Our Experienced Bunny Bonding Service
Rabbits are very social animals and need companionship of their own species. However getting two rabbits, who have been chosen to go with one another is not always as simple or as easy as one would hope.
Getting two rabbits or more in some cases, requires time, space and often buckets of patience.
I have been bonding rabbits for over 12 years and I've never come across any two bonds the same, that is because rabbits all have their own individual personalities, characteristics and likes and dislikes... a bit like us.
whilst there are some general guidelines to follow which are useful, there is no set bonding step by step guide to follow.
We can assist by providing our experience in rabbit bonding and qualifications in understanding rabbit behaviour as well as a safe neural space to allow your rabbits to meet and hopefully bond .... safely and as least stressful to them as possible.
Rabbit Bonding Service, Customer reviews
Professional bunny bonding service, where we can bond your rabbits, safely in our neutral areas, gentle bonding methods with experience love and care.
After one of our bunnies had an operation, it completely broke the bond between him and his sister, my partner and I were distraught and had to split them up. We searched the internet to find a bunny bonder to help us and came across Sarah at Celeb Bunnies. We read all of the reviews and dropped her an email. Sarah called us back that evening to talk through what had happened and absolutely astounded us with her bunny knowledge and compassion. Even just talking to Sarah that evening was completely reassuring, we arranged to drop the bunnies off to her the following day. When we arrived, Sarah was incredibly welcoming, she explained the process and said that their welfare is her main concern and she wouldn't do anything that stresses them out. Sarah explained a lot about bunny behaviours, the hierarchy between a fluffle of rabbits and the reasons behind the behaviour, all truly fascinating. In all walks of life, nothing is guaranteed but we had to try. The bunnies stayed with Sarah for just under 2 weeks and when we picked them up, they were completely bonded! It was unbelievable, they had gone from fighting to loving one another! Throughout their stay, Sarah provided updates, photos & videos. Although we live over an hour away, we always take the bunnies back to board for holidays. There have been occasions where one of them has been ill, we have taken them to Sarah who has administered the critical care & medication to nurse them back to health. Amazing bunny service!
From Caroline Sparks on 06/10/2020
Believe the hype!! I cannot recommend Sarah at Celebunnies highly enough. I googled â€˜rabbit whisperer' in desperation after a traumatic failed attempt from ourselves in trying to bond our bunnies and after a few weeks with another unsuccessful bunny boarder/bonder. Within minutes Sarah had our two bunnies next to each other on the sofa with her and within a day or two they were bonded. Nothing short of miraculous! We are so grateful on a daily basis and live in fear of Sarah being unable to look after our bunnies when we're away! It is such piece of mind to know that they are looked after by someone who clearly cares about them so much. Sarah's friendly personality combined with her in depth knowledge, innate understanding and love for these misunderstood pets is inspiring - She truly has a gift.
From Gillie Livey on 06/10/2020
Celeb bunnies , fab service with a lady who is passionate about bunnies , was comforting to know they were with her as she adores them ðŸ°
From Emma camber on 31/08/2019
can not recommend enough. I had two different rescue bunnies both around 2 years old. I tried everything I read, heard and learnt about to try bond them, and it was getting worse..... my little girl was pure evil to the boy it was hard to watch. no one thought they would ever be in the same room together. when in took them to sarah even she had doubts when she saw them together... but OMG this amazing woman finally done it. and I loved the little touch of her sending me videos when they finally did bond it was so cool to see. and now i can even enjoy cuddles with both of them together Sarah I cannot thank you enough. anyone that's stuck and need help please contact this woman even if its for over the phone advice.
From toni on 06/02/2019
We were having problems bonding our two bunnies and had almost given up but decided to send them to Celebunnies as a last attempt. Sarah was lovely and after a 8 days they came home best friends. We would highly recommend.
From Rachael Gartside on 05/10/2018
Boarded my three rabbits, Pickle , Turnip and Punch with Sara on a recommendation from a friend and was completely at ease leaving them there, was given lots of advice and reassurance, especially impressed with how Sara was able to handle my usually skittish nervous female. Thank you, Laya and bunnies.
