Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wool Block in Angora Rabbits - The Real Truth

The last two weeks have been kind of crappy. I'm sure you're familiar with life events that somehow all build up and happen at the same time. And then just to put the cherry on top, you get sick with a cold or flu just to make coping and dealing that much more challenging.

So Margarite was sick, I've had a cold, and my Tom Cat is still missing (I should have had children instead of cats, then at least they'd have a cell phone and I could call to ask where they are!).

Margarite, the older angora rabbit stopped eating a couple weeks ago. I had been monitoring her intakes and output and I noticed she was gradually eating less and less and her poops were getting smaller and smaller... and then they stopped--not a good thing for a rabbit.

I brushed her regularly, more often than the once a week that was recommended. The brushing is to remove loose hair so she wouldn't be consuming so much of her own wool when cleaning herself. It seemed all my efforts were in vain.

I had done quite a bit of reading on wool block on the interent and so I followed that advice.

I tempted her with fruits, gave her papaya tablets, which she would barely eat. Then when she stopped eating entirely I was forced to give her eyedroppers of pineapple juice and mineral oil in an attempt to give her fluids to get the blockage moved. And I cut off her wool to prevent her from ingesting more of her own long fibre.

It pains me to remember how much she hated being forced to take these treatments and how much it terrorized her. It was very upsetting for both of us. She pooped a little but her appetite just would not return. I just knew there had to be another solution so I went back to the Internet to find out what more I could do.

Then I came across the Rabbit Society's (http://www.rabbit.org/) web site with information from a veterinarian who also keeps rabbits. It describes the rabbit's digestive system in detail and what the REAL problem is when a rabbit's stomach has wool in it. It's a lack of motility of the GI tract and the digestive system (http://www.rabbit.org/journal/3-7/gi.html) caused by a lack of moisture in her system. The solution was so simple to be ridiculous. HYDRATION through eating greens--VEGETABLES!
The problem isn't that much different than constipation in humans. The rabbit's stomach does fill with hair as it grooms itself and then she starts to feel full and stops eating. The more dehydrated the rabbit becomes from not eating the more tightly packed the hair mass becomes, perpetuating the problem. They need fluids and the best way to get them is through food they are craving - vegetables.

My rabbit, wouldn't eat anything except a couple nibbles on a banana or strawberry. When presented with greens she GOBBLED them. I gave her romaine lettuce, parsley and carrot tops. This was a rabbit who hadn't eaten in a week, who was being force fed! I couldn't believe how she began to eat immediately. Of course the poops followed shortly after she started to eat and her energy came right back and she began to act like a normal rabbit again.
She did have plenty of hay the whole time through this ordeal, but that wasn't what she was naturally craving. She knew what she needed and she had to wait for the dummy (me) to figure it out! She was craving the moisture and fibre that vegetables provide.

I hadn't been feeding them greens. My history with greens is a little scary - years ago we raised a wild baby bunny and when we gave it greens it got diarrhea and then died - so I was very nervous about giving greens. After reading more information on the Rabbit Society web site I relaxed, seeing that the issue of diarrhea is more with baby rabbits, not adults as long as the greens were introduced slowly. I've now turned over a new leaf ;)

If you keep angora rabbits, I highly recommend the Rabbit Society website - and definitely read the article about the lack of motility caused by wool in the stomach. I believe their information saved my rabbit's life and it definitely saved our relationship. I certainly was not popular with her for a few days there but now it looks like I've been forgiven.

I do believe that the eyedropper and mineral oil can be effective if necessary, but try the greens first before you traumatize your bunny.

Both rabbits are now enjoying a veggie diet, along with pellets and hay ... and there's poops a-plenty! And now I find I'm eating more veggies too because they're in the house. I think we're all going to get more healthy. All I need now is for Tom Cat to come home.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your block just helped me out tremendously. My baby girl "Gracie" FA has stopped eating her pellets, not pooping as much, and really not interested in hay. So, I'll try the veggies and fresh pineapple. What a help. Thanks Beth

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

Thanks Beth for your comments. That's why I posted the information because I needed help with my angora bunny. Please come back to let us know how it goes with Gracie.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on the veggies...it certainly makes sense! I will try that with my angora bunny as I have tried everything else to get her to eat...

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

Yes do try the veggies. I rinse them in cold water and feed them to the rabbits sopping wet. Since this post we have never had wool block again in either of my rabbits. Good luck. If it works, come back and let us know.

Kelinci said...

If my rabbit disease wool block I give papain.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the helpful advice, this has been the only thing that poop Abbie is taking down. Romaine Lettuce. I am so worried but I really hope she pulls through. We have tried everything else. I'll keep you posted.

Jordan

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

Good luck Jordan. My rabbits loved carrot tops more than anything. If I gave them mixed veggies they always ate those first. I rinse them to make them really wet first.

