Treatment will be specific to the underlying cause, but generally, rabbits with melena usually require hospitalization for about 24 hours in order to receive medications, electrolyte therapy, and fluid therapy. These are often administered directly into the abdomen. Antibiotic therapy may also be utitlized if an infection is suspected.
If, on the other hand, your veterinarian suspects there is an object lodged in the abdomen or that your rabbit is suffering from a tumor, he or she will most likely perform a laparotomy, in which an incision is made into the abdominal wall. This will also enable your veterinarian to gather a sample of the growth for a biopsy, the only method for conclusively diagnosing whether a tumor is cancerous or not.
Living and Management
It is important that your rabbit continue to eat during and following treatment. Encourage oral fluid intake by offering fresh water, wetting leafy vegetables, or flavoring water with vegetable juice, and offer a large selection of fresh, moistened greens such as cilantro, romaine lettuce, parsley, carrot tops, dandelion greens, spinach, collard greens, and good-quality grass hay. Also, offer your rabbit its usual pelleted diet, as the initial goal is to get the rabbit to eat and to maintain its weight and nutritional status.
If your rabbit refuses these foods, you will need to syringe feed a gruel mixture until it can eat again on its own. In some cases, tube feeding is more appropriate. Your veterinarian will help you to find the best feeding method for your rabbit while it recovers. Unless your veterinarian has specifically advised it, do not feed your rabbit high-carbohydrate, high-fat nutritional supplements.
In some rabbits, the addition of leafy greens may exacerbate diarrhea. If this is the situation with your rabbit, one solution is to offer a good-quality grass hay alone. However, consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your rabbit's normal diet.
The term for black feces that has blood in it
The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine
A cavity within a bone; may also indicate a flow or channel
upper respiratory tract
The section of the respiratory system that contains the mouth, nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and epiglottis.
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
The whole system involved in digestion from mouth to anus
The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.
The abdominal wall is a group of bones, muscles, and vital tissues that make up the wall around the organs in the abdomen. Inside these bones, muscles, and tissues is a cavity, and the cavity is what houses the vital organs found inside the abdomen. The abdominal wall is vital for protection of these organs.
A localized infection, usually a lesion filled with pus. Can be large or small in size.
A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.
The end of the gastrointestinal tract; the opening at the end of the tract.
The space in the abdomen that holds the major digestive organs in an animal. Normally referred to as the area between the diaphragm and the pelvis. Also referred to as the peritoneal cavity.