We have a veterinarian who is a firm believer in holistic medicine for rabbits. He loves bunnies and he is always encouraging his patients to improve the overall health of their pets, rather than simply treating the most immediate symptoms. One of the things our vet always brings up, no matter what sort of ailment or condition we are talking about, is improving the health of a rabbit’s digestive system by adding more good bacterial flora. We have tried doing this and until recently we’ve not been very successful.
The first product the doctor recommended is Florentero paste. It comes in a tube, and I’m not quite sure how they recommend getting it down a rabbit’s throat, but our big voracious rex who eats pretty darn everything would not eat the stuff. Even when we tried mixing it with pumpkin baby food or mashed bananas, she just thumped and hopped away.
After that failure, we tried Florentero tablets. These are the size of products that you would probably feed a horse, and — especially since Priscilla doesn’t have any incisors — we had to break off small portions and pulverize them in a mortar and pestle before trying to feed her. Again — no way. Whatever is in them, it’s a flavor our bunnies just won’t eat.
Imagine our delight recently when, perusing the array of rabbit food on the shelves of our local Tisol shop, I found a cylinder of American Pet Diet probiotic pellets. They go under the brand name “Critter Be Better” or CBB, and they’re a bit on the pricey side, but after all they are only supposed to be probiotic supplements for rabbits and not something you feel them a lot of every day.
We usually mix a teaspoon of them with the 1/8 cup of Oxbow Bunny Basics with Timothy she gets every other day. The good news is that she and her partner, Ryan, love the flavor. They are as crazy for them as they are for their pellets. I think if we gave Priscilla all the pellets she wanted, she’d explode like the fat guy in the Monty Python sketch. But don’t worry. We are pretty strict about limiting our big girl to only 1/4 cup per day.
Obviously it’s too early to tell whether these new probiotic pellets are actually improving their intestinal flora, but that is what they are intended to do. My wife has recently been reading about the benefits of probiotics for humans, and she’s convinced that a lot of health conditions from irritable bowel syndrome to allergies can improve by taking acidophilus, eating lots of yogurt and generally encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. So I am pretty confident our dear bunnies are going to have to make fewer trips to their vet now that we’ve finally figured out a way to get probiotics for rabbits into their little tummies.
I’m not sure how widely available the American Pet Diner CBB probiotic pellets are at various pet shops, but you can now get them online from Amazon. Here is a link if you’d like to give them a try.