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My 6 year old female outdoor rabbit is free to roam for up to 8 hours a day in our large garden, but has stopped eating the grass and hay. At one point she stopped eating altogether, and the vet said her teeth were in bad condition and recommended we have her put down. That was about 6 months ago.

We initially put her on a course of antibiotics, and put some water on her pellets to soften just to get her to eat, which helped as she now munches them dry again. We also noticed that she started eating the crusts of the wholemeal bread we fling out for the birds. Thinking she was hungry, we gave her small amounts.

I have noticed over the last few days now, there are less and less droppings around so I'm really worried. The vet is only going to suggest we put her down, so is there anything else we can do?

I'm not sure if her teeth hurt when she chews hay, grass, or the odd bit of lettuce or pear, but we don't want to stop giving her food. Apart from this she seems really happy so we don't want to get her put to sleep. What reason could there be for her to stop defecating?

  • There is a lot going on with your rabbit, first take a look at all of our Rabbit Questions, second find a new vet, teeth trimming is a common event for rabbits with maligned teeth. Your new vet should know how and have the tools to trim your rabbits teeth, generally this is performed while the rabbit is sedated. – James Jenkins Nov 17 '14 at 17:54
  • Look for a rabbit rescue or a local house rabbit society that can help you identify a local vet who specializes in rabbits, you need a specialist NOW. The most helpful single post to read is What is wool block in rabbits? – James Jenkins Nov 17 '14 at 17:58
  • Thanks for the advise James. The vet said it wasn't that my Rabbits teeth needed trimming rather that they were rotten which is strange considering up till the last year 90% of her diet has been hay and fresh grass? I will definitely try to find a vet that I feel will offer an alternative rather than putting her down. – Sharon Burns Nov 17 '14 at 20:26
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Not pooping is an unhealthy sign, it is usually related to tooth and/or digestive issues. This is a medical emergency, your vet may recommend a laxative to help, if so be sure not to get tuna, chicken or other meat flavored variates as your rabbit will not eat it. There some non-meat flavors available.

Rabbits teeth grow continually so it is difficult to image "rotten teeth" as described in your comment. Rabbit teeth issue are generally related to malocclusion (not being lined up correctly so they don't wear down) and require that the teeth be trimmed.

There are several oral issues, most of them revolving around infections in the gums. Treatment may involve pulling the teeth and rounds of antibiotics. Because antibiotics tend to disrubt the rabbits gut, special attention should be given to monitoring their health and diet. If possible recolonizing with borrowed cecotropes may be considered.

When a rabbit has teeth pulled they can grow back, but not always, there are lots of variables here, you will need an ongoing consult with your vet until the situation stabilizes.

There have been several mostly or fully toothless bunnies in my circle of friends. A rabbit with no teeth can live a long happy, healthy life. The largest hurdle is keeping fiber content high enough to prevent Wool Block or a Hairball while keeping sugar content low enough to prevent other issues. Canned pumpkin or one of the other options described at How can I help my adult rabbit gain weight? will help. I know of rabbits who have lived years, primarly on canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling).

When a rabbit is not eating and/or not pooping is important to keep solids moving through the gut, a few hours can lead to GI Stasis and death. You should have some Critical Care in your First Aid Kit this can be force fed to your rabbit by mixing with water and using a syringe to put it in their mouth. Generally once you get the mixture in their mouth they will swallow it.

This answer is no means exhaustive, but does hit on some of the top causes and solutions.

References

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