As a rabbit keeper, poop can tell you a lot about the health of your rabbit. The creatures poop a lot, making it easy to monitor any changes in the digestive system. As a first-time rabbit owner, you should constantly check the poop to track any illnesses.
The essential things to look out for include the sight, shape, smell, and consistency of your rabbit droppings. Knowing the differences between normal and abnormal poop is critical for the health of your pet.
What’s Normal Rabbit Poop?
Rabbits have two types of normal droppings; dry, round fecal pellets and softer cecotropes. What is the difference between the two?
These droppings are usually round in shape and small, the size of a chickpea. When you find them on the litter box, they are typically odorless and dry.
These round balls crumble relatively easily when you squeeze them, and you can see undigested plant fiber. Normal poop should not be squishy on the inside.
The size and color should be uniform, but it differs between rabbits. Once you notice a stark difference in the size of the pellets, it’s advisable to schedule a visit with the vet. The shape is mostly consistent and could change during the fur shedding season.
With rabbit poop, the normal color can range from medium green, light brown, dark brown to near black. The most critical thing here is consistency; therefore, you should check that your rabbit droppings have a uniform color.
Furthermore, the droppings don’t have any strong smell. If you notice any strong smell on the litter box that comes from the urine
Cecotropes are normal rabbit droppings. Produced in the rabbit’s cecum, they are little balls of dark fecal matter that stick together like a cluster of grapes. But, unlike the other fecal pellets, they are squishy, soft, and sticky.
These dropping are nutrient-packed, which is why rabbits feed on them. You may never see these droppings on the litter box because your rabbit will eat them as soon as they come out of their anus. However, if you spot any cecotropes lying around, the chances are that they are abnormal, and you need to look at your rabbit’s diet.
Due to the nutrient content, rabbits that don’t eat cecotropes can eventually get malnourished. Cecotrope production can happen either at night or in the morning.
In terms of size, normal cecotropes are one to two inches long and cluster together. They are dark brown and tend to be shiny due to the layer of mucus covering them. Cectropes have a pungent smell which becomes prominent when the mucus membrane bursts.
What’s Abnormal Rabbit Poop?
Now that we have identified how normal rabbit droppings appear and smell, how can you detect abnormalities?
Rabbits have very delicate and sensitive digestive systems. That’s why abnormal poops are the first sign if you want to know whether something is wrong with your pet.
Here are some of the symptoms.
1. Smaller Poop Than Usual
Smaller rabbit droppings could be a sign that something is amiss. For example, your pet could be experiencing stress either from the environment around or a digestive issue. If the pellets remain small for a long while, it could signify intestinal problems or chronic pain, which require attention from a vet.
If there is a mixture of small and large pellets, it’s likely your rabbit is not getting enough food. In addition, issues such as ear infections and dental problems could affect eating habits and lead to loss of appetite. Once the feeding returns to normal, the size of the poop pellets normalizes.
2. Mucus in Rabbit Poop
Spotting mucus on your rabbit is very easy. The slimy matter could completely cover the pellets or clamp up in between the single round balls. The mucus production mostly occurs when the gut bacteria is out of balance.
Mucus could also be a sign of parasite infection, such as tapeworms. If your rabbit is recovering from gastrointestinal disorders, there is a higher chance that they will have mucus on their droppings. When scheduling a visit to the vet, make sure you carry a sample of the poop.
3. Poop Strung Together
Long-haired breed of rabbits ingests a lot of hair during the molting season. Because of this, you might notice that the droppings appear more strung together by fur-like pearls. However, if the size, color, and spacing of the poop is uniform, there’s probably nothing to worry about.
However, if the incidences increase, you need to groom the rabbit more to reduce the amount of hair ingested. Also, brush the rabbit more often to protect it from hair blockage.
4. Diarrhea or Cecal Dysbiosis
Cecal dysbiosis is unformed cecotropes and gets excreted as mushy piles of dark poop. Because of their abnormality, rabbits will not eat these excretions, which results in a smelly mess. They are often confused with diarrhea but will have a toothpaste-like texture and some form. Cecal dysbiosis results from a high sugar diet, low fiber, urinary tract and respiratory infections, and obesity.
On the other hand, diarrhea is uncommon but could occur if a parasite has infected your rabbit. It’s common in young rabbits because they lack antibodies to protect their gut health from infections. Once your rabbit gets diarrhea, it’s critical to see a doctor right away.
Rabbit poop is essential in monitoring the health of your rabbit. Due to the rabbits’ gut sensitivity, it becomes easier to notice the first visible signs of an infection.
As a rabbit owner, you also need to know the differences between normal and abnormal droppings. This information allows you to decide your rabbit’s diet and when to seek treatment from a vet.