From Laya on 03/10/2018
I was absolutely beside myself about leaving my bunnies with someone to be bonded but soon realised I had nothing to worry about. Archie wasnâ€™t quite right half way through their stay and before I had got chance to get in a proper panic Sarah had already dealt with it and got him comfortable and happy again. Bunnies get poorly so quickly so it was such a relief to know they were with someone who really knows what to look out for. So after 5 days I collected two very much in love, very happy bunnies and am more than grateful to Sarah for looking after them and helping them realise they are perfect for each otherðŸ'•ðŸ°ðŸ°ðŸ'•
From Lisa Gooch on 30/09/2018
Celebunnies is outstanding place to leave your rabbits. Sarah had bonded twice my bunnies. I remember first when i met Sarah she impressed me with her massive knowledge about bunnies. Grate place where you can leave your rabbits without any worries
From Magdalena on 30/09/2018
I bought my two fluff babies separately. My boy Rory first then later my girl Eleanor. A little while after they were both neutered, I started giving them play dates in an attempt to bond them. I tried for quite a while but their relationship didn't improve. They began to fight and scrap which really worried me as I thought I would never be able to bond them. Even though all my efforts at helping them fall in love failed, I wasn't going to give up. I went searching online for someone with professional experience who could help me and my bunnies. I was so happy when I found Sarah at celeb rabbits, boarding and bonding. She was so knowledgeable,helpful and reassuring, and she agreed to take them in and work on bonding them. Sarah kept them for a week. Studying their personalities, even staying up with them through the night! I'm so relieved to be able to say, Eleanor and Rory have been best friends even since. All thanks to Sarah's know how and understanding of rabbit behaviour. Thank you Sarah I would recommend you and your services to anyone.
From Tammy van Duijvenbode on 27/05/2018
I used Sarah's bonding service as I adopted a friend for my bunny, and I was very nervous about doing the bonding myself as it's my first time owning rabbits and was a little unsure, Sarah is a natural with rabbits very helpful and knowledgeable and I had my bunny's back happy and bonded within 6days! Thank you very much
From Vicki on 27/01/2018
I was at my wits end with my two boys who I adopted from pets at home, days after we got them they started fighting and I had no option to keep them apart. I followed all the advice and nothing seemed to be working so I contacted Sarah's bonding service and it was the best decision I could have made. My boys came home after 7 days and they couldn't be happier.
From Sarah Pickhurst on 27/01/2018
Run by a lady who knows a lot about rabbits and is able to give good health advise and I'm very happy leaving our bunnies here for any time we are away. Bobywas taken to the vet last time which we were great Sul for and his teeth sorted.
From Karen on 22/06/2017
I used Sarah's bonding service when my bunnies fell out and fought after being apart for a few days. Sarah was really helpful over the phone and then took my bunnies in and they bonded straight away. I also used the boarding service for a week and I came back to 2 very happy bunnies. Sarah is a natural with rabbits and very helpful.
From Anne on 11/04/2017
Lovely lady, had so much trouble with bonding my rabbits took them for under a week and they came back bonded so happy with what she done. Would recommend anyone.
From Tara Sharp on 11/04/2017
I have known Sarah for many years and she is a a highly respected advocate for rabbit welfare. I would always trust Sarah with my 10 rabbits if needed. I have never met such a passionate person and a knowledgeable person about rabbits bonding, behavioural problems. She is the "Rabbit Whisperer of Surrey" x
From Karen Lycett on 20/01/2017
My bunnies went to stay with Sarah to be bonded as I was petrified to do it myself after the initial attempt ended in disaster. Well, what can I say?? She really is the Dr Dolittle of the rabbit world!! I've never known anyone so tuned into bunnies, and after a couple of weeks with her, they really are now the best of friends. Sarah kept me up to date through the whole process (although I think I pestered her a bit too much at times) and even continued her support over the phone when they had a bit of a tiff a few days after coming home!! Also, I am very thankful to her for quickly recognising when my little buck Bobby wasn't chewing properly and didn't seem himself plus weight loss- a trip to the vet resulted in a diagnosis of spurs on his molars....which were addressed very speedily. Thoroughly recommend, Sarah is very knowledgeable and bunnies are in safe hands with her Thanks so much xx
From Beckie on 26/09/2016
I couldn't recommend this boarding enough. fantastic service and so understanding and knowledgeable of the rabbits. Thank you for all your help. Will be back
From Julie Timms on 01/02/2016
Sarah was extremely knowledgeable and caring about rabbits. We had every confidence in leaving our two bunnies with her, and would not hesitate to recommend her boarding service to other pet-owners.
From Stephen Grayson on 11/09/2015
An amazing place for bunny holiday and bonding :)
From Jolanta on 24/08/2015
Lola and Bailey had a lovely stay at Celebunnies. They were looked after well; all the bunnies here are clearly loved!
From Mandie on 13/08/2015
We have boarded our two rabbits with Sarah six times in the last year. We think they really enjoy themselves and Sarah spoils them rotten. She is very knowledgeable about all aspects of rabbit care and we have no hesitation in recommending Celebunnies for bunny vacations.
From John Whitley on 12/08/2015
Dylan and Blossom had a wonderful time staying at Celebunnies and I had peace of mind that they were being well cared for. I would not hesitate in recommending Celebunnies and would use them again.
From Ingrid on 17/04/2015
I am so delighted, I now have somewhere who my babies can stay with whilst I am on holiday. The facilities are fabulous but I know they will be in safe hands and well cared for by Sarah at CELEBUNNIES total confidence and piece of mind.
From Laura Sanderson on 15/03/2015
Highly recommended, I wouldn't leave Topsy anywhere else. Thanks again Celebunnies.
