There are reasons why rabbits are impossible to vomit. These reasons can be summed up into two main reasons: the rabbit’s physical structure and psychological sensation.
While it may be odd for a living pet like a rabbit not to vomit, it is not a hidden mystery to the animal planet. Here, we try to list the reasons why rabbits cannot vomit.
Are you ready? So, here’s the real deal.
Why Can Rabbits not Puke or Throw up?
As mentioned earlier, rabbits cannot vomit because of biological reasons. Our little bunnies have only a one-way digestive tract, a weak and thin diaphragm, and do not have a gag reflex.
Overall, their body is not designed and structured for vomiting. To learn more about the reasons, check out this ultimate guide to bunny care and keep on reading.
Rabbits Have Only a One-Way Digestive System
While other pets or animals can throw up, rabbits do not have that kind of luxury. A one-way digestive system means that anything rabbits eat will quickly move straight to their digestive tract. The digestive system of rabbits is complex that it will not allow any elimination of stomach contents.
Like horses, rabbits’ stomachs have two sphincters: at the entrance and exit of their small intestines. The entrance sphincter, also known as the cardiac sphincter, is firm. The sphincter is the muscle that keeps the rabbit from opening or vomiting.
In other words, the structure of the rabbits’ stomachs cannot expulse the food or whatever intake once the rabbit absorbs it. This structure of rabbits’ guts means that once food enters the rabbit’s mouth, it will only find its way out as feces.
To understand more about how the digestive system of rabbits works, click here.
Rabbits Have a Frail Diaphragm
Rabbits do not possess a muscular diaphragm like cats and dogs. Having a frail diaphragm means that your bunny does not have the gut and strength to vomit. Because of this, rabbits cannot upchuck whatever they have ingested.
The muscles found in the rabbit’s diaphragm are thin and weak. It is not ready to push the food absorbed by the rabbit back up.
Rabbits Do Not Have a Gag Reflex
Having no psychological sensation or gag reflex means rabbits can’t vomit. Your bunny does not know how to vomit at all. They will keep eating and eating, ignorant and unaware of the danger.
Scientifically speaking, rabbits do not possess brain circuits that will trigger vomiting or upchucking. Other animals who can throw up or vomit will usually have signals from their brain. This signal will tell them to puke should they eat anything toxins or unsettling foods.
Typically, a gag reflex is triggered when the throat and tongue of rabbits touch. Once this happens, this gag reflex will stimulate the nerve and send signals to the brain. Since rabbits have tiny tongues and throats, this cannot occur.
That is why they have no gag reflex. Rabbits do not have this kind of psychological sensation.
Why Do Rabbits Feel Like Vomiting?
On rare occasions, you may see fluids or food coming out of your bunny’s mouth. You conclude then that your little bunny is vomiting. However, this is not the actual scenario.
As said earlier, rabbits cannot vomit. There are other situations why rabbits are likely to vomit, but they are not. Here are the common reasons why your bunny rabbit feels like vomiting.
· They Have Congenital Heart Disease
Rabbits can manifest breathing problems like choking when they have congenital heart failure. It feels like they are vomiting, but the truth is your rabbit has a hard time breathing, which includes blocking.
· They Are Coughing
Rabbits mimic vomiting while the truth is they are coughing. Rabbits may have a viral infection, and they feel unwell. They may be suffering from common respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and snuffles. Coughing and sneezing are the usual symptoms of these illnesses.
If you notice any signs such as runny nose, drooling, and lethargy along with coughing and sneezing, it is recommended to visit the nearest vet as soon as possible.
· They Are Choking
Usually, you will find your bunny choking while eating its pellets. If your bunny is trying to eat its food too quickly, it will probably choke.
On the other hand, choking happens when some speck of dust is found in the pellets. Once your bunny sneezes the dust while eating its pellets, this will cause them to choke.
Another reason is when something is stuck in your bunny’s throat. If this happens, your bunny is trying to clear and eliminate whatever it is.
