Can rabbits get hiccups? What may sound like a trivial question is important for assessing your pet’s health.
This is because a supposed hiccup is not always a harmless phenomenon. In some cases, serious medical problems may also be responsible.
In this article, we’ll tell you how to recognize hiccups in rabbits, when they become a problem, and how to take specific preventative measures.
Rabbits and hiccups – Cause
Yes, rabbits can hiccup.
This occurs when the animals eat very hastily, ingesting not only food but also air.
Since they cannot burp or vomit, the air is trapped in the stomach. This triggers spasms of the diaphragm. A similar problem can occur when drinking.
These spasms or convulsions cause the diaphragm and stomach to move upward.
In rabbits, it acts like a combination of twitching and nodding. The frequency can be very high, making the hiccups rapid and disconcerting.
This means that if you’ve never seen a rabbit with hiccups before, you might initially fear a serious health problem. This is because the speed of the hiccups can also make them resemble a seizure.
Prevent hiccups in rabbits
Hiccups caused by fast eating or drinking are harmless, but still unpleasant for your rabbits. To prevent it from happening again and again, you can take appropriate precautions.
These simple changes will do the trick:
Offer multiple water sources: There should be a water bottle for each animal. In addition, you can also place a bowl of water, because some rabbits prefer to drink from it. Provide different bowls: To prevent rabbits from eating hastily, each animal should have its own bowl for fresh food. This way there are no fights about the food and each quadruped can eat in peace. If necessary, you can also separate the rabbits a little spatially and thus provide for more relaxation. Feeding games and hidden treats are another way to extend the feeding time.
Feed more often: When the rabbits are really starved, this does not only lead to fast eating. Since they have what is called a stuffed stomach, they need to eat numerous small meals throughout the day. If this is not possible, they fill their stomachs too quickly and then hiccup. Hay should be available throughout the day. You can also offer branches and greens for longer periods. Fruits and vegetables should be offered at least twice a day. In the summer, however, only in a small measure, so that the food does not spoil or insects are attracted to it.
Also, pay attention to whether there are any conflicts among your rabbits.
For example, if one animal is dominant, it may prevent others from approaching the food, causing hasty eating and other problems.
In this case, spatial separation during feeding and placing multiple food bowls is more than advised.
How long does the hiccup last in rabbits?
Similar to humans, dogs and cats, hiccups in rabbits usually last only a few minutes. So, it can be observed only immediately after eating or drinking.
This makes controls of the problem easier for you.
So observe whether your animals pounce on food and water and nod their heads conspicuously afterwards, or whether the hiccups seem to come out of nowhere. Because that can be an important clue in distinguishing between the two.
When hiccups are dangerous
In addition to the harmless variant of hiccups caused by eating or drinking too quickly, they can also be an indication of serious illness.
The digestive system or the respiratory system can be affected. Also incompatibilities are a possibility.
the hiccups do not occur immediately after eating
the duration is clearly longer than a few minutes rabbits do not find peace as a result
So if your rabbit’s hiccups last for several hours or even days, it’s time to visit the vet.
If necessary, it may be sufficient to abstain from certain foods.
In other cases, however, medication or even surgery may be necessary. Observe your animals as much as possible before going to the vet to detect any other signs of illness that may exist.
These may include:
- shortness of breath hard, bulging abdomen
- tearing of the mouth
- conspicuously frequent stretching
- changes in feces sensitivity to touch
Why do young and anxious rabbits hiccup more often?
Simple answer: because they are (still) insecure about eating.
For example, they may eat extra fast out of fear that their food will be taken away.
The speed is also higher when they are insecure towards their conspecifics. Each animal then tries to secure its share. Only with growing confidence and higher security the eating regulates itself. Because the animals learn naturally with the time that they do not have to suffer hunger with you.
Besides pure speed, the tendency to hiccup is also due to the choice of food.
Young and anxious animals will primarily choose food that can be eaten quickly.
If you offer grain food or pellets, they are more likely to eat these varieties than vegetables, fruits and hay or greens. This is not balanced and healthy in the long run. You should therefore use the high-calorie food very sparingly and better feed several meals.
Of course, hay and other dry food should always be available as a reserve. This is not only useful because of the stuffing stomach, but also for the accustoming to the food and a normal eating speed.
Does the hiccup of rabbits make a sound?
When hiccups occur, rabbits make a “hiccup” sound just like we humans do.
However, it is much quieter. Often, therefore, it is barely audible.
Hiccups can be better recognized by the typical movements that the animals make. The head repeatedly jerks upwards and falls back.
What role does the food play in the hiccups?
A balanced and healthy diet contains numerous components that require prolonged chewing: Hay, high-fiber vegetables and fruits, twigs, bark and greens must be properly chewed before swallowing.
Small grains and pellets can be swallowed more quickly.
The longer the animal chews, the less risk there is for excessive swallowing of air and thus hiccups. So one of the ways you can help determine how high the risk of diaphragm spasms is is through the food plan.
This is also possible and necessary in other ways. For example, if you feed a new vegetable or fruit and suddenly notice hiccups in your pet, you should just give it another try to see if the new food is tolerated.
Even if your rabbits like it, they may still be intolerant.
It is also possible that the hiccups with new food are only due to the fact that it is very popular and therefore eaten more quickly. Therefore, try a small amount first and feed it from your hand if possible.
Always remember that a short hiccup is harmless and quite cute. If it lasts longer, is accompanied by other problems or occurs repeatedly, however, there is a need for action.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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