Rabbit poop

Rabbit owners will generally become very familiar with rabbit poop and droppings in their course of bunny ownership. All rabbits form two types of droppings: round dry fecal pellets (referred to in this article) and wet smelly cecotropes that are usually unseen by owners as rabbits normally eat them directly as they are produced.

Problems with poop

SD HRS “The Scoop On Poop”

Analyzing your rabbit’s fecal pellets is a good way of diagnosing whether all is right with your rabbit’s health. If they are ever malformed, it is usually indicative of some health problem that needs immediate attention.

Differential diagnosis of poop issues in rabbits
Syndrome Incidence in pet rabbits Hard feces Cecals Condition of rabbit Causes
Uneaten normal cecals Common Copious quantities Normal consistency Good appetite
Uneaten soft cecals Common Copious quantities Soft, liquid consistency Well
  • Change of diet
  • Lack of dietary fiber
  • Succulent foods
  • Stress
  • Same causes as uneaten normal cecals
Coccidiosis
  • Rare in adults
  • Common in juveniles
Diarrhea can range from haemorrhagic liquid feces to bulky soft feces Indistinguishable from hard feces Depends on severity of condition Eimeria spp.
Mucoid enteropathy
  • Rare in adults
  • Associated with stress
  • Sporadic outbreaks in juveniles
  • Normal hard feces are absent
  • Mixed or interspersed mucus and diarrhea
  • No fecal output in later stages
Abnormal soft cecals may be intermittently interspersed with mucus and diarrhea
  • May be eating in early stages
  • Bloated appearance
  • Progresses to inappetence and tooth grinding
  • Still unclear
  • Dysautonomia has been found in some cases
Cecal impaction Sporadic incidence
  • Absence of hard feces
  • Can produce mucus, which owners mistake for diarrhea
None in later stages May pick at food in early stages
  • Appears to be associated with pain or stress.
  • Cecal impaction is also part of mucoid enteropathy complex.
  • Can be caused by ingestion of materials that are moved into the cecum, absorb water, and are not broken down by cecal microflora. Examples include clay litter, methylcellulose, or other bulk laxatives.
Enteritis
  • Rare in adults
  • Enteritis caused by bacterial overgrowth/ imbalances is more common in the suckling or growing rabbit.
  • Normal hard feces are absent.
  • Liquid diarrhea
Not seen
Enterotoxaemia
  • Sporatic cases in adult rabbits
  • More common in juveniles
  • Liquid feces that may be tarry
  • Rabbit may die before diarrhea develops
Not seen
  • Unwell
  • Rapidly progressive
  • May be collapsed
  • Clostridium spp.
  • Can be induced by antibiotics
Chronic inflammatory disease Rare and only in adults Large amounts of bulky soft feces Indistinguishable from hard feces
  • Thin, bloated
  • Periods of ravenous appetite interspersed with periods of anorexia
  • Not known
  • May be immune mediated
  • Sometimes associated with adhesions post-spay
From Varga, M. (2013). Textbook of rabbit medicine. (2nd ed.).

Poopy butt

Poopy butt is the informal term of what happens when rabbits get runny stool or are unable to reach and clean their back end. It can also be referred to as intermittent soft stools or ISS. See Cecotropes for more information, as poopy butt is often caused by unformed cecals.

To clean a poopy butt, please see the Bathing article. It is important to keep the perineal area clean as the anus can be blocked by dried cecals.[1] It is also especially important in warmer months as dirty bottoms can increase the likelihood of flystrike.

Below are links with more information about poopy butt in rabbits.

Diarrhea

True diarrhea or diarrhoea is a medical emergency and is diagnosed when there are absolutely no normal stools produced — neither hard feces nor cecotrophs. The diarrhea may appear watery or contain blood or mucous. A rabbit with true diarrhea should be taken to a rabbit-savvy veterinarian immediately.

The primary prevention of diarrhea is by properly introducing changes in diet slowly and providing diets that are adequate in both indigestible and soluble fiber.[1]

Young rabbits are at most at risk of contracting diarrhea due to changes in both digestive tracts and diet after weaning.

Common diarrheal diseases of rabbits include coccidiosis, colibacillosis, and enterotoxemia.

The following links have more information on diarrhea.

Eating fecal pellets

See the links below for more information on rabbits eating their dry fecal pellets (not their cecals).

Composting rabbit waste

Rabbit litter is a great fertilizer for your garden.

Below are links with more information about composting your rabbit litter for use in your garden.

The following information are from rabbit breeder websites. Please remember that we do not condone rabbit breeding for the common house rabbit owner and that these links are purely for reference information.

Further reading

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Moore, L. (2013). Rabbit nutrition and nutritional healing. (2nd ed.).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *