Distension of the Stomach with Gas and Fluid in Rabbits



As gastric dilation can quickly become fatal, it often warrants emergency inpatient medical management. Special attention will be paid to establishing improved heart function and fluid balance, followed by gastric decompression and resolution of the cause of the distention. Your veterinarian will perform gastric decompression by intubation of the stomach through the oral cavity. Surgery is indicated in most cases to remove the cause of obstruction, though it is not without risk, especially when the patient is in a critical condition. Blood pressure, meanwhile, will be maintained with fluid support until your rabbit has returned to a more balanced state. Antibiotics may also be given to prevent opportunistic infections.


Living and Management


Recovery may or may not occur. However, the condition may recur even if it is completely resolved. Your rabbit may resume normal activity after the foreign body is removed. Once your rabbit has been safely discharged from medical care, you can begin feeding it again, but the diet will need to be modified until the rabbit has had time to fully recover from the trauma. Pellets can be ground and mixed with fresh greens, vegetable baby foods, water, or juice to form a gruel that can be swallowed an digested more easily than solids. If your rabbit refuses food, you may assist-feed the gruel mixture. If sufficient volumes of food are not accepted in this manner either, feeding through tubes is indicated. Unless your veterinarian has specifically instructed it, do not feed your rabbit high-carbohydrate, high-fat nutritional supplements.


At home, monitor its appetite and production of feces, and regularly brush the rabbit to remove excess hair so as to prevent the rabbit from ingesting hair mats while self grooming.