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Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Diagnosing and treating rabbit ailments. *Caution! These threads may contain graphic content.*
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Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Nymphadora » Mon May 21, 2018 5:30 pm


Ok, I am in some need of advice. :(

A few days ago I noticed one of our does has a small hardened mass under/around one of her nipples. Her last litter was weaned over the course of two weeks, and over three weeks ago (they are now 14 weeks old). When we trimmed her nails last week, this mass did not exist.

I’ve been using warm water and paper towels (so I can throw them away, don’t want to re-infect anything) as a warm compress and expelling what I am guessing is puss (kind of thick, yogurt-ish consistency) from her affected nipple. There’s definitely a harder lump under there somewhere, though, I can feel it when I’m massaging the puss out. There also seems to be a small secondary cut at the bottom of her nipple, because we had some puss express through there twice now as well.

Could this still be mastitis? And if so, how do I treat? I’ve never lanced anything before, so I’m not sure of the procedure (how big of a cut, how to decide where to cut, how to close it up when it’s done?) and I don’t want to cause my doe any unnecessary harm. I believe penicillin might also be helpful, and I’ve been trying to dig through the forum, but I’d appreciate any advice on the dosage or application as well (subcutaneous seems to be the way to go, but does it matter where on the body? Closer to the infection the better?).

If you can spare any bit of advice or words of encouragement, I truly appreciate it. I really like this doe, and would hate to lose her over something I can fix. Thank you all!

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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon May 21, 2018 6:09 pm


I'm not expert on this, but it sounds more like an abscess than mastitis to me. I once had a doe (Alice) with a similar abscess, but not so near the nipple. She two was a good mom and a favourite, so we treated rather than culled. The hot compresses are a good idea, but if you have some old towels, pillowslips or a sheet that you can sacrifice, I think they might hold the heat better and be more effective. Cut pieces off, use once, and discard.

Penicillin G with Procaine should be available at your feed store. It must be refrigerated. It is very thick so you must shake it very, very well. You will need a large needle (we used Gauge 20). They dull easily and should not be reused, but they are not expensive. Buy extra needles and syringes to have on hand.

There are instructions for SQ injections in a sticky and it is not as difficult as it sounds. You want a place where the skin is somewhat slack, but I don't think actual location matters and you will want to use different spots each time. Have someone hold the rabbit firmly on the table or other surface. It sometimes seems to help to hold the ears flat to the head.

I can't remember the dosage but I will try to find it for you.

When cleaning the abscess, that thick pus can be thinned by syringing hydrogen peroxide (just the stuff in your medicine cabinet . . . 3%?) into the opening. Peroxide will damage healthy tissue as well, but we found it helped a lot. The pus was as thick as toothpaste.

Since the abscess is already draining, it may not be necessary to lance it. We were working up the courage to lance Alice's when it broke on its own, so we just went from there. She made an excellent recovery and went on to have more litters after a recovery period.

Hope this helps. If anything else occurs to me, I will add it, and I'll keep an eye on the thread to see you your girl is coming along.

:clover: :clover: :clover:

Edited to add:
I apologize for the rambling nature of this thread, but it's all I could find about Alice's abscess. Nothing about dosage, unfortunately, but there should be a dosage calculator for rabbits somewhere. I'll keep looking.
alice-has-mastitis-and-or-an-abscess-t4207.html
Last edited by MaggieJ on Mon May 21, 2018 6:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Nymphadora » Mon May 21, 2018 6:33 pm


MaggieJ wrote:I'm not expert on this, but it sounds more like an abscess than mastitis to me.

Thank you so much, I'm grateful for every little scrap of help!

MaggieJ wrote:The hot compresses are a good idea, but if you have some old towels, pillowslips or a sheet that you can sacrifice, I think they might hold the heat better and be more effective. Cut pieces off, use once, and discard.

I think DH just bought a bunch of small shop towels (basically cheap woven cloth) in bulk... I might just snag a small pile of those then.

MaggieJ wrote:Penicillin G with Procaine should be available at your feed store.

Does it have to be the Pen G with Procaine, only? I think our feed store only carries one with Procaine and Benzathine.


MaggieJ wrote:There are instructions for SQ injections in a sticky and it is not as difficult as it sounds. You want a place where the skin is somewhat slack, but I don't think actual location matters and you will want to use different spots each time. Have someone hold the rabbit firmly on the table or other surface. It sometimes seems to help to hold the ears flat to the head.

