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Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Diagnosing and treating rabbit ailments. *Caution! These threads may contain graphic content.*
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Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Rainey » Wed May 02, 2018 12:09 pm


This is Joanna, Rainey's daughter.

We have a recently kindled rabbit with whitish gunk around her nose. She’s stopped eating. Trying to figure out: is there anything I can do to help her/her kits, or to see that my other rabbits don’t get whatever she has? My mother thought she might have pasteurella, but wasn't sure as she isn't sneezing and we haven't observed pasteurella before.

Background info: Jay is a first-time mother whose ten kits are 48 hours old. At their 24-hour check they all seemed to be well fed. At their check today they were thinner. Jay herself ate up the willow branches, bramble and grain I put out for her last night, but this morning she didn’t eat anything, even the fresh greens which the other rabbits are eating eagerly as soon as they hit the feeders. I initially thought Jay had gone off feed either in reaction to kidding or because of the weather, which turned markedly warmer yesterday and today. I made sure she had access to water (her bottle seemed to be fine, and I gave her a water pan too) and tried offering tempting foods—no luck. After lunch when she was still not eating I took her out of her cage for an inspection and found that she had whitish-gray gunk inside and below her nostrils. (She has similar-looking stuff clumped on the rear end of her vulva too, but I don’t know if that is normal post kindling discharge—we don’t usually flip our does over at this stage.) We took the cage with Jay and her kits in it and put it into another shed, hoping to minimize the risk of infection to the other rabbits—maybe too late. So far the others look OK, and I haven’t handled any of them since I handled her this morning (though I did handle a cage latch and also cut some greens which I intended for later rabbit feeding after doing that—will wash the former and discard the latter.) As I said above, I have not heard her sneezing, though sometimes when touched she makes a quiet high-pitched growling or sighing noise.

What should I do next? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. (Going on to search more about pasteurella now.)

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#2  Unread postby alforddm » Wed May 02, 2018 12:17 pm


Bicillin...

* Rabbits weighing LESS than 2.50 Kgs receive 75,000 units every other day
* Rabbits weighing MORE than 2.50 Kgs receive 150,000 units every other day
* Route of administration: subcutaneous injection

Since, this has happened so soon after kindling, and she's not sneezing, I'm wondering if she has retained a kit and has gone septic. If this is the case, she likely won't get better. If it is some type of minor infection, the Bicillin will help until you can safely wean the kits and will help to prevent the kits from catching whatever she has. Quarantine right away if you haven't already.

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Zass » Wed May 02, 2018 1:57 pm


The way you describe the symptoms just doesn't feel like my experiences with pasteurellosis, or other communicable respiratory diseases.

Both rapid temperature changes and kindling can trigger dips in the immune system. Spring seems to be the time I see most respiratory illness up here.

I also know you have a very well quarantined herd that had never had respiratory issues. :?

But I'm leaning towards what Alforddm said in regards to something more going on internally.

Whatever you decide to do, don't let her go off feed fore more than a day, as gi slowdown or stasis will complicate things immensely. I don't know what they are on right now, but if they are getting mostly fresh greens, consider supplementing her diet with something starchy, like sweet potato or oats.

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#4  Unread postby ozemba » Wed May 02, 2018 2:55 pm


The few times I have had a rabbit not eating what I wanted them to I always mix up some critical care and force feed with a syringe if they aren't interested in it, but it is apple/banana flavor and all my rabbits love banana so I usually don't have too much trouble.

Have you tried palpating her to see if you could feel any lumps or anything out of the ordinary?

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#5  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Wed May 02, 2018 3:36 pm


garlic tops, or onion tops sometimes turn this around.. [if they will eat them]
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Rainey » Wed May 02, 2018 4:51 pm


This is Rainey--I see that Joanna put kidding for kindling--she's more focused on the goats.
Thanks to all of you who offered suggestions. She has been offered oats, chives, and lavender (because I think it is supposed to help expel retained kits) but hasn't shown any interest in eating or drinking anything. Too many things going on today so didn't get anywhere to pick up antibiotic--maybe should keep some of that on hand.
Anyway it looks like we will have to cull her and the litter unless she eats tonight. I've heard folks on here recommend an autopsy of a rabbit that dies of disease or unknown causes. I'm not the one who dispatches rabbits here and the one who does is willing to look inside if he understands how it would help us with the rest of our rabbits but otherwise would prefer not. Anyone who can suggest what to look for and how it would be useful? Or not?

Sorry this isn't more coherent. I'm just tired and this situation just seemed to come out of nowhere. And of course this was the day that a 93 year old friend came to see the kid and to help me cut up seed potatoes for Joanna to plant. And the regular weekly visit of a woman with some mental health and developmental disability. And the young Chinese woman for whom Joanna is an ESL tutor came with her 2 year old and her mother-in-law and arrived an hour early just after we realized we had a sick doe.