From Jane Rainer on 18/01/2015
Can't thank you enough for everything, Sarah has a deep understanding of how to care for rabbits and I would highly recommend Celebunnies to anyone. Really a wonderful place for any bunny to stay.
From Rachel on 16/08/2014
Our bunnies stayed at Celebunnies for a week and had a super time. Sarah really looked after our babies which made it far easier to go away and have peace of mind. Also it's reassuring that Sarah knows so much about rabbits, that she can spot if something doesn't seem right, which again allows peace of mind. Your bunnies will have a lovely time with Sarah and be very cared for.
From Sarah on 27/07/2014
What a fantastic service, first time i've boarded my rabbit so was very nervous about the whole situation. We were put at ease right way when dropping him off from the knowledge and enthusiasm from Sarah, she really loves her rabbits. We had regular updates and pictures of Alfie enjoying himself. When we picked him, was really happy to see him looking so well and relaxed, he was really well looked after. I would recommend Sarah to anyone who has rabbits, such an amazing place and unbelievable care provided, like they were her own rabbits, thanks again Sarah, keep up the great work
From Darren on 28/06/2014
Worth every single penny, the facilities are second to none but Sarah is a very knowledgable rabbit enthusiast and the passion she has towards rabbits and caring for them is incredible. I am so grateful for all the advice and help and advice and now phone Sarah instead of my vet. Would highly recommend to anyone.
From Mary Scheniser on 21/03/2014
This setup is great, well run, HUGE runs, expertly cared for like they are part of the family, over enthusiastic bunny owner with nothing but time and love for the bunnies. Its an amazing place! Your bunnies won't want to leave. :)
From Peter Foggon on 15/01/2014
I recently left my rabbit Jill with Sarah for 3.5 weeks after some very recent dental work. Sarah not only looked after her basic needs, providing excellent food and accommodation, but also went the extra mile with regards to her health. She gave her lots of cuddles, gave her injections when necessary, took her back and forward to the vet and all the while kept me informed while I was away on holiday so I didn't worry about her. Thanks to Sarah's care, we arrived back to a happy and healthy bunny. I would wholeheartedly recommend Celebunnies x
From Leanne on 20/11/2013
Our two Rabs, Toffee and Cupcake, stayed with Sarah for two weeks during August. If rabbits could talk, I am 100% sure that they would have refused to come home with me. Sarah really cares for each and every rabbit that lodges with her. She has an in-depth knowledge of rabbit welfare and a genuine love for those in her care. Our rabbits were returned to us in better condition than when they arrived at CelebBunnies. Nails clipped and coats groomed (Toffee loves to moult), I nearly didn't recognise them!! All this, coupled with a set up that allows for so much outdoor space for the rabbits to move around, means that I will never want or need to look anywhere else. Thank you Sarah, you are a superstar!!
From Gary Lester on 08/09/2013
Excellent rabbit boarding...someone who knows bunnies and knows how to look after them properly. Would highly recommend this boarder to anyone looking for someone to trust with their beloved pet. Will definitely use again.
From Sam Davies on 04/09/2013
Chloe had another short stay with Sarah, continues to be a 5 star boarding. Sarah really cares about all the rabbits she looks after. We will not hesitate to use her facilities again
From Sharon on 03/09/2013
The worst thing about going away, who will look after my bunny? I needn't have worried though, when I got to Celebunnies we received a warm welcome from Sarah, and the Bunny accommodation and play areas looked fantastic. Seeing how happy all the other bunnies were I felt much better about leaving Merlin. Of course I missed him, but I knew Sarah would care for him like he was one of her own. Merlin had a fab holiday, and next time he fancies a break he'll definitely be back. Thank you so much Sarah (Bunny Mummy) :)
From Nancy on 31/08/2013
We left our rabbit for 10 days at Celebunnies, she had a great time. We were very impressed with the photos and videos Sarah posted of her, this helped us to feel more relaxed knowing she was being well cared for. Sarah is very passionate about all bunnies and you can guaranteed they will be well looked after. Booked in again for our next trip.
From Sharon Wallington on 19/08/2013
Muffin and Willow stayed with Sarah and I felt very comfortable leaving them, in the knowledge they would be well cared for and loved. they were very content and happy when we collected them and I will certainly use Sarah again.
From Elaine on 19/08/2013
I was really apprehensive about leaving Boo as I have never left her with anyone other than family before. I was really happy when I arrived with her at Celeb Bunnies. Sarah was so reassuring and understood my anxiety. She certainly knows her stuff and was happy to accommodate Boos every need. I was also even more reassured whilst away, to have regular updates and pictures/videos of Boo. I could see that Boo was really looked after and happy when I came to pick her up. With out a doubt I would use this facility again, couldnâ€™t have been happier, Definitely a 5*Bunny Resort!
From Ishbel and Boo on 14/08/2013
I think that Sarah hutches are big enough for any rabbits and big runs as well.Sarah was very helpful with my rabbit Fluffy was very happy when we brought him home. I would defiantly take fluffy here again and highly recommend it to anybody else.
