A rabbit's digestive system is a delicate area that can easily go wrong! If your bunny is not eating, drinking or going to the toilet for longer than 12 hours, please take your bunny to the vet as soon as you can.
Rabbits are little eating machines and if you notice that your pet has changed his eating habits or is looking uncomfortable, or hasn't been to the toilet for quite some time, there is cause for concern.
The most common reason a rabbit stops eating is in response to pain. Loss of appetite accompanied by obvious lethargy or depression and if your bunny has not been to the toilet for quite some time should be considered an emergency and should be investigated immediately.
To stay healthy, a rabbit needs to keep their digestive system moving at all times, meaning that a rabbit should never be without food (hay at all times and water to drink).
Gastro Intestinal Stasis
The rabbit's fascinating digestive system
What is most interesting about a rabbit's digestive system is how they reuse their food to provide extra vitamins and nutrients in a world where they would naturally exist on a low nutrient, high fibre diet.
Rabbits have very sharp teeth to grind up hard and fibrous foods which reaches the stomach quite quickly.
The digested food moves into the small intestine but then something really interesting happens.
Along the way, there is a area called a caecum (pictured left) where half the digested food is directed into.
The other half rolls around and pops out the end as dried round poos.
The caecum is filled with enzymes and bacteria which alters the digested material into a little soft package coated in mucus as it re-enters the colon & passed back out (usually at night).
The cecals that are emitted look differently to normal poo. They are sticky, darker, smellier and look like little bunches of grapes. A bunny usually emits these at night and re-eats them as a giant vitamin pill.
I'm sure some people think it's icky, but it's really interesting and it's not poo. It's just a really cool way to exist in an environment for a bunny that wants to survive.
If a rabbit does not eat their cecals, they can become quite ill.
You may need to syringe feed your bunny with Critical Care. The best one for rabbits is the apple/banana.
The Melbourne Rabbit Clinic sells Critical Care or you can buy it online from Oxbow Australia.