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Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Diagnosing and treating rabbit ailments. *Caution! These threads may contain graphic content.*
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Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Harelady » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:33 pm


So I am freaking out right now. I have had three rabbits get random respiratory illnesses in the last two months. First died within 24 of getting sick. The second a nursing mom I am treating with antibiotics whom only symptom is a making sounds while breathing. Now I found a third with snot today. I am just not sure what to do. All were vaccinated with bunny vac. Should I cull the effected? I am going to get the snot tested to see which bacteria I am dealing with. I have never had a respiratory outbreak like this ever. Advice please?

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Re: Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:01 pm


I'd be freaking out too, Harelady. :shock:

Some people cull any affected rabbits on the spot, but since one of yours is a nursing doe, I can understand your reluctance. I would quarantine her and the kits if you haven't already done so and be prepared to terminally cull any of the youngsters that show symptoms as they grow.

As for the third rabbit that is throwing snot, you can either cull now or quarantine and await the results of the test. It would be helpful to you to know what bacteria you are dealing with. It's not always pasteurella, and -- much as I hate to say this -- you may not be at the end of the outbreak yet.

Please keep us updated. I think a situation like this is every rabbit breeder's nightmare.
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Re: Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Harelady » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:43 pm


Thank you MaggieJ. The rabbit I just found with snot is in quarantine. I am waiting for the babies of the nursing mom to reach six weeks old. Then I will quarantine the mother. None of the babies are showing symptoms right now. I will test the one with snot and see what the results are. But more than likely both will be culled at some point.

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Re: Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Ozarkansas » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:15 pm


What Maggie said!
Also if you can quarantine the mother and kits separate, and only bring them to nurse one a day it can greatly decrease exposure. Not sure how much it would help as they would still get exposed to her, just not nearly as much as if they were with her 24/7.
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Re: Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Harelady » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:48 am


So an update. I weaned the kits whom are not showing any symptoms and all the sick rabbits were culled yesterday. I am pretty sad about it. I got a swab of snot from one of them and sent it to a lab for testing. Probably test results will not come back till next week. But I should get an idea what is going on with the herd.

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Re: Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Post Number:#6  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:33 am


Culling for illness is always a sad thing, but it's probably best for the overall future of the herd. The kits that do not show signs of illness may have an excellent resistance to that particular strain of bacteria. I'd be considering them possibilities for future breeders.

Knowing what disease you are dealing with could be immensely helpful if it resurfaces in your rabbitry or if you decide to bring in new rabbits at any point. Newcomers will possibly be susceptible to whatever it is even if all your rabbits are healthy.

I speak from personal experience here. I brought in only three new rabbits in all the time I raised rabbits. All appeared very healthy as did my own rabbits. But one rabbit died within 24 hours of completing quarantine and being put with my herd. The other two lasted longer, but neither thrived long-term. I concluded that there was something in my herd that my own rabbits had immunity to that newcomers did not. The offspring of the two bucks I brought in were healthy, however.
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Re: Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Post Number:#7  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:47 am


in addition to all that has been said..a couple of contributing factors for respiratory issues are poor ventilation [in winter more doors and windows remain shut] and -- mold toxin in feed... both contribute to inflammation of the respiratory system .. inflammation gives germs a place to start..
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Re: Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Harelady » Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:07 am


So I finally got a diagnosis in one rabbit of pseudomonas aeruginosa. However that rabbit hasn't had any snot since the culture was taken. I have had five hares have symptoms in the past couple of weeks. Had to cull one who had pneumonia yesterday. All the hares do better in quarantine inside so I suspect a management issue as well. Looking to get a antibiotic sensitivity test done to see if I can save a few hares. This has been a tough few weeks.

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Re: Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Post Number:#9  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:27 pm


do you have adequate ventilation?
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Re: Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Harelady » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:24 am


michaels4gardens wrote:do you have adequate ventilation?
Yes and no. They get less ventilation in the winter. But I been giving them more lately. I had an autopsy done on the rabbit I culled last week. A swab and tissue was sent for testing. Initial reports are showing bacteria of the E coli variety. Which is super odd. Will get more information as the test results come back. Lost another rabbit this weekend and another I am treating that has pneumonia.

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Re: Random rabbits getting respiratory illnesses.

Post Number:#11  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:45 pm


you probably know this- but air circulation is not the same as ventilation , ventilation requires air change , and input of fresh air from outside
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