Rabbit Poop During Recovery from GI Stasis or Illness

poop and recovery in rabbits

When a rabbit experiences GI stasis, they will usually stop pooping completely, or their poops will be few and far between. It’s very dangerous for rabbits, since their health is heavily tied to the movement of their digestive system (If your rabbit ever stops pooping and eating, bring them to a the vet immediately)

As your rabbit’s digestion starts back up after a bout of stasis, it will take a bit of time before their poop returns to normal. Expect to see small, deformed, and slightly squishy droppings at first. You may even see a bit of a gross, mucus layer around the poops.

When you experience these types of droppings at any other time, it would probably be a good reason to make an appointment with your vet. But when your rabbit is recovering from illness, any poop at all is a good sign. Over the next few days (or potentially few weeks if it’s a serious illness), your rabbit’s poop should return to normal.

What should rabbit poop look like when they are recovering from stasis (or any illness, really)

While your rabbit is recovering from gastrointestinal (GI) stasis, you’ll want to monitor their poop closely and frequently check to see if there are any. Any poop is good poop at this stage, since that means that your rabbit’s digestive system is getting back to normal.

Initially, their droppings will probably appear small and deformed. Even though this would normally be cause for concern, after an illness this is common because there has been such little movement of the rabbit’s gut.. 

You might also notice the poops are few and far between at first. Keep monitoring your rabbit over the next few days. They should gradually increase the amount that they are pooping and the appearance of their dropping should return to normal. 

Expect the poop to be darker than normal too. It’s another indication your rabbit’s system is passing material that might have been stationary during stasis. Over time, the color should return to the usual light brown.

Note: Occasionally, you might see some kind of mucus coating when your rabbit first starts pooping again, and it might be softer than usual. While not necessarily common, this is also not a cause for alarm. It’s just part of the recovery process and this, too, should return to normal within a few days as your rabbit recovers.

Cecotropes during rabbit recovery

During recovery, you may see more uneaten cecotropes around their habitat as well. These are special droppings that rabbits usually consume directly from their butt to re-ingest important nutrients (more information about cecotropes). 

If they’re leaving more uneaten, it is usually because their appetite hasn’t fully returned. They also might be producing more due to the high consumption of critical care during the recovery period. Cecotrope production should return to normal as your rabbit recovers and gains back their normal appetite.

Edit: I forgot to mention this, but was reminded today during my shift at the animal shelter. One of the rabbits was just spayed yesterday, and her cecotropes are seriously gross and mushy. If your rabbit has deformed, gross, mushy cecotropes for a couple of days as they’re recovering, that’s also within the realm of normal. The ceoctropes should return to normal as your rabbit resumes their normal diet.

How soon should the rabbit poop return to normal?

After your rabbit has experienced GI stasis or a significant illness, it’s important to closely monitor their recovery. The timeline for their poop to return to normal can vary depending on how serious your rabbit’s illness is and how quickly they start eating again. 

Here are some guidelines to help you know what to expect, but keep in mind that your specific circumstances may differ. If you are ever concerned, please contact your veterinarian for advice.

  • Most rabbits will begin to eat and pass stool within about 24 to 48 hours after receiving treatment. Their droppings will initially be small, dark, and deformed.
  • Follow your vet’s instructions and continue giving your rabbit medication and critical care even when you’re starting to see some improvements. This will help them continue to recover and not slip back into stasis.
  • Over the next few days to weeks, you should see a steady increase in the quantity and a normalization in the quality of the droppings.
  • Expect to see more cecotropes at first. Your rabbit should begin to eat these on their own within a couple of days. You can also collect those that you find and offer them to your rabbit to encourage them to eat their cecotropes.
  • Monitoring is key; keep a very close eye on your rabbit’s poop. Irregularities or a lack of improvement can indicate the need for further veterinary attention.

If you notice that your rabbit isn’t improving or their condition worsens, it’s crucial to seek follow up veterinary care. 

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Amy Pratt

Amy Pratt is a lifelong rabbit owner who has been specializing with rabbits at the Humane Rescue Alliance. She helps to socialize the rabbits and educate volunteers on the care and behavior of these small mammals.

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