From Allison Mehrtens on 12/08/2013
Honey spent two vacation with celebunnies..after a traumatic car ride she settled in. We felt a bit anxious to start with but need not have been. We received a picuture of Honey in her temp appartment [cage] looking chilled. Was fit healthy and happy when we collected her. Thank you will use you again on our next trip.
From debbie & naomi on 08/08/2013
This has to be the most incredible set up for bunnies I've seen ever. That aside the standards were exceptionally high and my bunnies could not have been in better hands. Sarah was upfront, confident and very helpful to me even after bill & bow were back home. Rate five only as that is the highest. A winner.
From Sue anklerow on 06/08/2013
My bunny Muffin stayed at Celebunnies for a week and was well looked after, Sarah has a genuine passion for bunnies and that means that she spends quality time with them rather than just simply feeding and cleaning them. Muffin had a nice little holiday!
From Louise Jones on 19/07/2013
So nice that we have finally found you to take care of our baby.he has never been as happy as he was this year, thanks Sarah for taking such super care of him and for giving us back our freedom to go away. We will see you again in February.
From Rachel bautee on 19/07/2013
I left our big bunny Dexter with Sarah for 2 weeks and I can honestly say he had is own little holiday, it was home from home for him, he now has an adoptive 2nd family. Sarah is so naturally caring and the bunnies well being is her main aim. Dexter is a house bunny as well as an outdoor bunny (depending on weather) and Sarah gets to know the bunnies and caters for all there individual needs and requirements. I will be using Celebunnies again in the future and would recommend Sarah 100%.
From Ruth Waters on 23/06/2013
Will be always happy to go away again, fitted in at short notice and was a very tidy home for rabbits and wonderful care I will recommend your bunny board to everyone. Thank you again OSHA
From OSHA on 21/06/2013
Sean Nathaniel Pearce Clare A quick not to say thank you so so much for looking after the Boys (Fred & George) so well!! Lovely to come over and pick them up seeing them bouncing around all happy outside!! We'll be back soon for sure!! Thanks again Sean, Selma and The Boys!! x
From Sean Clare on 14/05/2013
I left my rabbits here and I felt that they were really loved, Its a very welcoming environment. I felt relaxed on holiday that they were safe, warm, fed and played with. Iv boarded my rabbits before but iv never seen anything like this I actually felt guilty taking them home. I will definitely use again as very reasonable rates for the service given. Thanks very much
From lisa on 26/04/2013
Beautiful set up and great care, sarah was very helpful and very much attention was given, I found out lots about my two. Thank you for the pictures and see you in August.
From Mrs Anstel on 26/04/2013
Julie Eastoe Your rabbit boarding looks amazing I love bunnies I have six of them . I live in Cambridge but if I lived in Surrey I would certainly bring my bunnies to you for there holidays good luck x Like · · 28 March at 23:23
From Julie Easton on 24/04/2013
Note: Map only shows approximate location.Location
Centred in Coulsdon , Surrey CR53DA. 20 mins drive to Gatwick terminals , 30 mins train from London Victoria
we offer luxury 5 star rabbit boarding all year round, we welcome viewing appointments.
© 2007-2019 Tam Design; All Rights Reserved
Myxomatosis is caused by a virus spread by fleas, mites and biting flies such as mosquitoes. In some circumstances it can also spread by direct contact between infected rabbits too. The first signs of infection are usually puffy swellings around the head and face. Within a day or so, these swellings can become so severe that they can cause blindness. ‘Sleepy eyes’ are another classic sign, along with swelling around the mouth and ears, which then spreads around the anus and genitals. A high fever occurs and eating and drinking becomes progressively more difficult. Death usually follows within around twelve days. Recovery from this disease is rare and euthanasia is often necessary to prevent suffering. Occasionally a longer and more protracted disease course occurs with multiple skin modules. All types of rabbits can be affected, including house rabbits.
Rabbit Haemorrhage Disease (RHD), also known as Viral Haemorrhage Disease (VHD) is a very serious condition which causes a high fever, internal bleeding and liver disease. It is usually rapidly fatal and is spread by direct contact between rabbits (both wild and domesticated) and indirect contact, such as via insect transport or people, clothing, shoes and other objects. Regular flea and fly control measures and avoiding pet rabbits coming into contact with areas wild rabbits have been, can help to lower the risk of infection.
Both diseases are widespread and endemic in wild rabbits in the UK. Although myxomatosis is the most widely recognised in pet rabbits, cases of RHD are also reported sporadically in domestic rabbits. The devastating nature of these diseases means that vaccination against both diseases is recommended to protect pet rabbits. Although separate vaccines were needed in the past, dual protection against both diseases is now available from a single convenient annual vaccine. Ask your vet for further details.
