Gastrointestinal stasis, GI stasis, GI hypomotility or ileus is a serious condition that requires immediate attention. The condition occurs when the gut stops moving, is blocked, or is full of gas.
- Loss of appetite (anorexia) or changes in eating habits. A good way to test this is to offer fresh herbs or a favorite treat.
- Small to no stool, loose or mucous covered stool or diarrhea.
- Sitting in a hunched position or pressing stomach against the floor.
- Loud tooth grinding which is an indication of pain. This is different than the "tooth purr" that indicates pleasure or contentment.
- Loud GI sounds or complete silence in the stomach. You can use a stethoscope or listen with your ear pressed against the stomach.
- Pain from an underlying condition (e.g. gas, dental problems, infections, or urinary tract disorders)
- Lack of dietary fiber
- Intestinal blockage
Gastrointestinal stasis can be usually diagnosed as non-obstructive or obstructive ileus.
From Emma Keeble, Anna Meredith, et al., Rabbit Medicine & Surgery, 2006.
You should seek immediate veterinary assistance if your rabbit has not eaten or passed stools in the past 12 hours or is exhibiting other symptoms of GI stasis. Your vet will provide proper treatment and care. If left untreated, GI stasis can be fatal in 48 hours.
Below are links with more information about various treatments for GI stasis.
- House Rabbit Society - MD, DC, & NoVA, Laurie Kuhn, Help Me Make It Through the Night
- Suite 101, Sarah Goodwin-Nguyen, Helping a Bunny With G.I. Stasis
- Wisconsin House Rabbit News, Julie Smith, When Your Bunny Stops Eating
- Examiner.com, Phyllis O'Beollain, Is Lactobacillus supplementation useful for the house rabbit?
- Equidane Vetline, The role of Probiotics in the management of rabbit gut stasis.
- Dana M. Krempels, Ph.D., GastroIntestinal Stasis, The Silent Killer
- House Rabbit Society, Susan Brown, DVM, Sluggish Motility in the Gastrointestinal Tract
- Medirabbit, Dana Krempels, Mary Cotter and Gil Stanzione, Ileus in domestic rabbits
- House Rabbit Society, Southeastern PA-Delaware Chapter, Gastro-Intestinal (GI) Problems: Gas and Stasis
- Hug-a-Bunny Rabbit Rescue, Rabbit Health: GI Stasis
- Friends of Rabbits, Dr. Scott J. Stahl, Anorexia and Gastrointestinal Stasis in Rabbits
- Long Beach Animal Hospital, GI Stasis (hairballs) in Rabbits
- Rabbits Online, GI Stasis: What Everyone Should Know
Here are some relevant Q&A's:
- AllExperts, Dana Krempels, Ph.D., Rabbit predisposed to stomach blockage?