Your rabbit stops/slows transit and you think giving him pineapple juice will help him heal? This is not the case, quite the contrary, pineapple juice can be an aggravating factor for your hairball!
See our full article on managing rabbit transit arrest
Pineapple juice can be considered a grandmother’s remedy. And although our grannies generally gave good advice, that wasn’t always the case. Before wasn’t always better! We could evoke the drop of alcohol in the bottle to help children sleep, which we now know promotes alcoholism in adulthood. In short, don’t always listen to the good old advice of the good old methods before!
A rabbit in gastric stasis should ingest as little sugar and starch as possible. Already when they are in good health, the sugar and starch intake must be limited.
Sugar and starch are favorite foods for bad bacteria in the digestive system. Bacteria that we especially do not want to encourage in the event of gastric stasis!
Special feature of the rabbit’s digestive system: the cecum
The cecum is a pocket between the small and large intestine. It’s the largest organ in a rabbit’s abdomen – 10 times the size of its stomach. It uses bacteria to ferment food and turn fiber into digestible protein and vitamins.
All rabbits have a small amount of “bad” bacteria in the caecum, this is normal and rarely a problem on a low carb diet. Sugars and starch are digested before they reach the cecum and can seriously upset its balance.
But this is unfortunately not always the case, if digestion is too slow (ingesting excess hair) or the animal has too many carbohydrates in its diet (for example) this delicate process can be disturbed.
Why is pineapple a bad idea?
Pineapple has an undeserved reputation as a natural remedy for stasis due to the enzyme bromelain. When the bowel slows down or stops, food (and hair) accumulates in a dehydrated mass and can no longer move. Bromelain would have the ability to dissolve?
In fact, this is not the case for several reasons:
- The pH of the rabbit’s stomach is 1.5 to 2.2. Bromelain (the enzyme in pineapple juice) cannot survive the extremely acidic environment of a rabbit’s stomach. Enzymes are denatured (destroyed) by heat and pH
- There is no veterinary scientific research that supports the use of pineapples to cure gastrointestinal stasis in rabbits.
- The enzymes in pineapple or papaya do not have the ability to dissolve hair . If they survived passage through the stomach, they could eventually dissolve some of the accumulated mucus.
According to the 2014 Rabbit Medicine Manual:
“Pineapple juice or proteolytic enzymes have been recommended as hairball remedies because they are known to dissolve hair. Miller (1983) conducted an experiment in which they incubated rabbit hair for up to 3 days in papaya, proteolytic enzymes or pineapple juice.
The pH of the solution was adjusted to 2 with hydrochloric acid to mimic conditions in the rabbit stomach. They found no difference between the treated and untreated control samples and the authors concluded that none of the enzyme treatments showed any ability to dissolve hair.”
Unfortunately, pineapple (or papaya) can do more harm than good because it’s loaded with sugar. Feeding too many sugary foods can upset a rabbit’s digestion, even in full health. Giving extra sugar to a rabbit in stasis is especially dangerous. Sugar feeds bad bacteria that could take over and worsen your pet’s condition.
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