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Because rabbits groom themselves constantly, they get hairballs just as cats do. Unlike cats, however, rabbits cannot vomit, and excessive swallowed hair may cause a fatal blockage. Rabbits can also develop a serious condition known as GI stasis which has many of the same symptoms and is much more deadly.
Symptoms: If your rabbit shows a decrease in appetite and in the size of droppings, get advice from a rabbit veterinarian.
Prevention: keep bunny brushed (less hair is swallowed); provide exercise time/space–at least 30 hours a week; give a fresh handful of hay daily; add fresh vegetables gradually to the diet.
A rabbit’s digestive tract is inhabited by healthful bacteria. If the “good” bacteria balance is upset by stale food or a sudden change in diet, harmful bacteria can take over the digestive track and kill the rabbit.Prevention: Keep all rabbit food in a cool dry place and make dietary changes slowly, giving a new food in small amounts. If no abdominal gurgling or loose stool results in 24 hours, the food may be offered again. If your rabbit goes outside, check for pesticides and poisonous plants.
Infectious bacteria: Many rabbit diseases are caused by bacteria, not viruses, and should be treated with antibiotics. If your rabbit shows symptoms of a “cold,” take him to a veterinarian familiar with antibiotics that can be safely used in rabbits. Oral drugs of the Penicillin family, such as Amoxicillin, should NOT be given to a rabbit, since there is risk of destroying good intestinal bacteria.