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Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Diagnosing and treating rabbit ailments. *Caution! These threads may contain graphic content.*
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Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Deer Heart » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:57 pm


EDIT: CAUSE DISCOVERED. Wrong bedding choice for cage style nest boxes were the cause. Mothers were accidentally crushing their kits.

Warning: Pretty graphic descriptions ahead.


I have no idea how else to describe it...

I've never seen anything like this before honestly and this doe has, up till now, successfully reared 3 prior litters.

This was a litter of 7 born on 2/21/18. I generally give moms a day or two to settle down before I start messing with their babies too much but today during chores I noticed the smell of decomp coming from this mom's nestbox. I went to see if maybe one or two died - I discovered all but two were very dead and severely decomposed (they were unrecognizable, it looked almost like she tried to eat them after they died). One of the two still alive appeared to be fine - but the other looked like it was rotting alive. It was screaming the second I touched it and all of the skin on the rear end of it was turning that transparent consistency of something that is long dead and while holding it, it seeped a reddish-light green pasty substance from its rear end. It looked the exact color and consistency of pus with a bit of blood mixed in. I culled it immediately as it was clearly not going to recover from being decomposed from the waist down (and was clearly in pain as it was screaming the entire time).

Has anyone heard of anything like this before? I sure haven't. I'm not even sure the only surviving kit is safe to be fostered to any of my other does and assuming it even is, how to prevent whatever this was in future litters or if it's a sign to cull this doe from my breeding program entirely.
Last edited by Deer Heart on Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:27 pm


No, I've never seen it happen just like that, but I wouldn't blame the doe. It seems that one or more kits died or were stillborn and - given your climate - rotted very quickly. The kit you culled sounds like it was contaminated by its dead littermates and was rotting alive. (Shudder)

This is one reason it is important to always make a daily check of kits from day one.
Even one dead kit can foul the nest and contaminate the living kits.

Given this situation, I would cull the last kit rather than trying to foster it. It might contaminate the other kits. Not worth taking a chance.

I stress, the doe did nothing wrong. She probably did try to eat the dead kits to clean up the nest, but if there were several dead ones she wouldn't be able to manage it before decomposition set in. I'd give her a fresh cage and a rest before breeding her back. You will want to make sure there are no adverse effects from being in contact with the nest.

I would also thoroughly disinfect the cage and nest box and let it sit out in the sun for a week or two. If the nest box is made of wood, I would discard it, preferably by burning.

Hope nothing like this ever happens to you again. It must have been gut-wrenching.
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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Deer Heart » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:07 pm


Baffling considering it happened so quickly. Everyone was fine as far as I could tell until at least early morning on the 23rd. (I said I avoid messing with them too much, not that I don't mess with them at all, I was mostly just indicating that I don't have a bunch of pictures of them before or during because I just check and get out, especially with this doe) I inspected everyone the 21st, added a bit of fresh hay under them on the 22nd, just checked the nest early morning on the 23rd to make sure mom didn't kick too much hay out again, but now the 24th (around 30hrs since last check in) they are somehow dead and completely rotten. It hasn't been hot here either. It's spring in my area right now, mid 70s with a nice breeze. It's baffling if that is the case. I doubt I missed any still births considering her nest was almost completely scratched out when I replaced hay.

I use really long multi-hole hanging cages. They are permanently placed. My nest boxes are also wire and attach beneath the cages like cage-burrows. They cannot be removed or placed in the sun. I use mostly castile soap based cleaners mixed in a spray bottle followed up with white vinegar for general cleaning and spray with a lysol concentrate diluted for heavy disinfection. If I need to do anything other than that to clean up from this, let me know.

I'm just baffled how this happened. Like I said, never seen anything like it before - not even when kits have died in the dead of summer.


