Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Anorexia

Contributor(s): Molly Varga, Virginia Garner-Richardson, Anna Meredith

Introduction

  • Even a short period of anorexia can lead to the development of ketosis and hepatic lipidosis. Anorexic rabbits have, or rapidly develop, gastric stasis   Gastric dilation and stasis  and intestinal ileus. The fluid in the digestive system is drawn out of the gastrointestinal tract, allowing any ingesta to dry, compact and cause a secondary obstruction. As little as 24 hours without food can have serious consequences for a rabbit.
  • Anorexia is a common clinical presentation in the rabbit. It can be a symptom of many different disease processes, and is commonly associated with any condition that may cause pain, as rabbits are very pain-sensitive. Stress, of any sort is another major contributory factor to the development of anorexia.
  • Diagnosing the cause of anorexia will require a detailed history, a full clinical examination, and often further diagnostic tests such as radiography, hematology and biochemistry, and urinalysis.
  • The rabbit is likely to need to need therapeutic support during the diagnostic process and before the diagnosis is reached.
  • The most common causes of anorexia are dental disease and gastrointestinal disorders (gastric stasis   Gastric dilation and stasis  , intestinal ileus or obstruction). Other diseases associated with pain such as urogenital disease   Cystitis  , pododermatitis   Ulcerative pododermatitis (Bumble foot)  and arthritis can also result in anorexia.
  • Any sudden diet change or lack of water for 24 hours can lead to anorexia. This is important if the rabbit is presented with water from an unfamiliar source or if the water supply freezes in the winter.

Diagnosis

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Signs

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Clinical examination

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Ancillary tests

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Treatment

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2002) Anorexia in rabbits 2. Diagnosis and treatment.  In Pract 24 (8), 450-467 VetMedResource.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2002) Anorexia in rabbits 1. Causes and effects. In Pract 24 (7), 358-367 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Lichtenberger M (2008)Gastrointestinal Emergencies in Rabbits.In: Proc 51st Annual BSAVA Congress. pp 157-159.
  • Richardson V (2000)Rabbits, Health, Husbandry and Disease.Blackwell Science Ltd. Oxford.
  • Brown S A (1997)Approach to the Anorectic Rabbit.Paper taken from the proceedings of the Waltham/OSU Symposium for the treatment of Small Animal diseases, Ohio State University, USA. pp 27-28.


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