Flystrike he symptoms, treatment and prevention of fly strike in rabbitsFly strike (Myiasis) is predominantly caused by the green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) and related fly species which lay eggs on living rabbits. The green bottle flies are attracted to damp fur, urine, faeces or the odour of rabbit scent glands.
Fly strike (Myiasis) is predominantly caused by the green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) and related fly species which lay eggs on living rabbits. The green bottle flies are attracted to damp fur, urine, faeces or the odour of rabbit scent glands. They lay their eggs on or around the rabbit's rear end where they hatch within hours into maggots that eat into the rabbit's flesh, eating it alive and releasing toxins in the process. Fly strike in domestic rabbits is a common problem throughout the summer months.
Flies will strike any healthy animal, but generally those that have a wet and dirty groin area are most at risk. Any rabbit which is unable to clean itself properly may become infected, typically this includes obese rabbits, females with large dewlaps, or skin folds around their abdomen, rabbits with urinary problems, elderly or arthritic rabbits, long-coated breeds, and rabbits with teeth problems who are unable to groom themselves. Wounds also provide a perfect place for the fly to lay its eggs, as the odour and moisture from the flesh attracts them.
If you find maggots on or around your rabbit’s anus immediate veterinary attention is required and the situation should be treated as an emergency. If possible, ring ahead, so that the vet can be prepared for your arrival and treat your rabbit immediately as your rabbit will probably be in pain and shock and will require careful nursing if it is to survive.
If you cannot get to a vet immediately, then pick off as many of the external maggots as you can, using a pair of tweezers. The maggots which have burrowed into the flesh can be encouraged to the surface of the skin, by heat such as a warm, damp towel. Ideally you should avoid wetting the rabbit’s coat, as damp fur will clog the clippers that vets use to shave the infected areas, however, dipping your rabbits rear into water can help to get rid of some maggots providing the area is dried afterwards.
The preferred method of treatment for fly strike is to remove the maggots using tweezers and shave off any damp or dirty fur. This should be carried out by your veterinarian as the rabbits skin is very thin and tears easily. Your vet will not only have skilled and experienced staff on hand but they will also be able to administer sedation or an anaesthetic to make the process easier, which in turn will ensure that your rabbit does not experience discomfort. Rabbits that have fly strike will also often need antibiotics to prevent infection. Anti-inflammatory and pain killing drugs are sometimes also administered.
Fly strike is a distressing and potentially fatal condition which can be prevented by a few simple measures. Unfortunately we cannot eliminate flies from the rabbit’s environment and therefore we should keep a watch full eye over the rabbit, especially during the summer months.
Remove all soiled bedding daily
Ensure that your rabbit is not being overfed, as this can result in diarrhoea, leading to a dirty groin
Feed greens and fruit in moderation, as some rabbits cannot tolerate an over-abundance of green food, again leading to diarrhoea and a dirty anus . For the same reason, take care when putting your rabbit out on the lawn in the summer, not to allow too much access to fresh grass
Check your rabbit twice daily to ensure that it is clean and dry. This includes house rabbits, who can also be at risk
Disinfect hutches every week.
Keep the rabbit dry and use a cleanser to remove faeces
Keep the hair around the anus very short by trimming with scissors or clippers.
Ridding the environment of flies, by means of chemical insecticides may damage the environment, animals, and people along with the flies. Fly traps catch many flies but not all. Repellents may work temporarily, but one must remember to use them repeatedly. Screens on doors and windows reduce the number of flies that get into the house, but some slip through.
Nylon netting can be used to cover outdoor hutches and runs, to prevent flies entering your rabbit’s environment. It can also be used to create inner fly doors in sheds. But do take care not to trap any flies inside when hanging it.
A number of plants can be used to repel insects and flies. Some may be planted in pots to sit on top of outdoor hutches or near runs, whilst others may be dried and hung in the home, or the rabbit shed. Just make sure that all these plants are out of reach of your rabbit.
rabbit not eating or pooping - Gi Statsis
this is why i make sure i actually see that all rabbits are eating and they have a constant supply of hay.
GI Stasis, technical term ileus, is a silent killer.If left untreated the complete intestinal tract will cease to operate and perform its movement function, resulting in a painful death for the rabbit.
This can happen in as little as 12 hours.
GI Stasis is the condition of food matter not moving through the gut as normal or not moving as quickly as normal.
The gut contents compact into a hard immobile mass blocking the digestive tract.
Food matter in an immobile gut may also ferment causing a gas build up and resultant pain for the rabbit.
An intestinal slowdown can cause ingested food matter or hair to lodge in the intestinal tract causing the blockage.
In addition, if the cecum/caecum is not emptying quickly enough, harmful bacteria will override the cecum's natural defence system emitting gas and causing the rabbit terrible pain.
Bacteria can produce deadly toxins damaging the liver thereby being a side effect of this serious condition.
GI Stasis (ileus) is not an illness but a symptom of another underlying problem and it will become an emergency extremely quickly and if left untreated, will be fatal.
