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Thoughts on suppressing suspected pasturella

Diagnosing and treating rabbit ailments. *Caution! These threads may contain graphic content.*
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Thoughts on suppressing suspected pasturella

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Ferra » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:55 pm


I think I need someone to bounce things off of...

I'm in the middle of integrating my new French Angora stock into my herd. I thought I was in the clear, but have had a problem pop up again.

Long story is the youngest doe I imported started showing pasturella-like symptoms in quarantine (rattling, white snot). She was treated over 2 weeks (ciprofloxacin topically to nasal/respiratory system, and systemic sulfa), and remained asymptomatic over two weeks so I moved her out of quarantine a while ago. Her symptoms seem to be cropping back up after the last 2-3 weeks where she lived otherwise happily in the main rabbitry.

While I don't have a problem re-isolating her, it's beginning to appear unlikely that I will be able to keep this down permanently in her case. And while culling is a solution, it's one I'm hoping to avoid until I can breed at least one replacement from her. I only imported three rabbits, and locally French Angora are very rare. As such, I don't want to lose her contribution to the gene-pool, especially as she has very strong shoulders that would be excellent to integrate into my future lines...

But she's also only ~20 weeks old right now - a little young for breeding in my estimation.

The saving grace is that my other two angoras appear to be largely immune to this (They did grow up in the same herd, and were show attendees - they basically required strong immunity to get by), and there is no indication at current that any other rabbits are affected, for now.

Does anyone have any thoughts about how to suppress this, at least long enough to get this doe producing kits that I can then select the healthiest from?


Ugh. Bunny drama is soul crushing.
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Re: Thoughts on suppressing suspected pasturella

Post Number:#2  Unread postby alforddm » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:02 pm


You might try reading through this thread. treating-pasteurella-infected-does-prior-to-kindling-t3482.html

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Re: Thoughts on suppressing suspected pasturella

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Ferra » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:13 pm


Just finished that one and was moving on to the rest of the series. :)

What I find interesting there is that the flouroquinolones (Baytril, the ciprofloxacin I used, etc) were noted NOT to completely eliminate pasturella in treated rabbits, despite there being several studies indicating that the flouroquinolone class is capable of inducing asymptomatic cure in rabbits. The studies probably ended with the rabbits developing their own immunity in that case?

Which given symptoms have come back means my doe may not have developed a full immunity in our first bout with this illness - which is disheartening.
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Re: Thoughts on suppressing suspected pasturella

Post Number:#4  Unread postby alforddm » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:07 pm


It's been my understanding that asymptomatic rabbits are not cured rabbits. At any time stress or additional disease can cause a recurrence. It has to due with the way the sinus in rabbits work. Antibiotics have to reach the infection in order to eliminate it. That is difficult in rabbits because very little blood flow reaches the sinuses.

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Re: Thoughts on suppressing suspected pasturella

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Prisma » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:15 pm


alforddm is very right. Asymptomatic rabbits may never again show signs or could when stressed, but they can pass it on to others and cause a whole host of trouble. I will not treat or try to treat because it is too risky, any thing that does what that doe has done would be gone yesterday. I've seen too many herds destroyed and had my fav buck end up with some thing because of some one bringing it to a show.

The other thing is even though it is possible to breed out healthier stock, you have to have a very strict isolation and an absolute one snot your done with the kids. You'd have to stress and test every one, because kits can be asymptomatic carriers too and not show it until stressed (or again in some cases never show it).

Have you thought about getting a nose swab done to see what you are dealing with? I would do that before I go on if I was dead set on trying to weed it out really. I had heard on FB that Bob Glass from BunnyVac would do a swab relatively cheap, but I haven't checked it out. Maybe some thing to look into?
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Re: Thoughts on suppressing suspected pasturella

Post Number:#6  Unread postby alforddm » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:53 pm


Thank you Prisma! I was wracking my brain trying to remember who did the swabs and I couldn't for the life of me think of it.

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Re: Thoughts on suppressing suspected pasturella

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Ferra » Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:19 pm


Hrm. That is a good point. I am kicking myself for not having ordered a gram-stain kit with my microscope.

