Every cat and rabbit owner has to deal with the frustrating issue of hairballs, the accumulation of hair that can be found in the digestive tract. Unlike cats, rabbits do not have the ability to regurgitate hairballs. If the problem is left unaddressed, it may even prove lethal to rabbits. Here’s how you can deal with this hairy situation:
What’s the Cause?
Many rabbits who suffer from this issue have been known to be fed on a high carbohydrate and low fibre diet. There have also been some known environmental causes, such as lack of activity and prolonged periods of being cooped up in the cage. This leads to the development of high environmental stress and hence poorer motility of the stomach and the intestines. The weaker digestive tract then hampers the rabbit from expelling the hairballs naturally.
Looking Out For Symptoms
To identify hairball obstruction in your pet rabbit, look out for symptoms like loss of appetite, smaller faecal pellets and weight loss. If your rabbit displays such behaviour, it should be attended to immediately by a veterinary physician. Surgery may be required to fully relive the congested intestinal tract.
Prevention Is Cure
To prevent or reduce the chances of your rabbit from developing this issue, make sure that your rabbit is fed on a diet of fibre-rich hays, such as timothy or oat grass hays. Hay should be the main constituent of the rabbit’s diet instead of pellets. Allow your rabbit to move about outside its cage often and most importantly, groom its fur regularly.
Many owners are unaware of the severe consequences that could result from rabbits and their developing hairballs. Hence, it is vital to be equipped with proper knowledge and exercise responsibility to ensure that your rabbit lives healthy and happy.