The symptoms are no fecal pellets/droppings or very few compared to the amount your rabbit usually produces. They may also be unusally very small.
The rabbit becomes lethargic and has no appetite , becomes disinterested or may hunch up in a ball as if cold. You may also hear them loudly crunching their teeth, which is a sign of pain.
There might be sounds in the belly that sound different to what you are use to? unusually loud? or indeed deadly silent ?
It could be that you simply notice the difference in your rabbit's behaviour, that the rabbit just does not look right.
You know your rabbit's behaviour pattern and nature better than anyone and any difference is very obvious. If no feces/droppings are being produced by your rabbit, you should consider GI Stasis and immediately take your rabbit to the vets.
It is often believed that the rabbit stops eating and consequently produces no droppings.
A more accurate diagnose would be that the rabbit stops passing feces/droppings first and thereby loses their appetite and stops eating.
A rabbit's intestinal tract can become static for several different reasons such as stress, dehydration, pain form an underlining disorder or illness, dental problem, wind, infection, intestinal blockage or insufficient fibre in the diet. Lack of fibre is a common cause.
At the bottom of this page we have given a checklist on how to try and avoid this condition.
The stomach and intestine of a rabbit are never empty. The rabbit may eat normal amounts of food up to the GI tract shutting down and therefore the stomach may contain a large bolus of food when GI stasis occurs.
A mass that is misidentified as a hairball in a rabbit usually composes of food held together by hair and mucus. Such a bolus or ball of mass chewed food matter is unable to pass out of the stomach but can be broken down slowly. Do not try and treat GI Stasis yourself. An immediate visit to a vet familiar with rabbits is essential.
If the vet diagnoses GI Stasis, then they will try to determine the cause of the slowdown.
If there is an underlying condition, it is imperative to address it.
The vet may then decide that the best course of treatment is to stimulate motility in the gut, and may advise one or more of the following:
Motility drugs (like cisapride or metoclopramide) which will help to stimulate movement in the digestive system.
Administer fluids and rehydration techniques which help to soften the mass in the intestines.
Administer enzymatic digestive aids in order to lossen and soften an impacted mass.
Pain medication to alleviate discomfort due to gas build up.
Syringe feeding to ensure the rabbit continues to get essential nutrients.
If the rabbit shows signs of a bacterial infection then antibiotics might be used to combat the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. The vet might only use antibiotics if it is felt absolutely necessary. For the treatment and aftercare of your rabbit, work with your vet.
With these treatments it may take time and patience for a rabbit to make a full recovery.
To correct this condition involves patience in allowing the treatments to work. It may take several days before any fecal pellets are seen.
The first few pellets may be small, hard misshapen, perhaps covered in mucus.
Avoid stress for the rabbit. Recovery can be very slow.
It might be helpful to mention that sometimes GI Stasis is misdiagnosed as hairballs by a vet. Use your own commonsense in the matter. The hairball is more likely a result of GI Stasis, not the cause.
It is also advisable to remember that, unlike cats, rabbits do not have the ability to vomit.
Bloat is an extreme form of G stasis
Here is a checklist to try and avoid this condition;
1.Plenty of fibre in diet, are you giving too many starcy treats? A rabbits diet must be very high in fibre.
2. Beware of an underlying infection or illness? This can be an indirect cause of GI Stasis.
3. Overgrown molars or abscessed tooth or related tooth problems.
4. Stress. Beware of major changes to the rabbit which include the loss of a bonded partner, a change of living environment, a new pet in the house, suddenly noisy environment etc.
5. Lack of exercise. Your rabbit whether it is a house or garden pet must have regular exercise. Being left in the hutch or cage all day long is not good. Obviously, if you are away or on holiday or and have someone looking after your rabbit, that can't be helped but under normal circumstances, exercise is a must.
6. Ensure plenty of water.
7. Find a recommended vet, experience and familiar with rabbits.
The best cure for GI Stasis is prevention.
The importance of weighing your rabbit.
finest quality hay & forage
What Rabbits Eat - Hay
What do rabbits eat? A question that is asked often but not always answered correctly.
Even though many rabbits owners are more educated on the dietary needs of their bunnies, there is still many people who do not fully understand what the main part of a rabbits diet is.
The majority of a wild rabbit’s diet is grass, leaves, twigs, herbs and plants. For domesticated rabbits to stay as healthy as their wild counterparts, their diet should consist mainly of hay. Some people tend to think that rabbit pellets are the main meal and hay is a type of ‘bedding’ or just an extra nibble. Whilst hay can be used as bedding it is also your rabbit’s staple diet. I’ll break this topic down into three sections: Hay, Pellets, Fresh & Dried Produce. Fresh grass is included in the 'Hay' section.
this is the staple diet. Feed your rabbit plenty of hay and you are on the right path to a healthy and happy bunny. If you have a lawn, then grass is a good alternative but when your bunny is in their hutch or cage, you should leave a large pile of hay in the cage for them to eat.
