Molesey Vets: why rabbits need to eat all day long
September 21, 2023
To celebrate International Rabbit Day on September 23rd, the vets at our East Molesey clinic are answering one of the most frequently asked questions about rabbit care – why do rabbits need to eat all day?
More importantly, if you have noticed your rabbit has stopped eating, we recommend contacting our emergency team on 0208 979 1384. By not regularly eating, your rabbit’s digestive system can become extremely unwell and this often leads to rabbit fatalities.
Why does my rabbit need to constantly eat?
Molesey Vets’ experienced team of rabbit vets advises that rabbits have unique digestive systems. They are hindgut fermenters which means they need a constant supply of food passing through their digestive tract to keep their digestive system working properly.
In their gut they have a delicate balance of bacteria that is essential in breaking down fibre. Without the constant passing of food, these bacteria can become imbalanced, leading to a potentially life-threatening condition known as gut stasis.
What is gut stasis?
Gut stasis should always be treated as an emergency, however it is a common problem in rabbits. It can be caused by a variety of different factors, such as dental problems, stress and gastrointestinal blockages.
If you notice your rabbit has any of the below, then contact us on 0208 979 1384 straight away. The longer gut stasis is left untreated, the more serious the condition gets.
- No appetite
- A decreased appetite compared to their usual food intake
- Seem lethargic
- A reduction in the number of droppings
How do I prevent gut stasis?
Ensuring your rabbit has free access to hay and fresh water is essential in reducing the risk of gut stasis. As well has good-quality hay, rabbits need a high-quality pellet food and fresh vegetables. Fresh fruit should be used as a treat.
Further ways to help your rabbit remain healthy and unaffected by gut stasis are regular veterinary check-ups with the Molesey Vets team. This will help to identify dental or digestive issues early that could contribute to the potentially fatal gut stasis.
To summarise, monitoring your rabbit’s food intake and health and notifying the vets at Molesey Vets of any changes, will help to keep your rabbit happy and healthy.
Don’t forget, contact our emergency team if your rabbit has stopped eating.