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Gastrointestinal Hypomotility and Gastric Stasis in Rabbits

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Overview

Gastrointestinal hypomotility and gastric stasis is a very common condition in rabbits. In fact, it is one of the most common reasons rabbits go to veterinarian and veterinary emergency clinics.

Hypomotility is defined as a decrease in the contractions in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (the "gut"). Stasis refers to little to no movement in the GI tract. This can lead to severe life-threatening complications.

Gastrointestinal hypomotility and gastric stasis in rabbits is most common in middle aged to older rabbits but can be seen in any age, sex, or breed rabbit.

This condition is most often associated with inappropriate diets and feeding regimens, specifically overfeeding of pelleted foods and lack roughages. Rabbits with gastrointestinal hypomotility and gastric stasis commonly have diets that lack of roughages such as grasses, rabbits being fed primarily commercial pellet diets, fed too many sweet foods, fed too much cereals such as crackers, breakfast cereals and or are fed large quantities of fruits. All these factors can cause a slow down in GI motility. Another cause is lack of feeding e.g. someone forgets to feed the rabbit and he runs out of food.

Stress and lack of exercise can also be contributing factors. Factors that make a rabbit not want to eat can also lead to this problem such as dental problems, problems that cause lack of appetite such as liver or kidney malfunction, cancer, toxins, and stress.

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