I am a trained microbiology tech, and both pasturella and bordatella are opportunistic human pathogens I have been trained on. I just lack the equipment to use my training right now. Not like I'm set up with a class 2 lab and culture/isolation media. :(

The lab you linked is certainly cheaper than getting myself kitted out for ID, culture and sensitivity testing, and if I am going to make any big decisions I should probably know what I am dealing with...

And Prisma, I totally understand where you are coming from with your statement regarding culling. I will admit to being far more loathe to cull than I SHOULD be. Given how deep into this metaphorical rabbit-hole I already am (air travel, importation and all that) I just keep thinking I can't just go get another Angora, and I should try to "save" my investment. I am aware, though, that I could be setting myself up for a world of trouble...
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Re: Thoughts on suppressing suspected pasturella

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Ramjet » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:14 am


Just ask yourself if the expense of that one rabbit is worth losing your entire herd ....


If I see signs of that dreaded P word .... I'm culling any and all suspects. One rabbit simply isn't worth the years I've invested in my herd no matter where it came from.
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Re: Thoughts on suppressing suspected pasturella

Post Number:#9  Unread postby akane » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:53 am


Even healthy rabbits tend to test positive for a whole lot of things on swabs. It's not that they aren't carrying bacteria and virus but that they are immune to them so a swab doesn't prove what is causing the symptoms and a positive culture doesn't prove a rabbit that is going to have or pass on health problems. It might be possible to tell there is a higher concentration of the bacteria causing the problem for targeting antibiotics but just presence or not isn't always useful.

If it wasn't a new line of imports I'd say it's best to cull anything that at least can't recover without treatment. In this case everyone else has probably been exposed and I would give her time in isolation to see if she recovers. Since stress often brings on signs of illness and they likely have experienced a lot of stress while still young she might do fine settled in and as the immune system matures. You do have to consider if the odds of still getting weak offspring generations down the line and not knowing it until they are stressed by something is worth that particular rabbit. You might save yourself generations of breeding for her traits but you might spend generations before you can be certain they will remain healthy. If you sell any from the first few generations you could be spreading that weakness or carriers of an uncommon strain for your area to other rabbitries. One healthy set of kits won't really prove you bred out the weakened immune system. You could still be dealing with it generations later.
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Re: Thoughts on suppressing suspected pasturella

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Ferra » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:39 pm


Thanks Akane, I have found your thoughts extra helpful.

The new Angoras are absolutely the most important thing to me right now. My existing herd, well, I love them... (Fox especially - she's a champion cuddler. May have accidentally bred a pet...) But they're middling producing meat mutts. SarniaTricia suggested in another thread that if I didn't think I could find a home for my herd sire, it was pretty certain there were many other higher producing rabbits in the area and I shouldn't be too concerned about removing some of my herd - and it is largely true. Any purebred commercial breed could kick my existing herd's butt. (Avg weight 3.5lbs at 8 weeks) The point of my current herd was to practice and get skills for when I finally got the angoras.

So asking me if it's worth risking my current herd? Yeah... to me it is. The angoras are the raison d'etra for my getting into rabbit raising. The meat herd was my husband's (excellent) suggestion to practice before spending hundreds of dollars on rabbits. (Current investment, including air transport = ~800 CAD. But I did get good stock, from one of our own - I don't regret a dollar of it.)

Which makes this complicated. I'm more than willing to cull hard.... AFTER I establish enough numbers with the Angoras that culling won't wipe them out or overly restrict the gene-pool. Priority one is keeping the French Angora lines, and keeping them happy/healthy.

The good news? Patient Zero is improving in quarantine, without treatment. Her symptoms are better, but she's staying out there for now. I think maybe I should keep her in isolation, maybe even through her first litter. The other two appear well, and no other rabbits are showing symptoms. So fingers crossed everything stabilizes, and I at least get the chance to cull my way towards bullet-proof bunnies.

I am just absolutely terrified that after two full years of planning and practice something will go off the rails here, and I'll lose the shot I've got to establish the little guys up here. It's kinda why I wanted to bounce this off a neutral party (or five).... I am in waaay too deep to be objective here.
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