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Zass » Wed May 02, 2018 6:00 pm


Whew, sounds like busy day. :runaround:

Rabbits can mask their distress very very well, to the point where there often is not much that can be done by the time warning signs present themselves. If you chose to cull, you can chose to cull the litter as well, or else attempt to foster kits to another doe.
Fostering comes with some risk. I guess it's a matter of whether you are willing to risk the possibility of it being something communicable.

A good photo of the innards would allow us to have a peek, and see if we can spot anything out of the ordinary. It's really hard to describe what could be "off" inside an animal if one doesn't know what "correct" looks like though.

I could list a few easy to recognize problems, like a discolored (pale or spotted) liver, or a pale yellowish gall bladder, but it's nowhere near what could potentially be spotted by someone with an experienced eye.

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Rainey » Thu May 03, 2018 7:52 am


This morning we found Jay moving around normally. She had eaten willow, a small piece of baked potato, lavender, chives and fresh greens (mix of grass, dandelion, dock etc.). Hadn't eaten any noticeable amount of hay or grain (oats and BOSS). The kits were all alive and seemed to be fed although none were full to bulging like the kits in the litter of 6 last week.
Checked the kits and saw no snot. But hadn't seen the snot in the does nose until had her out and flipped over to check her underside for mastitis or anything else we might recognize as a problem.
So for now we're just in holding mode. Keeping the doe and litter away from the rest of the rabbits, cleaning up after any contact with them. Really thought we'd have to cull today, but now I guess if she can raise this litter, we'll let her. Wouldn't breed her again or keep any of these kits for breeding. Also watching the other rabbits and see no signs of ill health in any of them. Would appreciate any thoughts about if or when this doe and/or the litter could come out of quarantine.

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#9  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu May 03, 2018 8:11 am


I would just watch her- and see how she does for a month or two- if she can wean the kits, and shows no more signs of disease- I would assume kindling distress- and not disease.. [JMHO]
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#10  Unread postby MaggieJ » Thu May 03, 2018 9:19 am


Sorry I'm so late in posting on this. I was barely on RT yesterday or the day before. Glad to hear she's eating again.

The only thing I would like to add to what others have already said is that the gunk at both ends makes me wonder if the gunk on her nose was from her nose or whether it was from her back end (uterine infection, perhaps?) while she was trying to clean herself up.

This doesn't sound like Pasterella to me, but you did absolutely the right thing putting her and the kits in quarantine. This should always be the first reaction to any unknown ailment, for the sake of the rest of the herd.

If she ends up needing a necropsy, I would take a look at the uterus for signs of infection or a retained kit. But again, it is difficult to identify a problem if you are not familiar with what it should look like.
Sojourning in 1894 . . .

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Rainey » Thu May 03, 2018 3:37 pm


Thanks, Maggie, that makes sense about the gunk on her nose--don't know why we didn't think of it. No sneezing anywhere--the sick doe or the ones in the main rabbit area. She is eating today--at least the green stuff. Wish she'd eat her grain and the brambles (just beginning to leaf) that she's being offered. But she is eating and still producing droppings, and seems more comfortable and is more active than yesterday.
Guess we just have to keep an eye on her, wait and see. And if she and the kits keep making progress we'll have to figure out when/whether to move them back into the rabbit area. The area we've used for quarantine would be small for the kits growing out and the ventilation isn't as good as in the main rabbit room. Sure didn't think 24 hours ago that they'd make it through today.

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#12  Unread postby MaggieJ » Thu May 03, 2018 5:06 pm


You could try giving her some kitchen oatmeal. Same nutrition as her grain, but much more palatable and easily digested.

I wouldn't be in a hurry to move her back, unless the temperatures go up so much that the shed overheats. Time enough to think about that when the kits are out of the nestbox.
Sojourning in 1894 . . .

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Rainey » Fri May 04, 2018 8:02 am


Tried giving her rolled oats, but she ignored them. Ate all the green stuff and another piece of potato, brambles and willow. Doesn't seem to be eating hay but I'd think the brambles and willow would have the fiber content needed to balance the dandelion, parsley, grass etc that she seems to want.

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#14  Unread postby MaggieJ » Fri May 04, 2018 10:07 am


Potato (cooked, of course) can be a useful substitute for grain. They used to use it in England during the War Years. If she is getting the bark from the willow wands and brambles as well as the leaves, I wouldn't worry about the hay too much for the time being. It is less appealing to them in springtime, I think, when they can get fresh greens.

Odd about the rolled oats, though. I've never seen a rabbit that doesn't love the stuff. :?
Sojourning in 1894 . . .

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Re: Newly kindled doe sick--need help

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Rainey » Sat May 05, 2018 9:46 am


She did finally eat the rolled oats in the afternoon yesterday. Gave her more of those as well as a little of the grains we usually feed and overnight she ate just the rolled oats and all her greens including bramble and willow. Just glad to have her eating some grain--thanks, Maggie. Couldn't see any gunk in her nose. Kits all growing more slowly than the other litters this spring but decided not to divide them because not sure if she is feeding once or twice a day and none seem really over or underfed. Sometimes it is just so clear that one isn't going to make it--or that some could skip a feeding and never miss it. And sometimes it isn't so clear and we just decide to wait and see.

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