As a pet owner of a rabbit, you would often wonder why rabbits eat their poop. They do this to re-absorb the nutrients that were not absorbed during the first pass. However, there are also times that you would wonder why your rabbit has light-colored poop. Chances are something is not right, and you end up having to deal with a situation that is out of your control that you do not know about.
In this article, you are about to learn why rabbits have light-colored droppings and what you can do when it happens.
A Rabbit’s Digestive System
Rabbits have a great digestive system. It is very efficient that it can absorb nutrients from the food that it eats. However, the rabbit’s digestive system is also very sensitive. It is easily disrupted by wrong food rations or a different diet than what the rabbit normally eats. A change in color of the droppings is the first sign that there is a disruption in the rabbit’s digestion.
There is a lot of plant-based food that you can give to your rabbit. You can feed them with asparagus, chicory, celery leaves, cucumber, watercress, pumpkin, and spring greens. Hay is typically fed to rabbits to keep them healthy. They are good for digestion and keep their teeth healthy.
What Normal Droppings Look Like
Normal healthy rabbit droppings are usually round, dark brown in color, and are clumped together. It is usually moist when they are recently expelled and dries up pretty quickly. The droppings are normally clumped together, but they break easily if you try to break them apart. What you may see with the droppings are undigested plant fiber residue and some other materials.
Normally, a rabbit poops out what is known as caecotrophs. These are clumped up droppings that look fresh and moist. A rabbit would nibble on them and swallow them to redigest the nutrients found in the caecotroph. This activity is normal for healthy rabbits.
Once the caecotroph has passed, the rabbit droppings become circular or round in the shape of pellets and are much drier than the caecotroph. You should be aware that a normal rabbit would redigest the caecotroph as fast as they can. This means that you will not be seeing much caecotrophs lying on the ground or in their hutches for a long time.
If you do not see a normal pellet-shaped dropping near their area, this is a sign that there is something wrong with the rabbit. The presence of caecotrophs all over the place means that the rabbit does not want to ingest them because it could be that something in the caecotroph is not conducive to eating.
If your rabbits stop producing droppings, it can be a life-threatening emergency for your pet rabbit, and you should immediately be calling for help. It can be that the rabbit has stopped processing their food internally, or something is stopping it from processing.
Determining The Cause
Rabbits tend to hide any signs of illness as it is their defense mechanism before they were domesticated and prevent them from being hunted down by predators in the wild. This can be a problem for many pet owners as you will need to further examine your pet’s droppings to determine what is happening.
It is highly skeptical for pet owners if the rabbit has light-colored poop scattered all over. Light-colored stools or those that have mucous in them can be caused by parasites, cecal impaction, and many other things. This usually happens when the intestinal lining becomes inflamed. However, most of these typically happen in younger rabbits than adult ones.
The most common causes of these mushy light-colored stools are either mechanical problems or dietary ones.
Obesity plays a huge role in the overall digestive process of your rabbit. Obesity happens when you provide the rabbit with a carbohydrate-heavy diet. This can easily be resolved by replacing the diet with fresh herb and hay as well as exercise to burn the calories and treat obesity.
- Wrong Diet
Rabbits are herbivores meaning they only eat plant-based food. The rabbit’s cecum and the normal flora should be able to properly digest plant-based materials introduced into the intestine. However, if you feed them with crackers, pieces of bread, or even sweets, rabbits can suffer from this that would result in light-colored poop or runny stools.
Feeding fruits to rabbits should also be minimized. The high level of sugar in fruits can be too rich for a rabbit hence causing obesity and runny light-colored mucus-filled stools. Additionally, a rabbit’s diet should always consist of grass hay as it is rich in fiber that promotes normal peristalsis or involuntary movement of the intestines to digest the food. Just like human beings, the need for natural fiber is important for a fully-functioning digestive tract.
When to Call the Vet
As a pet owner, you would normally see well-rounded droppings; however, if you do notice light-colored, mushy poop that leaves a stinky odor in the anal area of the rabbit, this should be a sign that you will have to call the veterinarian. It may be caused by an imbalance in the digestive tract’s ecosystem.
The cecum where these stools are processed has a very delicate ecosystem. It is filled with bacteria that allow the proper digestion of food. Any type of disruption would lead to an imbalance in this delicate structure that would cause mushy light-colored stool. Such factors could be parasites, yeast infection, or wrong calculations in food rations for the animal.
These light-colored poop are usually foul-smelling and would often cling into the rabbit’s anal area. While it can be a life-threatening situation, it is always best to determine the underlying cause of this condition. It is highly recommended to consult your veterinarian to check your rabbit and order a fecal sample to determine the cause of such light-colored poop
Caring For Your Rabbit
In caring for your rabbit, you should clean up after your pet. This way, you prevent flies from swarming your rabbit, which would lay their eggs on the stool and become infested or what is known as flystrike.
Rabbits can be sensitive to chemicals, so cleaning them might be a bit tricky. You can simply wash the back-end of your rabbit with water to remove any fecal matter and keep them clean. For stains, you can use diluted water and vinegar solution to remove the majority of stains and pathogens without harming your rabbit
This condition must be treated by a veterinarian that is familiar with digestive problems to determine the right treatment for your pet rabbit. It is always best to know a thing or two about your rabbit’s digestive system.
- Always check the quality of their stools.
- Watch what they eat and feed them with the right kind of food.
- For obese rabbits, exercise is key to keep them healthy.
- Consult a veterinarian who knows a lot about rabbits.
- Clean up after your sick rabbit to prevent secondary health conditions.
These health conditions can sometimes be difficult to determine due to the rabbit’s defense mechanism; however, with the right amount of care and information, you can help treat this condition in no time.