Gastrointestinal Stasis

What is GI Stasis?

Gastrointestinal Stasis, in short GI Stasis, known as the silent killer in rabbits' health is a serious, common health issue every pet rabbit will face. As prey animals, their self-preserving instinct to conceal illness is part of rabbit behavior. It is important to continually monitor your beloved pet rabbit for any behavioral changes. GI Stasis is a deadly condition where the digestive system slows down or stops completely. Bad bacteria and gas releases occur, causing painful bloats that affect their motivation to eat, resulting in dehydration and lack of essential nutrients and roughage. Liver failure is the next step of GI Stasis as the gut becomes compact, straining the liver to pass out substances.


Causes of GI Stasis:

  • High starch, low fiber diet
  • Stress (e.g. change in environment, losing a bonded mate)
  • Pain from underlying issues (e.g. dental, urinary tract infections, gas)
  • Lack of exercise reduces gut motility
  • Dehydration


Signs of GI Stasis:

Below are few points showing the signs of GI Stasis:

  • Small and/or malformed fecal pellets
  • No fecal pellets
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy / hunched posture


Understanding the different types of poops is important to know if rabbit is in good condition.


Types of treatment used:

The diagnosis and treatment of GI Stasis will be determined by the Vet.

  • Gut motility drugs
  • IV fluids
  • Pain medications
  • Critical care syringe feeding
  • Antibiotics 


Preventing GI Stasis:

Firstly, ensure rabbit gets proper diet. A proper diet for rabbit is very important as their staple food is fresh hay, which they require unlimited amount of of at least 80% overall.

Secondly, have regular veterinary checkups to ensure there are no underlying issues such as infections and dental diseases, as well as perform blood tests to understand more on your pet's health.

Thirdly, evaluate your rabbit's living space as a rabbit requires plenty of area to exercise.

  • Ensure the area is supervised by owner in case rabbit chews on power cords, cupboards etc.
  • Include rabbit in daily family life, not leaving them alone, or get a partner for the rabbit
  • Changes in environment such as visitors, loss of bonded partner can induce stress in rabbit

Benefits for rabbits to be free roaming or in a playpen to spur their daily activity:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Joint and bone health
  • Mental and social stimulation
  • Build relationship with rabbit



Done by: Nurse Joshua