Re: low calcium veg for bladder stone bunny


Hey Julie! 

Haha! Getting them to take their metcam is certainly a workout for both bunny and companion! And then they decide they actually love it and want more!  We had the worst time getting our holland lop, Eleanor, to accept the "forced feedies" (critical care) when she had her stasis, so I know the frustration!

It seems like you've put Tokki in the best position to get the exercise and hydration he needs, so perhaps what you've been doing with the juice and maybe finding a way to get him running around a little more (maybe a treat ball to chase around or a castle to climb in?) would help. We have two floors and they get fed on both, so I think that encourages some exercise. I'm sure lots of bunny companions online have done their own research on what gets their buns moving and have tips.  

Two dishes should certainly be giving him lots of opportunity to drink so serving veggies soaking and adding juice (would carrot or another juice perhaps be lower sugar while still enticing him?) is about all you can do. Might be worth keeping track of how much you put out and roughly how much they drink for the vet. It can vary quite a bit by bunny. Our flemmie mix used to drink an insane amount of water when he was rehomed and it was definitely worrisome. He still drinks quite a bit and hasn't had any issues but I think there can be a behavioral component to water intake too because the vet said it might be nervous drinking due to lack of regular access to water as a baby or general anxiety. 

I'm so sorry to hear about your year of bunny problems! What a year all around, eh? Well when there's just one insurance option that covers bunnies in the first place, it doesn't really create a lot of competition!  I'm just working under the premise that the best bunny insurance is a good diet and good company, despite knowing plenty of bunnies with issues despite their companions doing everything right. I have to ease the anxiety of my vet saying "well I hope this doesn't offend you but it seems like you picked up some real lemons" after meeting our second bun, somehow! 


On Dec 22, 2020 at 8:23 PM, <J Glover> wrote:

Hi Emma.

Thank you for your insights / info.   Tokki is probably more on the chilled side.  He is free range, but he does spend a lot of time sitting in various beloved boxes.  He prob got more exercise lately because I’ve been chasing him around to give him metacam.  ha ha.  He has two water dishes, but I don’t think he drinks a ton… I rarely see either him or his bunwife drinking, but the level goes down, and they are both peeing.  I put a little apple juice into the water to encourage drinking more, as I read that several places.

This has been the year for bunny problems.. I feel like I’m keeping the local specialist vet economy afloat.  :)  I miss my years in the UK as pet insurance was waaaaayyyy better there for rabbits.  here it doesn’t seem worth having.


On 22 Dec 2020, at 18:37, Emprins <emprins@...> wrote:

Hey Julie!

It's my understanding that bladder sludge is now considered to be an issue of exercise and water intake.  The current thinking is that calcium gets shaken up in the bladder through exercise and that this allows it to dissolve and be excreted without an issue. Stones are created out of those deposits that aren't dissolved and excreted. This is also seen as the reason older bunnies are much more prone to sludge- they often move around much less than their younger counterparts. 

Is your buddy a lazy boy or a spastic zoom bunny? Has he been getting the space he needs to get his exercise in?  How does he get his water (bowl or bottle?) and how much water does he drink? Making sure veggies are soaking wet when you serve them is a great way to increase water uptake and help him excrete more calcium. Bonus: our buns always have to groom in the middle of eating to keep their mouths from getting too wet! Adorable!

This is still just the current theory so take it with a grain of salt. They've had a hard time pinning down the cause of bladder sludge, although I will say that a lot of bunny people have said that cutting back on calcium rich veggies doesn't help much. Our vet suggests trying to rotate out calcium rich veggies but like you said, a lot of bunny favorites are high in calcium and Vets, like doctors, are not always up to date on the newest thinking/research, so we don't worry too much about limiting calcium. We find that quality of life is much higher with a wide array of veggies, but we have young free roaming bunnies with no history of bladder sludge so your milage may vary in terms of how cautious you want to be. 

Sending my best to you and your mini rex boy! Bunny health issues can be stressful, scary, and expensive, so I hope you and your little bud have been recovering well. Your love for him is clear and I hope you can find the right lifestyle tweaks to keep him sludge-free! 

Happy Holidays!

On Dec 22, 2020 at 6:53 PM, <Kinenchen> wrote:

Accumulation of crystals in the form of sludge or stones is not usually a dietary issue, but rather a metabolic one. Has your vet prescribed something like magnesium and/or citrate to help change the pH of your bunny's urine so that the stones start to dissolve? These can be VERY effective for reducing sludge and preventing new stones forming. Bacteria can also change the pH of your bunny's urine that can contribute to the formation of sludge and stones. Did your vet check your bunny's urine for signs of infection?

Christie Taylor

On Tue, Dec 22, 2020 at 5:55 PM JG via <> wrote:

My 4 YO mini rex has bladder stones.  He had the majority of them flushed out today, and I want to do everything possible to make sure they don’t return, if I can.  I have looked around for various listings of low calcium veg, which are fairly similar, with the exception of arugula, which on some lists is low and some is high.  I am also slightly confused about oxalic acid… as some veg are low in calcium but high in oxalic acid… not sure what that means for bunny health?

A very good knowledgable bunny friend also said that there are schools of thought now that the calcium from veggies is not a huge consideration  in the likely formation of bladder stones, so there is no need to especially limit certain veg  (of course all the ones that he likes best are the high ones… kale, parsley, collard greens…. and is meh on lower ones like romaine and other lettuces, though cilantro/coriander seems to be one that he likes that is lower in calcium.

I would be grateful for any experience / current thinking / research on what or what not to feed regarding green stuff.   he gets about 1tsp of Oxbow timothy adult pellets a day, plus hay and veg  (hay with very low to no alfalfa from local farmer, as the hay I was buying… from rabbit hole hay has gone up 30%!!!)


Julie Glover

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