society. This web site has everything a person needs to get the most enjoyment with a rabbit companion. It has cute bunny pictures too.
I wrote about my experiences with rabbits, both happy and sad, in When a Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living with Bunnies. Read more about this delightful memoir at the Bruce Atchison’s books page. My second memoir, Deliverance from Jericho, is also featured there.
My most recent book is called How I Was Razed, A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Read more about it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Virtual Bookworm Publishers.