ISSN 2398-2969      

Gastrointestinal: constipation

Clapis

Introduction

  • Infrequent or incomplete passage of scant, dry, hard fecal pellets; difficulty in defecation.
  • Cause: scant or lack of fecal production in rabbits is usually as a result of gastrointestinal stasis/hypomotility and anorexia. Constipation where the colon is filled with large amounts of hard, dry feces is rarely seen in rabbits. Examples of this would include neoplasia, stricture, abscess or anal atresia.
  • Signs: infrequent defecation, no fecal production or minimal small, hard feces, inappetence, anorexia, signs of pain (hunched up, bruxism).
  • Diangosis: clinical signs, hematology, biochemistry, radiography, advanced imaging, exploratory laparotomy.
  • Treatment: varies depending on underlying causes: fluid therapy, analgesia, surgery in select cases.
  • Prognosis: dependent on underlying causes: surgical candidates guarded to poor.

Presenting signs

  • Scant or no fecal production.
  • Small, dry fecal pellets.
  • Anorexia   Anorexia  .
  • Weight loss   Weight loss  .
  • Hunched posture.

Acute presentation

Sex predisposition

  • Adhesion formation may occur in female rabbits as a post-operative complication after neutering.

Age predisposition

  • Mucosa rectoanal papillomas have been more frequently described in the older male rabbit.
  • Rectoanal papillomas theoretically may cause an obstruction, although as far as the authors are aware, there are no published case reports causing complete obstruction.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Guzman D S M, Graham J E, Keller K et al (2015) Colonic obstruction following ovariohysterectomy in rabbits: 3 cases. J Exotic Pet Med 24 (1), 112-119 VetMedResource.
  • Reavill D (2014) Pathology of the exotic companion mammal gastrointestinal system. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 17 (2), 145-164 PubMed.
  • Kohles M (2013) Gastrointestinal anatomy and physiology of select exotic companion mammals. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract​ 17 (2), 165-78 PubMed.
  • Harcourt-Brown F M & Harcourt-Brown S F (2012) Clinical value of blood glucose measurement in pet rabbits. Vet Rec 170 (26), 674 PubMed.
  • Lichtenberger M & Lennox A (2010) Updates and advanced therapies of gastrointestinal stasis in rabbits. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 13 (3), 525-541 PubMed.
  • Harcourt-Brown F M (2007) Gastric dilation and intestinal obstruction in 76 rabbits. Vet Rec 161 (12), 409-414 PubMed.
  • Paul-Murphy J (2007) Critical care of the rabbit. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 10 (2), 437-461 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Harcourt-Brown F (2014) Digestive System Disease. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Medicine. Eds: Meredith A & Lord B. BSAVA, Gloucester. pp 168-190.
  • Varga M (2014) Digestive Disorders. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. 2nd edn. Butterworth Heinemann Elsevier, Edinburgh. pp 303-349.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2013) Gastric Dilation and Intestinal Obstruction. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Dentistry and Imaging. Eds: Harcourt-Brown F & Chitty J. BSAVA, Gloucester. pp 172-189.
  • Lennox A (2013) Radiographic Interpretation of the Abdomen. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Dentistry and Imaging. Eds: Harcourt-Brown F & Chitty J. BSAVA, Gloucester. pp 84-93.
  • Meredith A (2013) Anorectal Papilloma. In: BSAVA Manual of Rabbit Surgery, Dentistry and Imaging. Eds: Harcourt-Brown F & Chitty J. BSAVA, Gloucester. pp 254-255.
  • Oglesbee B (2011) Constipation. In: Blackwells Five Minute Veterinary Consult. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester. pp 382-385.
  • Brooks D L (2004) Nutrition and Gastrointestinal Physiology. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. St Louis, W B Saunders. pp 155-160.
  • Jenkins J R (2004) Gastrointestinal diseases. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. St Louis, W B Saunders. pp 161-171.

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