I can't remember the dosage but I will try to find it for you.

Thank you! :oops:


MaggieJ wrote:When cleaning the abscess, that thick pus can be thinned by syringing hydrogen peroxide (just the stuff in your medicine cabinet . . . 3%?) into the opening.

There's not exactly an opening, per say... just kind of a small tear along the bottom of the nipple that's leaking some of the puss when I express it. Would holding a hydrogen peroxide soaked cottonball to it help, as well, you think?

I can't thank you enough, Maggie. I'll keep you posted how things go, I'm really hoping we can get it turned around quick.

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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#4  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon May 21, 2018 6:47 pm


Does it have to be the Pen G with Procaine, only? I think our feed store only carries one with Procaine and Benzathine.

Short answer, I don't know. You could ask if your feed store people are knowledgeable or you could google something like rabbits abscess Pen G with Procaine and Benzathine or is Benzathine safe for rabbits?.

This was the only time we treated a rabbit with any form of medicine apart from the plants that grow here. So although it was successful, I don't have a lot of confidence that we did everything right.
- -

There's not exactly an opening, per say... just kind of a small tear along the bottom of the nipple that's leaking some of the puss when I express it. Would holding a hydrogen peroxide soaked cottonball to it help, as well, you think?

You can try it but it would be more effective if the peroxide can get to the pus inside. We just sort of aimed the tip of the syringe into the tear and squeezed gently. I stress, we didn't really know what we were supposed to be doing, so just muddled through.
- -
I added an edit to my first reply. Sorry, I've looked through my documents but can't find the dosage we used. I lost some files awhile back, and a lot of them were about the rabbits. :(
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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#5  Unread postby alforddm » Mon May 21, 2018 6:56 pm


Does it have to be the Pen G with Procaine, only? I think our feed store only carries one with Procaine and Benzathine.


Procaine and Benzathine is fine. I've used it successfully for an abscess.

* 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

You can read more here

http://people.umass.edu/~jwmoore/bicillin/bicillin.htm
https://www.facebook.com/notes/christin ... 946411623/

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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Nymphadora » Tue May 22, 2018 10:09 am


You guys are such a blessing! Thank you Maggie and alforddm! :oops:

Unfortunately when I went to the feed store last night, I was reminded that I live in a state that is doing everything it can to restrict small farmers. California passed a law earlier this year that requires a vet prescription for any antibiotics/etc. I'm glad I bought Ivermectin before the law went into effect... :roll: The store employee seemed to be just as frustrated as I was (I'm guessing they have animals at home, too... a lot of people in our town do).

We don't have a vet that we've ever been to or know around here (moved into the area last year, plus the rabbits are currently the only animals we have). So I have to ask a hard question, and I will take everyone's opinions into consideration in making my choice: Since the abscess seems relatively small (the hard mass feels about the size of a pea, maybe a smidge bigger), how likely is it that we can treat without the use of Pen G?

I will continue using warm compresses and draining as much as I can (and I'll try to squirt some hydrogen peroxide right up in there tonight, thank you Maggie) in the meantime. At least the doe seems to tolerate the treatment for now. :)

While I do want to do everything in our power to help this doe get better, I agreed to raise these rabbits for meat and not as pets... meaning we have a budget to try and stick to (of course there's an emergency fund, but I don't know if this counts towards that). We do have a daughter from this doe, as well, but she's not proven yet so I was hoping to breed the mom at least once or twice more (she's not old, but at least 3.5-4 years).

Thanks again! :oops:

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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Shea » Tue May 22, 2018 11:53 am


I knew I'd read something on here about an herbal antibiotic, it just took a bit to find. http://rabbittalk.com/doe-with-mastitis-t32706.html?hilit=brew%20a%20tea#p323969

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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#8  Unread postby MaggieJ » Tue May 22, 2018 11:55 am


Certainly you can treat her with good expectations of recovery without antibiotics! The Pen-G does make it easier, but abscesses are common in rabbits and a good percentage of sufferers recover.

I'd continue with the compresses, the cleaning out of pus and the triple antibiotic ointment.

It might be possible to get antibiotics by mail order from another state, or even off eBay. Not everywhere has such tough restrictions on animal medications. I bought Terramycin (sp?) eye ointment on eBay, after being told by a vet that I'd have to bring the rabbit in for an office visit in order to get treatment.
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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Nymphadora » Tue May 22, 2018 1:24 pm


MaggieJ wrote:Certainly you can treat her with good expectations of recovery without antibiotics! The Pen-G does make it easier, but abscesses are common in rabbits and a good percentage of sufferers recover.

