Internal organs of a rabbit

Compared to body size, the rabbit’s thoracic cavity is relatively small, as is the heart; in heart rate at rest 180 to 250 beats per minute. The abdominal cavity, separated from the chest by the diaphragm (respiratory muscle), on the other hand, is particularly large.

The stomach is quite large and serves as a “warehouse”: after all, in a healthy animal it is always full of food and, due to its special anatomical structure, rabbit can’t burp. The stomach passes into the small intestine, which is long and thin and has the function of assimilating fructose (a sugar found in fruits) and proteins.

The large intestine, divided into the colon and the cecum, is very developed, especially in the part of the caecum. If in humans it is reduced to a small process, then in rabbits it is the most voluminous organ and occupies most of the abdominal cavity. The cecum is a dead-end structure that begins at the junction between the small intestine and the large intestine.

in colon has bulges along its entire length, called haustration, formed by a special arrangement of muscle fibers and of fundamental importance in the physiology of the rabbit. They are really responsible for dividing the particles between small and large (fibers), for all the food that is not digested by the small intestine and enters the large intestine safe and sound.

rabbit stool

Contrary to what one might think and what happens in other animals, the coarse particles pass out of the body more quickly in the form of small hard balls of stool. On the other hand, smaller particles are pushed back into the caecum. The food is then digested, in part by the bacteria living in it (a process called “fermentation”), which synthesize many nutrients, including B vitamins.

Then the contents of the caecum are ejected in the form caecotrophs, a special type of excrement of a soft consistency and green color, covered with mucus. Their function is to protect bacteria from the action of gastric juice so that they continue the fermentation process and produce nutrients.

Rabbit brings the caecotroph directly through the anus and restores many of the nutrients it contains. This phenomenon is called coprophagia, also occurs in other lagomorphs and in many rodents. Therefore, in order for the rabbit’s digestive system to function properly, it is important that its diet is very varied. rich in fibernecessary elements for maintaining gastrointestinal activity.

If there is no fiber in the diet, food progress will gradually slow down before stopping completely. Then we talk about intestinal stasisa problem unfortunately common in domestic rabbits, which are fed too refined food, but not familiar to wild rabbits, who eat only rough and poor food, which they, however, digest very well.

The Importance of Fiber

Several studies conducted on the passage of food particles in the digestive system of rabbits show that this fibersthose. the coarsest part of the food, keeping his intestines healthy and active.

In fact, it has been proven that the coarsest particles of food, from 3 mm taround you need 14 hours leave the digestive system, and smaller ones, about 1 mm, come out only after 16 hours. Very low fiber, high starch, finely ground kibble takes at least 20 hours to pass through the digestive system, while 5mm particles, the size of chewed hay, leave the digestive system in just 5 hours. .

It means that the more food consists of small particles (obtained from refined products), the more difficult it is for the intestines to remove themand larger particles stimulate bowel activity.

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