Listen To Their Tummies

Did you know that you should almost always be able to hear the gentle gurgling sounds going on inside your rabbit’s tummy? This is an important way to know what is going on inside your rabbit’s gut. I recommend that you learn the good from the bad sounds.

Put your ear on the side of your bunny’s tummy and listen closely. You should hear the gentle gurgling of the food and the gas being produced in his gut slowly passing through his system. I believe that you should do this often and familiarize yourself with this healthy sound.

The sounds you do not want to hear are no gurgling at all (stasis) or big popping noises (gas). I recommend that a rabbit lover learn to distinguish these sounds. It can be an invaluable tool to quickly tell what is ailing your bunny, if he suddenly stops eating.

Of course, there are many other reasons that they can stop eating, such at illness or teeth problems, etc., but if you have a rabbit who is prone to digestive issues, this is a great way to help figure out if a vet visit is in order, right away.

Rabbits produce gas all the time, since they are fermenters. Any of you who have ever made homebrew beer know that the process creates a huge amount of gas. The same is true for the rabbits’ digestive system when they process their food.

Normally, this is not a problem and it all simply passes on through. The problem is when it does not pass right out and causes a painful balloon like condition. We humans know the pain that a small amount of gas can cause in our stomachs. Rabbits can experience discomfort if there is any kind of slowdown in the movement of this gas from inside their bodies.

Some foods and situations, such as being stressed cause extra gas that they can have difficulty getting out. It will often cause them to immediately stop eating, which is usually our first indication that they are experiencing the pain or discomfort.

All good bunny parents always have baby gas drops (liquid simethicone) on hand at all times. If you hear a lot of loud popping sounds, instead of the usual gentle gurgling sounds then maybe it is time for a few doses of the baby gas drops. This is usually the first treatment I will give a bunny with an upset stomach.

They make it slightly sweet so it is palatable for babies, so most bunnies will not hate the taste, still it is somewhat of a challenge to give to most rabbits. You should learn how to give medications to your bunny, since no rabbit likes it and there will most likely come a time when it will become necessary. Liquid medication should be given with a syringe or dropper by angling the syringe at a 45 degree angle to his nose. You enter right behind his large from teeth and in front of his rear molars in the space where there is no teeth.

Be careful to not drown your rabbit by injecting it all at once down his throat and go slowly to give him a chance to swallow it drop by drop. Once mine get the taste, they will sometimes lap it up if they are not too sick. Really sick bunnies will not want to eat anything at all and must be forced to take their medicines. Still, proceed with caution.

I give one full dropper full (which is about a full .cc or .ml) to the bunny every half hour until he/she has had three or four doses. Then I proceed with another dose every four to six hours. I very very rarely get to the point where I am giving those doses four to six hours later. It works pretty fast, if that is the true problem.

If your rabbit is still needing medication four to six hours later, you really should not be delaying getting him to the rabbit specialist vet any longer. You are wasting precious time by trying to treat a sick bunny on your own. A lot of people do this because they do all they can to avoid those expensive vet bills, but often delaying going to the vet just makes things a lot worse.

I truly do not recommend trying self treatment for more than an hour or two because unless you are almost certain that you are simply dealing with a mild intestinal issue, you could be wasting precious time for your bunny. Most rabbit lovers do not have the experience to deal with intestinal issues in their rabbit.

Most of the time these gas drops are just buying you precious time until you can get your bunny to the vet for some real treatment. They are by no means a substitute for vet care during GI stasis or bloat conditions. Those conditions require a much more serious medical regimen or your rabbit will most certainly die. Please do not underestimate the necessity for taking your rabbit right away to his vet specialist when he stops eating or pooping.

10 thoughts on “Listen To Their Tummies

    • You should get used to feeling your rabbits tummy. Their gut behind their ribs and in front of their pelvis should be soft and doughy feeling. If you gently squeeze them there, it should give and sink in slightly. It is good to practice this and get used to the correct feeling when your bunny is healthy. When they have gas or bloat, it was be very painful for them if you squeeze them, even a little. Their tummies blow up like a balloon from the gas inside. This is a very sad and extremely dangerous problem. Most often, they do not survive this, so you do not ever want your bunny to experience this. For this reason, we are always watching our bunnies closely for signs of pain or discomfort. If a bunny refuses food, it may be a sign that he is not feeling well. Get used to your bunny’s habits and routines. If he usually gets his salad at noon and suddenly he does not want his salad, there is a very good chance he is sick. It could be many things, but getting a sick bunny to a rabbit vet quickly is always the key. This is why we need to have a rabbit vet on call at all times. If you have not yet found a vet for your rabbit (not a dog or cat vet), then what are you waiting for? We need to do this BEFORE our bunny gets sick, so that we are wasting precious time when we need one looking around to find him.

  1. hello, my rabbit is not eating or drinking, seems to have lost weight but has a very bloated belly plus has the popping sounds. yesturday we noticed blood coming from the rear end could this be through gas as well. she is a lion head less than a year old ive had her 2-3 weeks.

      • My rabbit has had very loud noises coming from his stomach but I can’t tell if it is more of a popping or a gurgle, it kind of sounds like both are happening. He is eating and drinking fine as well as pooping but yesterday at some point in the day he had diarrhea. He has been pooping regularly today but the gurgling/popping is very loud. Should I be concerned?

        • If a bunny leaves cecotropes every day, then you may want to adjust his diet or take him to the vet. If it happens only once in a while (like once a week), then it is probably not something to worry about. The key is eating and drinking like normal. That means the bunny is feeling OK. They tend to not eat or drink when they don’t feel well.

  2. I have a 7 year old mini lop and he’s been getting really loud gurgling noises in his stomach. He still eats and drinks when he feels like it. He’s very picky and stubborn so it’s hard to tell if his eating habits have changed. I gave him gas relief liquid but he is still having very loud gurgling noises. His stomach is not bloated so I’m thinking it’s just gas.

    • Rabbits are fermenters and they SHOULD always have gurgling noises in their tummies. A lack of that bubbling brook sound is a sign of stasis and is bad. There should not be loud popping noises, that is the sound of gas. Gentle gurgling is good and you should get used to what that sounds like so that you can simply and quickly diagnose a stasis condition.

  3. Hi !

    You say gurgling is normal … My housebunny’s tummy gurgles really loudly after eating, especially after his veggie breakfast.
    This is on a daily basis it’s very easy to hear if there’s no background noise.
    I know it’s gas but I don’t know if it’s normal gas or painful gas. He looks fine while he’s gurgling. No teeth grinding, still accepts food very enthusiastically but it is kind of a popping sound.
    So I’m not sure if I’m supposed to do anything, might he simply have a loud digestion and it be normal ? Again, this happens everyday. Thanks.

    • Rabbit digestion is very loud and the gurgling is normal. It is the big popping sounds that indicate gas. There is a difference. This is why I recommend listening to them when your rabbit is feeling normally.

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