Eliminating Problems

I am writing for advice and ideas regarding our beautiful 4-year-old female Dutch rabbit named Chi (She is spayed). The veterinarian referred to her condition as colitis X, a permanent situation where her stools are soft for half the day and firm for the other half. The chronic diarrhea has continued for over a year. Prior to changing vets, she was treated with pineapple juice and high fiber, but when the veterinarian suggested strong antibiotics we got another opinion. Our new veterinarian is a microbiologist and found her to have worms and yeast. He feels that her condition went on for so long that the colon has become leathery and doesn’t properly absorb water and nutrients. He’s tried various medications which control the yeast and high bacteria levels.

She has free run of the house and is fairly active and has an OK appetite. He suggests very high fiber. She gets hay (although it doesn’t thrill her), and pellets, granny smith apples, and carrots. Do you know of anything else she might enjoy? We’ve been instructed to not give her any sugar treats (she loves animal crackers and honey sticks).

Are you familiar with this condition? And what can we do to help her?

Barbara F. Malia
Melbourne Beach, Florida

Yes, we’ve had many reports of unformed soft droppings, and there are many causes of (true) diarrhea. Your veterinarian has already diagnosed a problem, which is being treated. And since your veterinarian has suggested high fiber and you admit that hay doesn’t thrill her, we can assume she doesn’t eat much of it. One way to encourage hay intake is to offer a variety of hay and straw, alternating at different times of the day. Rabbits tend to eat more when “fresh offerings” are made. If part of her problem is indeed diet related, you might try some of the suggestions covered in this and the next issue’s “Health” section.

House Rabbit Journal Volume III, Number 3, Summer/Fall 1994