Why is hay beneficial to rabbits?
It is full of fibre which helps keep the intestine moving. A rabbit’s intestinal system needs to be constantly moving to stay healthy. As they like to chew on various objects, hay will ensure that anything that was hard to digest will be moved along by ingesting hay.
The action of chewing hay is good for wearing down teeth. Many teeth problems occur from not eating enough hay. Pellets may feel harder but the way of chewing a pellet and the way of chewing a piece of hay is different so they both wear down different parts of the teeth. That’s why providing only pellets is not healthy for a rabbit.
Having hay to eat prevents boredom. Rabbits will happily sit there for hours picking out the bits they enjoy and throwing the hay around.
The indigestible fibre found in hay can prevent hair from accumulating in the gut. As rabbits do not spit hair balls out like cats do, it is important that they can get rid of swallowed hair in their faeces.
What types of hay are there?
This is possibly the healthiest type of hay you can feed your rabbit. Depending on the bag of timothy hay you buy, it should be a lovely green colour or a slightly tan colour. It is easiest to store as it is less damp therefore less likely to mould. It should smell sweet and fresh and you should see quite a few seed heads and many stems and leaves. The texture of the hay is hard and provides a good texture for the wearing down of teeth. Timothy hay is a good choice for obese bunnies and for general bunnies as it has low calories, fat and protein yet is high in fibre.
There are several brands from pet stores, at the moment I use Alfalfa King Timothy Hay as I found the colour and the smell wonderful. My rabbits tend to prefer this one but I find that whilst the strands are nice and long to begin with, the last third of a pack is always dusty and full of small bits that get ignored. I have also tried Woodland’s Timothy Hay with Carrot and Apple. Whilst it sounds nice to me, I‘m not sure if carrot and apple are very healthy additions to hay. In my opinion, it would be better to shred some fresh carrot and mix it into hay. I would like to see one with dried dandelion or other herbs mixed in as my rabbits were not very impressed with dried apple. Excel Herbage Timothy Hay with dandelion and marigold was received well in general. You can also buy large bales of timothy hay from farmers but you will need a place to store it. Bales are cheaper than pet shop hay.
This is a legume hay which contains as much fibre as timothy hay. It is good for younger rabbits and lactating does, but due to its high calorie/protein/calcium content, it is unsuitable for rabbits that are over a year old. The high calcium can cause sludge in urine and the high calorie content can cause a rabbit to gain weight. It is a rich green colour with a distinct smell and many leaves.
Many rabbits enjoy this hay so I am under the impression that its tastier as given a choice, my rabbits would rather nibble on alfalfa than timothy hay. Unfortunate for them, as I do not feed them alfalfa hay anymore. They used to have a bit but I was weary of the calcium content as Nibbles also had slightly thicker urine. You can give a bit to rabbits over a year old as a treat but if they are prone to kidney stones, stay away from alfalfa. It is also a good hay to help stimulate underweight rabbits to eat. One popular brand that sells alfalfa hay is Oxbow. Alfalfa King also does bags of alfalfa hay.
This hay has a similar nutritional analysis to timothy hay which makes it a great alternative. If your rabbits do not like timothy hay (yes! They can be so picky sometimes!) you can try oat hay as it has a completely different texture and taste. Oat hay has grain husks that many rabbits enjoy the taste of.
I’ve tried two types of oat hay with my rabbits. The first type I tried is Burns Green Oat Hay. My rabbits were not so keen on the coarse stems but did nibble some of the seed heads. My sister in law’s guinea pigs much preferred this hay though. I’ve tried Alfalfa King’s Oat, Wheat & Barley Hay. Whilst this is not all oat hay, it has a nice variety of other hays and my rabbits enjoyed foraging for their favourite bits. Once again, I found them not too fond of stems. Oxbow also produces bags of oat hay but I have not yet tried that.
This is soft yellow/green hay that smells quite sweet. It is less coarse than oat or timothy hay and can be quite stringy as the strands are very thin. It has a variety of grasses, flowers and herbs which encourages rabbits to dig through and look for their favourite bits. This type of hay contains a bit more protein and a bit less fibre than timothy hay but it is cheaper (due to being more easily grown) and appears to be tastier than timothy hay. That could be due to rabbits preferring the softness of meadow hay over timothy hay.
This is readily available in the UK unlike timothy hay which is not usually grown here due to the climate being less suitable. You can buy bales of this from local farms and big bags are available on the internet and at pet stores. I’ve used two brands and both were received well by the buns (Pure Pastures Meadow Hay and Devon Meadow Hay). My rabbits love meadow hay so much, if you have a bag, they will bite a hole in it to get to the hay. I use meadow hay as the main hay as they eat more of this. Even though it is not as good as timothy hay (which I still give but is not always finished), the general rule is some hay is better than no hay.
