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Rabbit With Strange Feces

Why is a rabbit creating odd feces?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, DABVP
Posted: October 27, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT

Q: My rabbit’s feces are all connected. It happens more and more, and in larger piles. Is this just long-term diarrhea? Should I take my rabbit to see a vet?
 
A: It’s always a good idea to visit or call your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your rabbit. But what you are describing is likely the “night feces” or cecotrophs. These are very different from the hard, dry, round, fully formed feces that you see during the day.

Night feces are produced mostly at night (hence the name) and are covered in mucus. They are soft and filled with nutrients and bacteria. Typically, as these feces are produced, the rabbit turns around and ingests them as they leave the anal area. When rabbits cannot ingest the feces, the feces are then found by owners, either stuck to the fur on the rabbit or in the litter box or on the carpeting.

The important question is, why are you seeing this? Your rabbit should be ingesting them. Rabbits that do not ingest their night feces might fail to do so because they are too sick to turn around and ingest the feces or they have arthritis and it hurts too much to turn around.

True diarrhea is rare in older rabbits and usually is an emergency.

My suggestion is to visit your veterinarian to determine why your rabbit is not eating its night feces.

See all of Dr. Rosenthal's Critter Q&A articles>>

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Rabbit With Strange Feces

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Reader Comments
My Rabbit has sloshed togother pellets. He's very young, and i think he has diarrhea
Tricia, St. Louis, MO
Posted: 4/12/2011 6:16:48 PM
I think a sample should be taken to Vet with rabbit. String of pearls could be too little hay/water/brushing or excess cecals could be dietary like too many treats/fruit/greens. I would want a quick diagnosis as quick results could be obtained.
Anne, St Louis, MO
Posted: 11/11/2010 4:24:59 AM
Thank you it's good to know.
Hedy, Los Angeles, CA
Posted: 10/27/2010 10:07:15 AM
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