How to Help a Pet Rabbit with Gas Pain

Learn how to help a pet rabbit with gas pain in this Howcast video featuring bunny lover Amy Sedaris and rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter.

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Rabbits make wonderful pets. If you're thinking of getting one, check out these videos: Actress Amy Sedaris, who is a loving mom to her own pet bunny, helps rabbit expert Mary E. Cotter, Ed.D., LVT answer all your questions about how to take care of a pet rabbit. It's not always easy, but it's worth the work.

 
 

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So what do we do about rabbit gas pain? This is not an unusual phenomon especially if the rabbit has access to things he shouldn't be eating, or too much of what he should be eating. You can get a rabbit who's gassy. One common way we deal with this is we give the rabbit something called Pediatric Simethicone which is really baby gas drops. There are many different brands, baby gas drops comes in a little shaker bottle, and you just drop a little syringe worth, and you put it in the rabbits mouth. It doesn't leave the rabbits intestinal tract, it doesn't leave the lumen of the intestinal tract so you can't really overdose it, but we usually give about one milliliter, or one cc per hour for three hours straight. One dose an hour later, a second dose a hour later, a third dose. If there's no difference by the third dose, a difference isn't probably going to happen from that. But the other thing that we do that I wanted to show here, is we give rabbits belly massage, and some rabbits just really love this, and respond to it, and it's very helpful with gas. Sometimes you'll hear them pass gas, or you'll hear the gas bubbling around in their bellies when you do this. And belly message involves very gentle pressure under the rabbits tummy like this. I'm just going to put my hands here and here, and I'm going to kind of manipulate one side, and then the other side, up and down, up and down, usually feels good, Bean doesn't have gas pain right now. Bean is this little bunny's name. He doesn't have gas pain, but he enjoys belly massage anyway, it feels good, I sometimes push the whole belly back and forth, from side to side, and you can hear funny little noise like oioioi when you're doing this. You hear the gas moving around which is part of the point. If you have trapped air in the digestive tract, and you can help that air move along, you're going to help relieve the bunny's pain. So this is an easy part of belly massage to do. What you don't want to do is you never want to push your fingers so far up into the belly that you increase the rabbits pain. So you just be very, very gentle. Keep the rabbit comfortable, and when you finish the side by side motion, you might want to try this kind of motion where you're lifting the rabbits hindquarters, and I place him in my arms like this facing my dominant hand, and I raise his butt, and basically I let him bounce like this. Just gently let him bounce. Sometimes I support the hindquarters like this, but it doesn't matter. Most bunny's like this feeling, and they will relax into your hands. You can actually feel their little bodies settle into your hand. They drop their weight right down into your hand, because it feels good. It's a relief, it's kind of like rubbing your belly when you have a stomachache. They just really enjoy it and you can watch their feet drop down, and you don't have to wait until your bunny has gas pain to do this. If you're bunny loves belly massage, or likes to have this body position, is that too high? You can kind of experiment. Find out what is comfortable for your bunny. What's too much, that was probably a little too much for him, a little too high, and so I back off. Watch your bunny's feedback, and you'll know if you're doing something painful, stop doing it. Experiment with a different position. It's easy, and it might provide an awful lot of relief. Right Beanie? You little cutie.

Expert

  • Mary E. Cotter

    Mary E. Cotter, M.A., Ed.D., LVT is the founder of the NY-based Rabbit Rescue & Rehab. She serves as chapter manager of the NYC House Rabbit Society and is vice president of the International House Rabbit Society. Involved with rabbit rescue since 1982, she speaks and writes frequently on rabbit-related topics, addressing owners, veterinary professionals and shelter workers. Mary is an adjunct assistant professor in the veterinary technology department of LaGuardia Community College (City University of New York) and co-manages a 7,000-member Internet mailing list focused on rabbit health, care and behavior.