I'd continue with the compresses, the cleaning out of pus and the triple antibiotic ointment.

:bow:

Shea wrote:I knew I'd read something on here about an herbal antibiotic, it just took a bit to find. http://rabbittalk.com/doe-with-mastitis-t32706.html?hilit=brew%20a%20tea#p323969

Thank you, Shea! I think I can do that... or I'll get some triple antibiotic cream like Maggie mentioned in her post about Alice.

I feel so bad that this happened at all, even though the doe doesn't act like she's in pain at all (she got a little squirmy when I started the warm compresses and cleaning out pus, but even that's calmed down). I'm just glad I've got everyone on RabbitTalk to walk me through the treatment! I feel so much better hearing and reading about everyone else's experiences. :grouphug2:

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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#10  Unread postby akane » Tue May 22, 2018 6:09 pm


If it's actually in the mammary gland and not under the skin I would try to get antibiotics. I've had abscesses drain and heal fine on rabbits when they were due to a surface wound and did not go deep but I culled the one that got mastitis after trying everything except penicillin injections. Rabbits seem to be better than some other small animals but overall small animals tend to make very thick puss and encapsulated abscesses that do not drain well or allow the immune system good access so infections deep in the tissue or already walled off in body structures tend to have very poor healing without help.

I wonder if calvetsupply.com is still a good source for meds if california is restricting things. I often order from them whatever I can't off somewhere generic like amazon with a prime shipping account or if I need something rushed because they usually overnight or 2 day cheaper than anywhere else with the same range of products. With ever increasing restrictions on locally sold products I get more and more medications and supplements for animals and myself online. Iowa has even tried to make illegal things that are recognized as fully safe nutritional supplements with no restrictions by the FDA if they think it is too closely related to another compound they don't like.

Calvet still has pen G listed at $9 with a $5.50 perishable pack but unfortunately when you add anything to the cart there is a message that 2 of the owners died in a car accident and calvet is not shipping until at least may-june. With the message still up I would assume the business is still in limbo.
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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#11  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Wed May 23, 2018 7:07 am


Shea wrote:I knew I'd read something on here about an herbal antibiotic, it just took a bit to find. http://rabbittalk.com/doe-with-mastitis-t32706.html?hilit=brew%20a%20tea#p323969

I have fed barberry root bark [cut and sifted, not powder] with great results- to both rabbits and pigs-- for some reason they both eat it just fine when they have a problem.
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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#12  Unread postby alforddm » Wed May 23, 2018 8:43 am


Another thing you might try is elderberry leaves. I've heard that sheep will sometimes self medicate for hoof root on elderberry and that those that do usually recover without medical intervention. I have no personal experience, and don't remember were I read it, but it might not hurt to try.

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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Nymphadora » Fri May 25, 2018 10:57 am


Alright, update time:

Judy (our doe) is definitely producing less puss, because I'm getting less each day... so that's a good sign, right?

On the other hand, I still feel the lump/mass. And I can't quite tell if it's getting smaller or not.

So far we've been treating as follows: daily hot compress followed by puss squeezing (that sounds so gross), last couple days soaking/squirting hydrogen peroxide into the minor cut, and I'd been giving her a little sprig of mint as a treat and just in case there was still any milk (doubtful, but she's been enjoying the treat).

The last two days have been so dang busy at work and home that I didn't get to run to the store for antibiotic cream yet. I feel super guilty about that, because I'm sure it would help her, but I just haven't been able to get away to the store. Fingers crossed that I manage it tonight!

No idea where I could find elderberry (wish I could though, my grandma used to make a wicked good elderberry jam) or barberry, but I'm keeping my eyes open.

Thank you again to everyone who's been helping me!
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Re: Dealing with possible mastitis/abscess

Post Number:#14  Unread postby MaggieJ » Fri May 25, 2018 1:06 pm


Judy's progress sounds pretty typical to me. It takes time, so don't be discouraged.

You can continue to give her mint--a few sprigs is fine--as a treat until you intend to rebreed. Just don't feed it when she is pregnant (or hoping to be) or nursing.

It is possible that there were originally two lumps and that each was encapsulated. Continue to monitor the remaining lump for changes, pending more experienced advice than I can give you.

That's all I can think of at the moment, but I'll continue to watch this thread.
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