Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pumpkin "Soup" for Woolly Rabbits And Their Mates

Woolly and long-coated rabbits are not the only ones that parents need to keep an eye on for wool block. Often, it is their mate that gets a bit stopped up with wool block. Fatty, my Jersey Woolly, NEVER has any issues with fibers in his tummy. But he never grooms himself. Meany and Minnie groom him and themselves. They end up having long "strings of pearls" type of fecal pellets. These are pellets of poops that are attached to each other by strings of rabbit fur.
Minnie is not a woolly breed, but she sheds a lot. Meany is my little Lionhead evil princess and she is OBSESSIVE about grooming and, unfortunately, barbers the other two. What is barbering? Just what it implies. She chews off the fur of the other two rabbits.
Recently, if you read the blog, she had a bout of wool block. Her fecals were ROCK hard, like the stones you find in  bags of beans, misshapen,  tiny, and attached to wool. She was listless and not all that interested in her food, though she would pick at it a little. Well, picking is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. A rabbit should have a very enthusiastic approach to their fresh veg and hay and she did not. Her tum was a bit on the hard side, like a tiny little drum.
For several days, I dosed her with Metacam and Little Tummies (simethicone anti-gas drops for infants) and one of the things I did was give her "soup" every few hours. "Soup" contains extra virgin olive oil, but you could also use coconut oil. Now we are talking about organic, beneficial oils to lubricate the gut, absorb into the wool blockage to get it moving.  DO NOT EVER USE MINERAL OIL.
I have been serving this a few times a week to lubricate their guts to prevent wool block.
Here is my recipe for "Soup":

  • One teaspoon pumpkin puree, NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING, but just the plain canned pumpkin puree, organic is best, but not necessary (baby food squash can used in a pinch, but pumpkin is best)
  • One teaspoon food grade or pharmacy grade oil, preferably extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil, or canola
  • Boiling water, added by the spoonful, very little at  a time, mixing the whole thing until it is the consistency of a cream soup, dripping off the spoon but still coating it a bit. The soup should be very warm. Test it by putting a bit on the inside of your wrist, just like you would milk in a baby bottle. Allow to cool as needed. Soup should be served warm!And it will perfume the air from the warming pumpkin pulp. 
  • This should make enough soup for three bunnies to share in a small bowl of shallow plate. 
  • IF they won't eat it, and that is unlikely because all rabbits LOVE pumpkin, then add a drop or two of pineapple juice. 
  • Soup should be given once a week, followed by a full tummy massage. Just rub your hands up and down their flanks, rub their tummies in a circle, gently tug on their tails out, side to side and up for about five times, GENTLY, like you would their ears. 
  • This would be a good time to brush brush brush them. 
  • During molting, such as in spring when it warms a bit (be vigilant, bunnies shed and molt at different times of the year, especially woolly breeds) brush every day and give soup twice a week.
  • Keep an eye on their poops! If poops start getting smaller, harder, misshapen or they have lots of stringed pearls, be sure to give soup once a day til you see an improvement
  • Keep their little vents (butt holes) lubricated with olive oil if they are suffering wool block. You don't want discomfort of fissures, even microscopic ones! Just apply with a cotton tipped applicator. 

********OILS TO AVOID AT ALL COST!!!!!!!!!**************
mineral oil (ok to use topically, such as for cleaning scent glands, but NOT FOR CONSUMPTION)
avocado oil - avocados are BAD BAD BAD FOR RABBITS AND SOME EXOTIC BIRDS!!!!

Of course, remember nothing replaces veterinary care if you suspect wool block! Your baby might need sub-q fluids and pain meds. If you suspect wool block, KEEP BUNNY WARM if their ears are cold!!!!

Join an egroup or forum online about rabbit health and behavior (again, this is NOT to replace a vet!) such as Etherbun on Yahoo Groups (see my side panel for link). You will find a wealth of information in their archives and will able to access experienced rabbit parents and their knowledge.


  1. This is a great article, Brandi. There is a bunny at the shelter that I want to check more closely now.

  2. Great post Brandi well done and thank you for sharing,lucky that I have never had this with my previous buns.xx Rachel

  3. That's lots of very useful information.

  4. All this Bunny Chat makes me want to shit pellets and hump something furry.

    1. Then it has been a success!

    2. Thank you two for my morning laugh. How do you think of these things, Brand?