Remember that rabbits cannot vomit because they are incapable of doing so. Their physical structure makes it impossible for them to puke or even throw up. They are choking or coughing.
Because of this, it is vital to watch out for any physical signs. Do not hesitate to go to your rabbit-savvy vet once you see unusual symptoms that your little bunny is manifesting.
What to do With a Choking Rabbit?
Since rabbits cannot vomit, they are known to choke, whether from congenital heart failure, gobbling their pellets, or other health issues. You must be patient and calm because unnecessary panic and stress can cause more trouble for your bunny.
If your bunny is suffering from blocked airways, immediate attention is required. Once the rabbits’ throat is blocked, it cannot eat, drink, or even breathe. By nature, vomiting cannot happen, so you cannot also induce it.
While some attempt to feed their rabbits hydrogen to make them puke or throw up, this will not happen. Worst, this formula can kill rabbits.
It is crucial to learn and know the Rabbit Heimlich Maneuver Method to help your bunny if they are choking. So, here are the four easy steps:
- Hold your bunny against your chest firmly and tightly. Make sure that there is enough support on its head and neck.
- While this may be uncomfortable, you need to point your bunny’s nose downward.
- Use then your fingers and massage your bunny’s tummy from the base of its abdomen up to its ribs. Remember that you don’t need to push too strong as it can cause your bunny a broken rib. Apply only enough pressure.
- Continue doing these steps. Rub with gentle pressure. Continual rubbing and massage will create a surge of air and force enough to push away the toxins or trapped items from your bunny’s throat. Later on, you will shove the thing out of your bunny’s mouth. So, always keep the bunny’s head and nose downward.
What Are the Major Effects Caused by Non-Vomiting?
While it may sound good that your bunny rabbit cannot puke or vomit, this is not a positive sign. Since rabbits cannot throw up, they cannot purge their stomach. In other words, rabbits cannot eliminate or get rid of toxins.
Inability to puke up means that your rabbit can quickly ingest and absorb what you feed them. It can help if you are meticulous about the nutritional diet of your rabbits.
While sharing lunch with your bunny may look blissful, do not try this. Meat and breeds can pose a severe threat to your bunny.
If rabbits eat meat and bread, they cannot digest them. Later, these foods’ effect on these tiny boo bears is an intestinal blockage. Blockage happens when a bunny overeats. Because of this, the food will stay in their stomach, and they will not get enough nutrition.
In addition, since rabbits cannot vomit, they are more likely to choke. Once they overeat food too fast, this can block their airways.
Once this happens, and you feel that this is life-threatening for your tiny bunny pet, you can perform the Heimlich maneuver. Otherwise, it might be best to act promptly and consult with a veterinary.
Further, another sizeable tragedy that can happen because of rabbits’ incapability to throw up is the absorption of poison or toxins. Once a bunny swallows it, it cannot vomit it. Worst, owners cannot even induce these tiny boo bears from clearing it.
What Are the Health Issues Caused by Non-Vomiting?
Here are the common health problems that rabbits may suffer from. Take a quick look at these signs and consult your rabbit-savvy veterinarian to plan your bunny’s food nutrition plan.
|Gastrointestinal Stasis (GI Stasis)||Non-Eating
Loud stomach sounds or no sounds.
Diarrhea and not pooping;
Poop Covered with Fur
|Blocked Airways||Whistling Sound
|In cases of emergency, perform the Heimlich Maneuver
Proceed to the nearest veterinarian.
Sitting in Hunched Position
|A healthy diet (timothy hay)
Regular Eating Schedule
Prevention of Sudden Diet Change
The Moment of Truth
While this may appear alarming that rabbits cannot puke, throw up, and vomit, this is not the end of everything. Rabbits have evolved and grown perfectly fine, even their inability to vomit. However, this will be a reminder to better take care of these tiny cuddle buds.
Because of their delicate and frail stomach, you should always ensure that they have an excellent food diet and access to water 24/7.
Always check for unusual symptoms and contact a veterinarian immediately. Surprisingly, your rabbit may have the most fantastic time in its best condition if taken care of.