Rabbits care for their fur in a similar way to cats, and they ingest a small amount of hair when licking. However, due to the anatomy of the stomach, they are unable to vomit like cats.
So it is normal for a rabbit to eat some hair. If he is fed a high fiber diet and has a healthy digestion, the coat will pass through the digestive tract without any problems.
We encounter trichobezoars mainly in long-haired and dwarf breeds. When using drinkers or bowls, a few hairs are gradually left on the nipple or the edge of the drinker. When the rabbit drinks from such a clogged bowl/nipple, hairs are reabsorbed. These can form a trichobezoar in the digestive tract, which prevents the passage of food.
We must not forget that domestic rabbits can also eat other fibers, such as wool and carpet, which can lead to similar blockages.
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment:
The clinical symptom in rabbits is a swollen abdomen, the animal stops molting and, above all, stops eating. If your rabbit shows these symptoms, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible, as this condition will worsen more quickly than in cats.
Treatment of hairy obstructions involves the administration of injectable fluids and medications that try to increase the contractions of the intestinal tract. Most rabbits respond to this treatment in about four to five days. If there is no response to treatment, surgery is necessary, i.e. surgical removal of the hairball.
Daily combing with a metal comb or a very dense brush is the best way to prevent the formation of trichobezoars. Especially when your rabbit is shedding.
Foods with a high fiber content are proven to reduce the appearance of hair. This means that your rabbit should have plenty of fresh hay or oat grass and plenty of fresh vegetables available at all times. Hay contains a lot of fiber, which is beneficial for the regularity of their intestinal passage and facilitates the passage of hair through the stomach. If your rabbit is not overweight, alfalfa is also very suitable for regulating bowel movements. Also, a small amount of fresh pineapple or papaya, once or twice a week, is good for getting rid of stomach hair. This is because it is believed that these fruits have an enzyme that helps to break down the hair.
Activity, like proper food, also promotes efficient digestion. So your pet should be able to play outside the cage for several hours every day.
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