FURBALL, OR THE UNCLOGGING OF LEPIDUS - Nikki White
Regular readers of these printed leaves will know that Lepidus, a b/w Cashmere Lop, is a furball. However, just recently he almost fell victim to one. He had had two very heavy moults in succession and seemed to be embarking on a third. In addition, during the very hot weather we have had (until the abrupt drop into winter. Pity, I was rather fond of autumn) he wasn't as active as he might be, preferring to lie around stretched out on top of his sleeping box. One in the cooler weather Friday I went to feed him and found him lying quietly in his hutch. Most unlike him as he bounds out immediately from wherever he might be lurking at the mere prospect of food. The next morning I noticed he hadn't eaten or drunk anything so I hauled him out and checked eyes, nose, teeth and rear end. Nothing wrong there. I then felt his stomach and found it rather full even allowing for the fact that as a desexed buck he is rather a lump. So, off to the vet, the Canberra Veterinary Hospital near the Yowani Golf Club at Lyneham, about as far from Wanniassa as you can get but they do know rabbits and cavies. They are my first stop for my guinea pigs after having tried the local vet. Yes, it looked like Lepidus had a furball gumming up his works.
The vet gave me Catlax, a laxative for cats made of flavoured white paraffin to dose him orally twice a day with a syringe. He accepted the first dose without any problem and licked his chops. He also accepted the second dose but was very difficult about the third. I also gave him pineapple juice as it dissolves fur mats in the stomach (I have since been told that fresh pineapple juice is best, rather than tinned). I thought I might have to take him back as he still hadn't eaten or passed anything by Sunday afternoon and still had some Catlax on his brisket. Normally he is very particular. However, I checked him once more before going to bed and found he had eaten his food, drunk some water, cleaned up his fur and deposited a quantity of pellets. For the next few days I gave him handfuls of dried lucerne hay and fresh cat grass to continue to help clear his innards. He is now very lively and is back to inhaling his food almost before I've finished serving it.
Apart from heavy moults, furballs or blockages can be caused by lack of exercise and the food just sits in the stomach and can get impacted. This can happen if it is too hot for them to run around as they usually do. To prevent this they need regular feeds of roughage (meadow hay, lucerne but only a handful, fresh vegetables like carrots, grass). So it's a good idea to keep an eye on the bunny, especially if it's a longhair, in summer or in moult to make sure pellets are being produced. If they are not or the amount is rather small, they could have a blockage. Laxatives (herbal or otherwise) intended for cats and/or fresh pineapple juice should be given.