Excess Calcium and Stones in the Urinary Tract in Rabbits



The first priority will be to relieve your rabbit from any pain it is experiencing. Treatment for the underlying cause of the stones will be next priority. Your veterinarian will try to manually massage the bladder to remove retained urine. If there is a blockage in the urinary tract, your veterinarian can use a flushing technique to push the stones out of the tract.


In some cases, surgery is required for removal of stones that are lodged in the urinary tract, or that are too large to pass through the tract safely. A short period of hospitalization for the surgery and stabilization are generally all that is required, with fluid supplements for rehydration. If urine staining and burn has occurred on the skin surrounding the genitals – i.e., the perineum and inside of the legs – zinc and menthol powder may be applied to keep the area dry and cool.


Living and Management


Your rabbit will require a warm, quiet environment to recover in. If the rabbit is not too tired, encourage exercise (hopping) for at least 10-15 minutes every 6-8 hours. This will promote a speedy recovery.


It is important that your rabbit continue to eat during and after 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. Feed timothy and grass hay instead of alfalfa hay, but also continue to 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. Unless your veterinarian has specifically advised it, do not feed your rabbit high-carbohydrate, high-fat nutritional supplements.


In some cases, the intestinal tract may have been affected as well, and surgery may be required to remove solids from the intestine. Possible complications include renal failure, urinary tract obstruction, or paralysis of the digestive muscles (due to anesthesia in surgery). After you have returned home, monitor your rabbit's appetite and production of feces, and report any abnormalities to your veterinarian immediately, as death may occur due to sudden and severe complications. Recurrence is likely, so it is important to decrease risk factors such as obesity, a sedentary life, and a poor diet. A combination of a lowered calcium diet, increased exercise, and increased water consumption for the remainder of the rabbit's life are all highly advised for the long term health of the rabbit.