4 Things Rabbit Owners Need To Know About Bladder Stones
Bladder stones are a common problem for pet rabbits. Here are four things that rabbit owners need to know about this painful problem.
What causes bladder stones?
Bladder stones occur when mineral deposits form in the urinary tract. These mineral deposits can form for many different reasons. Here are some of the possible causes of bladder stones in rabbits.
- Not eating a well-balanced diet, such as a diet with an imbalanced ratio of calcium and phosphorus;
- A genetic pre-disposition to bladder stones;
- Infections in the urinary tract;
- Not drinking enough water, which means that minerals are more concentrated in the urine and can clump together in the bladder;
- Diseases such as metabolic disorders.
What are the signs of bladder stones?
If your rabbit has bladder stones, you may notice that they're urinating more frequently. If you've trained your rabbit to urinate in one area of their cage, you may notice that they're urinating in other areas, not just the designated area. Your rabbit may also dribble urine without realizing it.
You may also hear your rabbit crying or moaning when it urinates. Blood may be seen on your rabbit's bedding material. Calcium-rich sludge may also be present on the bedding; this sludge is greyish-white and feels like sand or chalk.
Your rabbit may lose interest in their food or toys due to their discomfort. If your rabbit seems depressed or lethargic, you should assume that they are sick and take them to a vet immediately.
How are they treated?
If your rabbit has bladder stones, they will need to have surgery to remove them. During the surgery, your vet will make an incision in the wall of the bladder, remove the stones, wash out the bladder with a sterile solution, and then sew up the bladder. Your rabbit will be given anesthesia before the procedure starts, so don't worry, they won't feel any pain. You may need to give your rabbit painkillers while they're recovering from surgery.
Can they be prevented?
Bladder stones can't always be prevented, but there are some things you can do to reduce your pet's risk. Ensuring that your rabbit eats a healthy diet of hay, specially-formulated rabbit pellets, and fresh vegetables is essential, as is ensuring that your rabbit has access to a source of fresh, clean water.
If your rabbit is genetically pre-disposed to stones, they may still develop them, even with a healthy diet. Rabbits with metabolic disorders may also develop stones, despite your best efforts to keep them healthy.
If you think your rabbit has bladder stones, take them to a vet right away.