EDIT: Could rats somehow be involved? I noticed signs of their presence while cleaning, "paw" prints along the PVC water lines.
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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#4  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:28 pm


rodents do carry disease, and should be dealt with, -- your hanging nest boxes should have cardboard liners in them [if they are like mine] just discard the liner, sanitise the wire it was in. - When i lived in Florida I had some problems with kits dieing fairly suddenly, and being bloated and starting to rot just over a weekend, -heat and humidity cause troubles, in humid places it is harder to keep nests dry, -damp nests are a breeding ground for any bacteria - [from rats, birds, etc...] - I had to change nestbox shavings sometimes to keep litters dry. Good luck..
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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#5  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:20 pm


If your cage wire is larger than 1"x1", rats can get in and out easily. If you have J-feeders without lids, they will enter that way. If any of the doors are a poor fit, they will squeeze through. When rat populations swell and there is pressure because of a scarcity of food, the rats will become relentless. Kits are a prime target and the doe will not be able to stop them.

Truckinguy had good success eliminating rats using a 50/50 mix of icing sugar and plaster of Paris. He started out asking about mothballs as a repellent but then tried the suggested mix. Here's the thread:
mothballs-for-rats-t32446.html
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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#6  Unread postby AmberRae » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:48 am


We had a rat that was eating our newborn buns. We thought the mom ate the first litter but quickly realized it wasn't the mom when it happened to a second mom the next night. The tracks were the first thing that alerted us to a rat. We were able to catch it the next night and haven't had a problem since. I was shocked a huge rat could squeeze in such a tiny hole.

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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#7  Unread postby akane » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:07 am


It doesn't have to be that hot if it's not cooling much at night and humid. I've seen fresh kill young rodents bloat and start to smell rotten within 6hrs at room temp due to the humidifiers added since the reptiles and found maggots in nest boxes when a kit couldn't have been dead longer than 24hrs at high 70s to 80F. I risked actually spraying the wood box down with livestock fly repellent to save the rest of the litter. Pests, bacteria, and fungi will start to go to work on live bodies when you are dealing with something that doesn't clean itself, doesn't change location much, and has immature, thin skin that is easy to damage. They'll also survive a surprising amount of infection and damage before a major organ is stressed enough they die.

Recently looking for something better than just bleach or vinegar that is cost effective for a variety of disinfectant purposes from cleaning food dishes to floor mopping I found Simple Green pro formulas superior to most commonly available veterinary disinfectant options. The pro 3 typical green tint is sold at hardware stores to be used by plumbers for human waste and medical facilities as it even kills HIV while the pro 5 purple bottle usually has to be ordered online but is slightly preferred for animal uses with the label having directions for use in dairies and around food animals. It's now what I use on everything including absorbent surfaces left to air dry unless it's going in with a rodent that will chew off large amounts of the wood. I believe it has a slightly alkaline ph around 9 so it does not damage the metal trays or cages and is not caustic. One of the dogs snuck a swallow of the lye based wood floor cleaner out of the mop bucket and scared us with a night of squeaking about her uncomfortable throat and stomach.
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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#8  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:02 am


I have had rats kill , and chew on some of my kits also-- and- at first I thought it was the doe- then I found a dead rat in with a "piranha doe" - I was glad I did not cull the other doe before I found out it was rats.
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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Dood » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:40 am


Sorta sounds like gangrene

It might have started in-utero, how is the doe acting? And vaginal discharge

Necrotizing fasciitis can happen in animals as well p

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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Deer Heart » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:12 pm


Sorry for delay, was out most of the day.

Definitely have at least one rat, I set out snap traps on top of the rabbit cages last night and one was triggered before morning. I don't think it killed it - you could see the little teeth marks in the bait and a little blood mixed in. The bar defo winged the rat at least. Have also found the feces in one of my J feeders. Mine is the type of nestbox that uses cardboard inserts usually but I stopped using the inserts after the ones that came with them ran out. I use those plastic resting boards on the bottom and stuff them with hay. May start using a layer of wood shavings first then hay, as hay scratches out very easily and is not very absorbent. May have been part of the problem as I used to use a layer of shredded paper before the hay but found the paper was entangling the kits as it got wet and then would harden as it dried sort of like paper mache.

