I’m always cautious about which food to give to my son. Whether it is nutritious or contains bad chemical substances, things like that. Having a pet I think it’s similar to those feelings. Because we love our pets, we always want the best for them. Including, or I must say especially, the foods. While fermented foods proved bring out healthy benefits among us, how about rabbits? Shockingly, there are 2 dangerous effects of fermented food for rabbits.
Let’s talk about fermented foods for a while. Fermentation itself is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria or yeast. The good thing about fermented foods is that they help our body to produce more good bacteria. These good bacteria are usually very useful in helping our digestion problems, even though some people report the stomach upset because of these kind of foods. How about rabbits? Are fermented foods really helpful in rabbits?
Rabbit’s Digestive System
Before we move on about 2 dangerous effect of fermented for rabbits, we can learn how digestive system of rabbit works. First of all, plants, the only food that rabbits eat, contains a digestible and indigestible fiber. Rabbits grind these plants using their incisors and pass them into their stomach. These plants later break down into smaller particles in rabbits’ body.
These small particles then go into small intestines which absorb the nutrients from those particles, then the rest of them go into the colon or large intestines. Here, the digestible fiber and indigestible fiber become separated each other. The smaller digestible fiber will be go to the cecum, a blind-ending sac that contains very specific bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms. They ferment them into amino acids, fatty acids, and certain vitamins that is nutritious for your rabbits.
While some of the nutrients produced in the cecum are absorbed through the cecal walls, the other go into the colon and pass on as a cecotropes, nutrient-rich feces. Don’t get surprised or worried when you see your rabbits eat their own poo, because they only eat these nutrient-rich feces that is very useful for them. How about the indigestible fiber we talked earlier. To put it in short, they go into the colon, where the water in it being absorbed, then go out as useless feces. But, they do help motility in gastrointestinal tract of rabbits, so they’re not totally useless.
Besides, usually feces can be a sign whether your rabbits are healthy or not. So, whenever you want to adopt new rabbit, you can check first whether he/she is healthy or not. There are Guide to Buy a Healthy Rabbit for New Owner also, that’s how you avoid troubles in the future.
Fermented Foods : Dangerous or Not?
People always say that fermented foods are good for you, since they contain a good bacteria that can help your stomach digests your food easier. Then, how about rabbits? Are they good for them.
We all, rabbits lovers, know that rabbits have sensitive digestive system. Even minor changes in their foods will lead into digestive problems. So, we really need to oversee about each kind of food that we will give to rabbits.
To be perfectly honest, there is no study whatsoever that tell me fermented foods really that dangerous. Some of them even say that it can be good for rabbits. However, even the brightest space has their own dark side, so are fermented foods. So, they can cause sickness in rabbits, too. And, as the owner, you gotta pay attention to your pets. Even pets that are as small as hamster, you need to know the common symptom of their sickness.
Back to the topic, here are 2 dangerous effects of fermented food for your rabbits.
While many studies has proved that fermented foods are good for our body, we cannot say the same things about our sensitive fellows. Unlike us, rabbits have a limited option to let out the gas produced in their body. As I said in my articles earlier, rabbits can’t vomit. So, their stomach will get easily filled with gas.
This is the fermented foods, as healthy as it is, still can go wrong. Fermentation produces bacteria, they’re good for digesting the foods in rabbits’ body as well. But, this bacteria releases gas, too. Since fermentation releases many bacteria, of course the gas will be accumulated. And this is very dangerous for rabbits because not only they can’t vomit to release the gas from their body, their stomach skin also isn’t flexible enough to accommodate them. So, it causes bloating.
To avoid the worst case of this bloating, you need to observe carefully from the very first time your rabbits show the change in behavior. As their owner, you need to know rabbit sign language, so you will notice anything that happen to them.
Once your rabbits has come to this stage, their life can be at stake. Of course, if you get them instantly to the veterinarian, they will help you to relieve the bloating. More often, they will suggest a surgery for your rabbits to reduce the obstruction. As dangerous as it is, you cannot act alone in treating this bloating.
There are good bacteria and bad bacteria. Good bacteria usually help to decompose your food and thus help your body to absorb the nutrients from the foods, too. Bad bacteria, in the other hand, they will infect your body, and if your body endurance isn’t in a good condition, you may get sick.
But, even though good bacteria is good for your health, and your rabbits’ health also, there’s no such a benefit having too much bacteria in your body. As well as in your rabbits’ body. That is another reason why fermented foods can be useless, or even dangerous for your rabbits.
The digestive system of your rabbits already produce some good bacteria that helpful for their health. What’s the use to add some more fermented foods? Too much microorganism in your rabbits’ body will only lead into diarrhea. And we know how diarrhea can risk your rabbits’ life. Especially, if this condition decreases your rabbit’s appetite. Soon, their body will lose energy and everything can get worse.
Besides the possibility of too much microorganism in your rabbits’ body, there are another reason why diarrhea happens to your rabbits. Which is, sudden change in feeding. Rabbits are monogastrics, which means single-stomached and rely on hind gut bacteria in the cecum. If you change their diet suddenly, there will be a disruption in population balance in cecum. This might lead into diarrhea. So, if you must try the fermented foods, for whatever reason, you need to do it gradually and slowly while you observe the effect of these foods.
If your rabbits get diarrhea, the first thing you do is to put aside all other kinds of foods, and let your rabbits eat hay only. Hay contains a high fiber that can increase the intestinal motility of your rabbits. Here another unique thing about rabbit, while human and other animals get diarrhea because of the increase in intestinal motility, rabbits is on the other way around. However, the most common sign is still the same, make them lose weight, even dog (which, by the way, you can learn about the treatment to gain weight for dog here).
In our world, as a human, fermented foods kinda hit the health trend, that’s why many people try them to get a healthy body through the natural ways. On the other hand, rabbits’ stomach might not have the same endurance as our stomach. They’re really sensitive animals, so we better stick to one food that’s already proven safe for them. You better never change the foods that’s already good for your rabbits, except there’s a suggestion from your veterinarian.
The conclusion is, I don’t think you need to risk your rabbits’ life for this fermented foods. The simple hay already does a good job, right?