You can do a syringe of mineral oil as a last resort but certainly go with the veggies first - and cut off their hair too if it's an Angora.

Large Rabbit Hutch said...

I agree with this Wool Block in Angora Rabbits - The Real Truth! I hope everybody gets a chance to read this very informative post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this article. Usually, feeding my angora rabbit pineapple and banana peels in addition to her timothy hay and greens is all we need to do. Recently, I noticed that my bunny hasn't been gobbling up her greens. She is eating, but less than usual, and pooping about the same amount, but some of the poop comes out like beads on a string. I had read the Web sites of several angora breeders who said that angoras must be combed daily. That might be easy for them to do for their rabbits, but mine is a rescued bunny, and she is not docile at all. It is very hard to comb a kicker, scratcher, and biter like her. Now, I see that she really does need to be combed daily. At the same time, I am wondering if I am giving her the right type of greens. We usually give her green cabbage, some kale, any lettuce we have on hand, and carrot greens, but we're out of her carrot greens now and she is ignoring the kale and cabbage. She also has ignored her timothy chews, which she usually loves. I will switch her diet to parsley and carrot tops with some kale, rinsed well in cold water, to see if we will have any improvement.

Beekeeper Barbara said...

The best web site and info on rabbits is available at http://www.rabbit.org/ and they reply to emails.

That's where I found out all this info about water. There's a list of best vegetables to feed. I know that kale shouldn't be fed every day. I found romaine to be the best staple as well as the carrot tops.

Michelle said...

I am so happy I just found your blog. My french angora has wool block. I'm trying everything. I thought maybe our vet was crazy about the greens since the breeder told me Papaya pellets and pineapple juice. My rabbit, like yours, won't eat the papaya and seems to hate the pineapple but he acts as if a raw carrot is a best friend. I think he likes the moisture in the raw carrot. The vet said the raw or pureed carrot is good but definitely the greens. I will certainly be trying that as soon as the grocery store opens. It is 4 am and I'm sitting here with my bunny trying to get him to drink :(

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Michelle, thanks for your post. I found out of all the vetggies available the rabbits' absolute favourite is carrot tops. I get them nice and wet by rinsing them and feed them wet. The rabbits gobble them up first before anything else and in the process the extra moisture is eaten too. It works great.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! I just noticed the past 2 days that one of my rabbits isn't eating. I'm going to the grocery right now to get some greens and see if that works!

Beekeeper Barbara said...

I really hope your rabbit gets better.

Wonderwoman said...

Thanks for this great info. I've had such a hard time getting used to my two English Angoras and what they need. My Bonnie seems to have wool block right now, she is still nibbling her and there. I've got some parsley I'll try to give her. Have you any suggestions for a runny nose? My male almost seems alergic to something since spring. He sneezes and his nose runs, but he's in excellent health otherwise.
Thanks!

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Wonderwoman: I'm sorry I can't give more advice to help your rabbit. I highly suggest you call a vet. You could email The Rabbit Society (their website is listed in my post above) and ask about the runny nose. Best of luck with your bunny :)

stella said...

Very helpful your sharing article.

Stephani said...

Yeah I think this posting really useful. thanks.

Anonymous said...

I just gave my angora,Dusty, some romaine lettuce, he devoured it! So glad I read your blog. I was worried because he was nowt eating or pooping. Keeping my fingers crossed that this helps! Thanks for the info!

michele tracy said...

Thank You Barbara, my little guy did not eat or drink yesterday and the vet said force feed pineapple juice but my bunny just hated it and wont swallow it. I went and bought parsley and cilantro and he gobbled it up so I gave him a second bowl. about 1/3 c. each hope this helps but I wonder if I should give him all he wants or limit it in any way. that's the only water he is getting he just wont drink from his bottle.

Anonymous said...

This was really interesting to Read, thank you! My bunny Bugs was diagnosed yesterday with slight wool block and GI stasis, which is a blockage in the gut and no movement. He showed similar sign to yours plus a few more and it really is scary! I took him to the vet and he stayed for 2 days. My vet said if I hadn't brought him in he could of passed away so I really do recommend bringing your rabbit to the vet if something isn't right, just incase. Bugs was extremely dehydrated and had a slight fever. He's doing a lot better now and the vet gave me some critical care and recommended giving him baby food! Apple, Pear etc but not anything too exotic. He gobbles it down and gives him the moisture and energy he needs. He isn't allowed any pellets or greens (including grass), only hay and baby food mixed with some critical care, for the next few days until he starts drinking and pooing the normal amount. I just thought I'd leave this comment here incase this happens again to anyone. My vet specialises in rodents and really knows her stuff!

Barbara Lindberg said...

Anomymous: Many thanks for leaving your comments to help others. The baby food is ingenious!! Moisture and food at the same time. Great advice.