Doe seems to be acting normal. She is even clearly wanting re-bred already. Scrubbed and disinfected her cage for "heavy soil" (with lysol) and did same to her Jfeeder, but pretty sure rat came through the typical 1x2" cage wire I use.

Will try the plaster rat kill method, starting to think this was for sure rats but now I made it leery of my go-to kill method. Hopefully will have dead rats to report soon and healthy kits (as I have 3 more nests full currently)
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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Zass » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:57 am


I suspect the rats as well, especially if the kits were fine one day, and then suddenly most are dead and chewed.

It is possible a rat could have had some pretty foul bacteria in it's mouth which contributed to the speed of decomposition from who-knows-whatever-else it'd been eating.
The rotting-live kit might have been rat bitten as well, or became infected with bacteria though a wound from being in contact with the other kits.

Pretty sad, and I'm glad you were put it down quickly.

I know it sounds like a real pain, but covering the 1x2 parts with hardware cloth would be a sure way of preventing surprise visits from rats, snakes, raccoon or opossum hands, and the beaks and claws of hawks.
My own rabbits have been OK since I hung their cages inside a big wire building, but my quail usually have to have every surface covered in hardware cloth to keep them safe. They are too stupid to move away from danger..

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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#12  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:46 am


Deer Heart wrote:Sorry for delay, was out most of the day.
Mine is the type of nestbox that uses cardboard inserts usually but I stopped using the inserts after the ones that came with them ran out. I use those plastic resting boards on the bottom and stuff them with hay. May start using a layer of wood shavings first then hay, as hay scratches out very easily and is not very absorbent. May have been part of the problem as I used to use a layer of shredded paper before the hay but found the paper was entangling the kits as it got wet and then would harden as it dried sort of like paper mache.

)


I just cut my inserts out my self from cardboard boxes [that are free for the taking almost everywhere]. cheap and easy... I only bought one box of the liners when I bought the hanging nests from Bass .. then-I started making my own ...
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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Deer Heart » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:39 pm


Well, sad update. Lost several more kits as the PoP just seemed to be desert for these guys. I'd never seen rats so aggressive in my life honestly... I lost an ADULT rabbit last night. Her nose and mouth had rat bites on it, she did not have any kits, the rat was found a few feet from her cage (a male) dead, with a gash in his head. My guess is they fought and he ran away only to die, but the shock or injuries killed her in the process too. She was a healthy beautiful broken blue rex doe that I was planning to breed once these rats were taken care of... definite signs of other rats now... all of my snap traps had been triggered and licked clean... they're also getting in the house at night...

Going to have to go a more serious route. I'm seriously considering just one bite right now. :/
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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#14  Unread postby akane » Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:44 pm


They rather mysteriously just go from hidden to tons of rats bold enough to do anything. I set up 2 trios of rats to breed food for my snakes and I culled them all after 6months because my freezer was overflowing. Let the things breed and a dozen per female will all at once suddenly be big enough to search out difficult food themselves even if you never saw the 5 or 6 females hiding in your building.
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Re: Really Young Kits "Decomposing Alive"

Post Number:#15  Unread postby MaggieJ » Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:51 pm


Going to have to go a more serious route. I'm seriously considering just one bite right now. :/

:yeahthat:

When rats get that aggressive you know you have a massive infestation. You need to do something immediately or it will only get worse.

One-Bite poisons are effective, but keep in mind that secondary poisoning is a risk with them. Have a care to your dogs, cats and anything else that may be tempted to eat dead or dying rats.

Don't stop with just one method. Put out a container of the icing sugar/plaster of Paris mix as well. It is effective too. Reset all your snap traps with a different bait. Peanut butter mixed with brown sugar, raisins, dates can all be effective. If you have a barrel that the rats can't jump out of, try tossing in an overripe banana, skin and all. Rats are very attracted to the smell they give off. Might be a good bait for a bucket-trap too.

Good luck! :good-luck:
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