Did you know that rabbit is one of the few mammal species that cannot vomit? They are incapable of reverse peristalsis which means the smooth muscle of their esophagus can only move things in one direction, which is towards their stomach. Their stomach muscle is unable to overcome their esophagus muscle to reverse this direction. Other mammals that cannot vomit includes rats and horses.
While this is an interesting fact, it is also the cruel reality that causes our rabbits to die simply from an upset stomach. The fact that our rabbit cannot burp, cough out a fur ball or empty their undigested food is what makes gastrointestinal (GI) stasis the number 1 killer in rabbits. It is also the reason why a simple choke can result in our rabbits to pass away.
The act of vomiting sounds gross but it is actually a life-saving mechanism for most mammals. It is a terrible feeling to have an upset stomach and not able to vomit. Unfortunately, this is how Mother Nature made our rabbits. As their caregivers, we need to be mindful and monitor their digestion very carefully. To learn more about preventing and treating GI stasis, here’s our favorite article to share with everyone: http://www.bio.miami.edu/
(Credit: Comic by Chris Pellicer)