This is dried grass. There are two types that are readily available, one is literally the same kind of grass you expect to find in the UK and the main brands is Readigrass and Excel Barn Grass. It has a higher protein and calcium value than other hays apart from alfalfa and the amount of fibre is not as high as the other hays. The second type is orchard grass which is nutritionally similar to timothy hay. It even looks similar to timothy hay in appearance. You can feed this freely to your rabbits whereas I would suggest giving less Readigrass if your rabbits are susceptible to kidney stones.
Buying hay from local farmers is the cheapest way to go as you can buy bales of it provided you have the storage space. However, you must keep the hay dry and let it breath to prevent damp and mould. As long as it’s kept in good conditions, hay can be kept for a long time.
If you have access to fresh grass, this is an excellent alternative for hay. You can leave your rabbit in a run on your lawn (supervised!) and let him eat grass. Or you can pull fresh grass from your lawn to give to your rabbit. You will still need hay in the cage or hutch but you might notice that the more grass your rabbit eats, the less hay you will need to give. This means a bale of hay can last a bit longer. You will need to check that your rabbit can handle fresh grass as I know some rabbits are less tolerant to it for some reason. I know too much grass and my rabbits produce too much cecal faeces (soft droppings) and that they do not eat those which can be a hygiene hazard. Any grass with no pesticides, chemicals and is not next to a busy road is safe for your rabbits.
Other foods to feed your rabbit: Pellets, Fresh & Dried Produce
It's all very well feeding your rabbit the right food, but what are the wrong ones? Plants and foods that are toxic to rabbits
What Rabbits Eat - Pellets
No rabbit food on the market is a complete diet
There was a misconception (and there still is for those who are unaware) that rabbit food is a complete diet for bunnies. You must always provide hay and water. Plenty of both. Rabbit food is a concentrated feed; it provides all of the nutrients a rabbit may need in a concentrated form. When you consider a wild rabbit, their diet involves eating lots and lots of grass and herbs that are low in nutrients. They will eat all day to get the amount of nutrients they need. Rabbit food is very different in that you only need to feed a little bit due to the high nutrient content.
It is meant to accompany hay, rather like a side dish.
Even though pellets are hard, they do not wear down a rabbit’s teeth in the right way which is why you cannot just feed pellets alone. Most rabbit foods state on the packaging that hay should also be offered in unlimited amounts nowadays. It is possible to not feed pellets but that requires the owner to be very knowledgeable in rabbit nutrition as you will need to substitute pellets for other foods that would offer a healthy amount of nutrients.
I would not suggest you do this unless you were very confident that you can provide a good diet plan. There are two types of foods on the market, the ‘luxury’ kind and the ‘plain’ kind.
Luxury rabbit feeds are colourful and appeal to us
They contain lots of different parts such as pea flakes, seeds, dried sweetcorn etc. They look fun but they encourage selective feeding. Rabbits are able to pick out which bits are yummy to them and they leave the bits they dislike. This means they are not getting all the nutrients that are needed. Poor luxury feeds contain a lot of grains, sugars and fats which are not suitable for rabbits. A rabbit diet should consist mainly of fibrous foods and that applies for this too. If you choose to offer this kind of feed, you should check that it is high in fibre and with fewer grains. You should also ensure that your rabbit does not eat selectively. Do not put any fresh food into their bowl till all the old food is eaten. If you cannot make sure of that, then you should choose the option below.
What are pellets made of?
Plain rabbit feeds are dull green brown in colour and look rather boring. Each pellet has the same nutritional value and you do not need to worry about selective feeding. These pellets usually have hay or grass as the first ingredient. Some are made from alfalfa and these pellets contain a lot more protein. Alfalfa based pellets should only be given to young rabbits or lactating does to help them grow or produce milk. As young rabbits grow older, gradually move them onto grass/hay based pellets. Young rabbits can also be given pellets freely. As they grow older, the amount of pellets should be slowly reduced. Check the packaging to see how much you should give your rabbit per day and split it into two meals. Your rabbit does not need a lot of pellets per day so if you find your rabbit is not eating much hay, try cutting down on pellets gradually as you may be giving too much. A handful a day is sufficient so do not be afraid to give less when it comes to pellets as you really do need to get your rabbit eating the good stuff: hay.
Good quality pellet
I recommend using a good quality plain pellet food. I believe the ‘luxury’ stuff to be unhealthy for rabbits. Look for one high in fibre and low in sugars, protein and fats if you are buying for an adult rabbit. If you are buying for a young rabbit, look out for high fibre and high protein pellets. Do not buy many bags of pellets in one go as the amount of vitamins in the pellets reduce over time. Always make sure you know how much pellets you are giving your rabbit, grab a plastic cup, measure and mark it. It is very easy for a rabbit to gain weight but hard for them to lose it. If you are cutting down on pellets, make sure you do it gradually.
If you are unsure of what pellet food to use, I have a useful guide which tells you what to look for, the ingredients and the nutritional content of some popular brands of bunny food.