Last updated on February 12th, 2019 at 11:57 am
It is not uncommon for rabbits to experience painful bouts of gas due to various gastrointestinal disease and complications as well as diets issues. The presence of gas is only a symptom that all is not well and not a disease. Some bunnies are more susceptible to having this problem than others.
The main causes of gas in rabbits revolve around the various gastrointestinal diseases and conditions as well as diet provided to your furry critters.
Underlying gastrointestinal conditions
If you suspect the cause could be an underlying disease, we have covered some of the common diseases that may cause it. They include
- GI stasis or ileus
- Enteritis include mucoid enteropathy and enterotoxemia
- Bloat in rabbits
Besides the above, other gastrointestinal problems, as well as abdominal parasites, may also be responsible for gas.
Diets that have large amounts of “broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale”  have been associated with gas. Also “diet, high in carbohydrates and sugar and low in indigestible fiber”  may trigger this problem and other gastrointestinal complications.
Finally, excessive amounts of diets such as muesli or pellets containing cereals, or cereals, grains, excessive amounts of fruits can also cause this problem. Let us not focus on how to tell your pet has gas problems.
The exact symptoms you will have depends on the underlying causes. For instance, symptoms caused by bloat or enteritis might slightly vary from those that gastrointestinal stasis may show. Here are possible indications that your bunny has gas.
- Loud gurgling noises may be heard coming from his stomach 
- Pain symptoms including a hunched posture, pressing against the floor, shallow, rapid respirations loud tooth grinding, as well a tenderness of the abdomen upon palpation 
- A dilated and distended stomach or intestines (feels hard)
- A bunny not drinking or eating even its favorite foods
Gas may be accompanied with abnormal production of fecal matter such as absence, a runny stool, mucoid stool, among others. Expect body temperature changes especially hypothermia as well as stress, among others depending on the underlying cause.
Diagnosis will involve physical examination, looking at the various clinical symptoms, palpation of stomach and intestines, radiographs (can help show any obstructions), among others.
Dealing with gas
Treatment will revolve around treating the underlying causes such as bloat, GI stasis among other conditions. Besides, you can try the following treatments:
- Since it is very painful. The first treatment you should consider is the use of analgesic medications to relieve pain. Try medications such as Metacam, Torbutrol, flunixin meglumine as well as hydromorphone.
- Secondly, give them simethicone as may help break down gas administered orally. You may use a syringe without the needle to do so. You need about 1mm per hour for about three hours.
- Exercise is vital. Encourage your rabbit to be involved in a physical activity. “This can help to work out the gas and get the GI tract moving. . For instance, rabbit toys may encourage it to play.
- Gentle stomach massage in the direction of the anus to help the gas to move out.
- Keep it warm in case of hypothermia using a towel, a rabbit heating pad, or heating the hutch. This may include the use of Snugglesafe, among other ways.
- Provide the recommended diets and in their recommended amounts to help meet the various rabbit nutrition requirements. Remember fiber is very essential for rabbits.
- Syringe feed your bunny with Pedialyte and other critical care foods such as Oxbow Critical Care in case your rabbit does not eat to avoid further complications including GI stasis.
- Rabbits require water. Provide unlimited amounts of clean, fresh water.
If the cause is not treated, the gastric distention can cause a gastric rupture, kidney failure, heart failure, and death. This happens because the distention of the stomach and intestines can compress blood vessels that carry blood to other vital organs “causing secondary cardiovascular collapse and heart failure”