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Probiotic and Enzymes


Probiotic and digestive enzymes are designed to encouraging the growth of  "good" (beneficial bacteria) that is needed in a rabbit’s natural digestive process.

Probiotics (good bacteria) are needed to maintain proper PH levels, break down food for absorption and to keep dangerous bad bacteria levels low. When bad bacteria such as E-coli are able to thrive, the result will be a build up of deadly toxins in the rabbit’s body.

The good bacteria thrive in the cecum and small intestine.
The food’s fibers are broken down into usable fatty acids by the bacteria using a fermentation process, and the remaining nutrients passed from cecum to the small intestine as a usable form of nutrients called
cecotropes to be passed from the body, eaten by the rabbit a second time and then absorbed by the body.

Without the proper digestive enzymes and beneficial intestinal bacteria, food passes through the system not being able to ferment properly and the nutrients are not absorbed into the body.
When this undigested food passing through the large intestinal tract it may then lead to an over growth of bad bacteria, bloat, diarrhea, enteritis or coccidios parasite taking advantage of a weakened immune system.

Wild rabbits have a choice of many different kinds of grass, plants and seeds, each containing  natural sources of digestive enzymes and naturally occurring beneficial bacteria.

Commercial rabbit food ingredients are mainly Wheat millings, soybean meal, alfalfa, added vitamins and molasses.
The processing and storing of the feed will break down the Enzymes and beneficial bacteria.
It also limits the variety of Enzymes and beneficial bacteria in a rabbit’s diet.
I try supplement by feeding my rabbits good timothy hay, a leaf of Kale or sprig of parsley at least two or three times a week. In the summer I pick dandelions, wash them well and use a salad spinner to dry them off.

Causes of digestive upset.

A rabbit's beneficial bacteria can be destroyed causing the PH of this environment to be altered. Once the balance has been upset it can take a long time to re-establish a balance again.

A rabbit’s digestive system is disturbed when the rabbit is under stress.. 

Stress can be caused by;

- illness
- weaning

- feed change
- rabbit shows
- poor food quality.
- going to a new home
- Operation or medication
- extreme temperature changes 
- unseasonable and fluctuating weather conditions


Keep cage, food and water bowl clean and supply clean water daily.

Feed good quality timothy hay often.

You can give a mouthful of Probiotic paste morning and night until rabbit recovers.

Medication will not only kill bad bacteria but the good bacteria too.
I always feed a probiotic twice a day for two days after medicating.

I give my rabbits a mouth full of probiotic paste the night after I take them to a show and twice more the next day. I used to give it to them the night before but if they manage to spit some out, it can mess-up their coat.

Enzyme therapy

Pineapple and Papaya are especially good to feed fuzzy lops to help prevent wool Block as well as maintaining a healthy digestive system. I was skeptical about pineapple juice dissolving wool blocks until a friend's vet had x-rayed her doe and a mass appeared in the x-ray.
The vet only prescribed pineapple juice and they x-rayed every 2-3 days.
The massive started to dissolve. I still doubt that pineapple juice dissolved the hair but it likely dissolved all the food stuff that bonded itself to the hair, thus allowing the hair to pass through the rabbit a bit at a time. My own rabbit vet swears by pineapple juice.


Live Beneficial Bacteria

Acid Pak 4 way is a great safe, water soluble source, good for rabbits during hot or fluctuating weather conditions and for kits that are weaning (especially  Faders).

"Showbloom", "Sunshine plus" from BlueSeal, Heinold Doc's Rabbit Enhancer, and other coat conditioning supplements contain probiotics such as brewer's yeast. I feed this to my rabbits that are at least 2 months old.

Horse Paste probiotics  have a wonderful variety of probiotic bacteria. I recommend them.
There is controversy regarding the amount claimed on the labels of these paste probiotics and what studies show are actually contained in them. Try to get a "fresh" tube with an expiry date of two years into the future. 

Powered form of freeze dried Lactobacillus
Quintrex by Nutritional Research Assoc. inc.
South Whitley, indiana 


I feed the horse Probiotic paste to my show rabbits when they are off their feed a bit, it has many different types of good bacteria. Below are some examples of Probiotics.


Chewable Acidophilus with bifidus
Brand: American Health  


Equi-bac oral Gel

911 Emergency, Paste 

Probiotic Plus Paste


Equine Probiotic Paste
Made by Nature's Farmacy 
(Member of the Organic trade assoc.)




Micro Balance from Vita Flex

Other Articles  

Alternatives to Antibiotic Use for Growth Promotion
in Animal Husbandry


University of Maryland Medical Center
Lactobacillus acidophilus

Use of Probiotics in Rabbits

Paws & Claws Animal Hospital



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