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Kit isn't doing well

Diagnosing and treating rabbit ailments. *Caution! These threads may contain graphic content.*
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Kit isn't doing well

Post Number:#1  Unread postby trinityoaks » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:16 pm


One of Vixen's kits (9-day old Cal) isn't doing well. I've been doing a complete pull and count at least once a day, sometimes twice, and today is the first time I noticed anything wrong with this kit. It's a good bit smaller than the others, although there wasn't a noticeable runt in the bunch when they were born. This one's back end seems not to be working--back legs are completely limp. I'm guessing it's having a hard time getting to mama to feed because of it, although it does move around some with its front legs, and it looks rather emaciated. It's also not furring out as well as the others.

Is it hopeless for this one? Should I let nature take its course, or should I put it down? If so, how do I go about doing it as quickly and as painlessly as possible?

Also, Vixen seems to have a touch of poopy butt, although the rest of her kits seem to be fine. She's getting both grass hay and alfalfa hay, and her usual grain feed. What else can I give her?

Side notes: We lost Dot's runt yesterday. Now she's down to four. On the bright side, all of Branwyn's kits are doing well--haven't lost a one of that litter.
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Re: Kit isn't doing well

Post Number:#2  Unread postby cereshill » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:27 pm


I would give her oats and hay for a day to get her GI track in order; I culled a runt that was not feeding a couple days ago. I bopped it on the head and put it in the freezer---I want to think it was quick and over. I don't like culling, but it is part of the deal. I am learning to be mindful that the herd's vigor and future is based on the results out of the box. I would rather have a great litter of 5-6 than keep a runt that has issues; if its feeding, I wouldn't be as quick to cull. Runts that are thin, seem immobile etc are frankly obvious.

__________ Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:27 pm __________

just an FYI, I put down a runt tonight from a cali litter; the others were three times the size. the runt had't eaten and while mobile, was going to be at a loss for food. It is harsh, but its better for the herd, litter and progeny.

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Re: Kit isn't doing well

Post Number:#3  Unread postby MaggieJ » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:08 am


Trinity, I would guess that the kit was stepped on by momma and has severe injuries as a result. You can let nature take its course, but I doubt it will survive or be normal, so it is probably kindest to put it down now.

One method I have heard about that sounds humane and easy is to put the kit in a container that has a tight-fitting lid. Put some starter fluid (basically ether) on a paper towel and put it in with it. You might want to make sure it is not touching the kit directly... I don't know if it irritates. Close the lid and the fumes will cause the kit to lose consciousness quickly and then die. Many people find this easier and less gruesome than bopping. In an emergency, I had to bop some sick kits a few years back and while it is undoubtedly quick, I found it upsetting.

There are several plants that will help with Vixen's poopy butt. Plantain (plantago major) or shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) are both excellent, either fresh or dried. Raspberry, blackberry or strawberry leaves also will do the job nicely. These are all safe food items for rabbits and can be fed without worries.

I would substitute kitchen oatmeal (like Quaker Large-Flake/Old-Fashioned Oatmeal) for the whole grains for a few days and feed more grass hay than alfalfa just for a day or two. It will be a little light on protein, but it is only for a short time. Dandelions are likely not the best green just now, since they are mildly laxative but can be reintroduced once the poopy butt is resolved, since they are an excellent general tonic food.

Do let us know how Vixen is doing.
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Re: Kit isn't doing well

Post Number:#4  Unread postby trinityoaks » Sat May 01, 2010 4:19 pm


We lost the little kit last night. I hadn't made myself go out there to do something about the kit, but nature did the deed for me. It didn't seem to be starving, as it looked fed each time I checked it.

I can't be sure yet, but I THINK Vixen's poopy butt is drying up. I have her on just kitchen oatmeal and grass hay right now. I wish I had some plantain or shepherd's purse, but it doesn't seem to grow around here, and it's too early for berry leaves.
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Re: Kit isn't doing well

Post Number:#5  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat May 01, 2010 6:48 pm


Sorry you lost the kit, Trinityoaks. :(

Vixen sounds like she is doing better though. No berry leaves yet! I'm surprised... but that just goes to show how little I know about your climate. Here the berry leaves are abundant already... Other years at this time they would just be beginning, but we're enjoying a very early spring. Still the oatmeal and grass hay should do the trick.
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Re: Kit isn't doing well

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Brody » Sat May 01, 2010 7:22 pm


I'm so sorry Trin :(
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