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Gastric dilation and intestinal obstruction in 76 rabbits
  1. F. M. Harcourt-Brown, BVSc, FRCVS1
  1. 1 30 Crab Lane, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 3BE


Eighty-four incidents of gastric dilation (bloat) were investigated in 76 pet rabbits, and an intestinal obstruction was confirmed in 64 of them. In 49 the obstruction was due to pellets of compressed hair, in four to locust bean seeds, in five to neoplasia, in two to postspay adhesions, and in one case each to carpet fibre, tapeworm cysts, a strangulated hernia and diverticulosis. In all but four cases, the obstruction was in the small intestine. The condition affected a variety of breeds fed on a variety of diets. Radiography was a useful diagnostic tool because gas and/or fluid in the digestive tract outlined the dilated stomach and intestines. Twenty-nine of the rabbits died or were euthanased without treatment, and 40 underwent exploratory surgery; of these, 10 died during surgery, three were euthanased because of intestinal neoplasia, eight died postoperatively and 19 recovered. Fifteen rabbits in which radiography indicated that a foreign body had passed out of the small intestine did not undergo surgery; of these, 13 recovered and two died.

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