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Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Diagnosing and treating rabbit ailments. *Caution! These threads may contain graphic content.*
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Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#1  Unread postby LittleFluffyBunnies » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:45 am


So I have a doe with a litter of 11 day old kits. This is her third litter. This morning we found a kit out of the nest, bleeding everywhere. Her entire front leg was severed up to just below the shoulder. The wound has clean edges, so it looks like it was bitten off. We brought her inside and warmed her up, and I syringe fed her electrolytes. She went into shock. We stopped the bleeding but it's oozing again. She appears to have miraculously survived the shock. She is quite active.
She was on the tile in the cage when we found her, and I think it had happened very recently. There was blood all over the tile, but no where else in the cage, so I think it happened there. My dogs were inside when it happened and can't even reach the cage. The only thing that makes sense is if the doe bit it off. She has always been nippy with her kits when they leave the nest, but has never drawn blood, but it makes sense.

What should I do with the kit? Even if she survives, the wound is large, open, and the bone is exposed. I'd be afraid of it going septic. I could ask a vet to stitch it. What are her chances? Should I try to save her, or end her suffering? I would hope she survives but it is very serious for such a young kit. UPDATE: I took a closer look, and it's worse than I thought. The leg is severed right in front of the "elbow" joint, so that every time she moves her leg the bone sticks out of the wound, and it bleeds more. I don't know if that's even possible to heal.

If the doe caused the injury, I'm nervous to leave the other kits with her. Should I risk it, or separate them? I have another doe with a litter the same age, but I would think 11 days is too old for fostering safely. If I need to, I can house the kits by themselves and nurse them on the doe by hand, until they are old enough to wean.
What is the doe's future? If she is likely to injure her kits again, I'd rather retire her from breeding.
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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#2  Unread postby UFCreel » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:22 am


Ether take to vet immediately or cull immediately.

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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#3  Unread postby PSFAngoras » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:23 am


IMO I would cull a kit with that bad of an injury. You could take it to a vet, but as small as kits are I wouldn't be surprised if they suggested the same thing. I'm sorry for your experience and for the little one, but it's the most humane thing to do at this point.

Again, this is my opinion, but As for the doe, I believe that the kit got out of the nest, either on its own or probably latched to a nipple feeding when the doe jumped out. Rabbits don't have the capacity to pick their kits up and return them to the nest, so their instinct usually tells them to remove the exposed kit to reduce the risk of the other kits being found by a predator. The only thing they can do is eat the kit. Not all does do this, I've found many a live kit wandering in the cage before they should, but it's instinctual. She's just trying to be a good mom to the rest of the litter. I wouldn't retire her, but maybe attach a scrape board to her nest next time around to make sure the kits aren't pulled out on accident.
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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#4  Unread postby LittleFluffyBunnies » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:29 am


Thanks so much for the info. It's very helpful.

I did end up taking the kit to the vet just to see what they'd say, and they said it's worth a shot to try and save her. She's going to get stitched up and we just have to take good care of her and hope that she doesn't get an infection. She might still not make it but at least we tried.

With her stitches and having to be kept warm all times, is it fine to put her back or should I hand-raise her? I can feed her on the mom so it wouldn't be a problem.
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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#5  Unread postby shazza » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:56 am


it may have also been a predator. rats, raccoons, and weasels have been known to bite off limbs through cage bars. does cannibalizing live kits is fairly uncommon. she probably pulled it out on a nipple, then it was attacked by a predator.

i agree with psf though, i would cull that kit :( at that young of an age there's likely not much a vet can do.
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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#6  Unread postby alforddm » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:37 am


After the vet sews her up, you should be able to return her to the nest. Just check her a couple of times a day for infection, and seeping blood. You don't want seeping blood in the nextbox for sanitary reasons. You will also need to check that she is getting fed. If she shows signs of not being able to complete with her littermates, then try to supplement.

Smell the wound, it shouldn't smells sour or rotten. A small bit of smell is generally ok but anything strong is a sign of infection. If it starts to weep clear or bloody fluid that is a sign of infection. If the wound feels hot to the touch, again sign of infection.

I hope she makes it for you.

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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#7  Unread postby LittleFluffyBunnies » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:10 pm


Thanks so much! I fed her on the doe tonight, and I'm going to keep her in, as it was her first night, just to be sure she's ok. I'll see about returning her in the morning, although I might feel better keeping her in so I can watch her :oops:

She did fine at the vet, got her stitches and cuddled with the nurses, everybody loves her now :lol:

I'll keep a close eye out for infection. Hopefully she pulls through. If she does she'll definitely stay with me.

I would be kinda surprised if it was a predator :? we don't have raccoons or weasels where I live, although there could possibly be a rat. Or maybe a cat? I don't know how it would have got to her though, my cages are suspended about 4 1/2 feet high on wood poles, with nothing attached underneath or to the sides of the cages.
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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#8  Unread postby UFCreel » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:31 am


Glad you did what you did. Hope she makes a full recovery,

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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#9  Unread postby faiththequeen » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:10 pm


WHOA! I hope the little guy does okay.
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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#10  Unread postby AmberRae » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:01 pm


I would tend to think a predator did that. That being said be careful to watch any of the other babies that find their way out of the nest box.

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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#11  Unread postby shazza » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:48 pm


LittleFluffyBunnies wrote:I would be kinda surprised if it was a predator :? we don't have raccoons or weasels where I live, although there could possibly be a rat. Or maybe a cat? I don't know how it would have got to her though, my cages are suspended about 4 1/2 feet high on wood poles, with nothing attached underneath or to the sides of the cages.

you'd be surprised. maybe a cat couldn't, but a rat absolutely can. i've watched rats climb up the outer wall of a metal building before...they are surprisingly acrobatic. it could have easily climbed the poles, down the suspension system, and along the sides of the cage to get at its prize.

cats generally aren't known from what i understand to eat things through cages, but rats, absolutely. they're a scourge. my neighbours have wood and junk piles right next to the fence between us, so the rats have found their way under our hours and into my hay. i had to throw all my nesting hay out because the rats kept getting in it and i lost a few kits to them when they were at their worst. we haven't seen too many in the shed lately but i still hear them underneath the house and see them skulking around my compost >>


glad to hear its doing well though. hope it pulls through alright!
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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#12  Unread postby LittleFluffyBunnies » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:15 am


Very interesting :?
We did have a mouse problem recently that we had to deal with, so I guess it's not a far stretch to think a rat could have done it. That would be comforting to know the doe maybe isn't the culprit, but I do hope we don't have a rat problem now. I'll definitely try and keep the kits in as best as possible and watch out for rats.

In other news, the little kit has done very well. I'm keeping her inside with a hot water bottle so I can keep a close eye on her. I bring the mom in twice a day and feed the kit on her. Her sisters also join her during the day so she's used to them. So far I've seen no signs of infection, fingers crossed she continues to do well.
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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#13  Unread postby a7736100 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:02 am


A kit that young should heal well. Personally I would keep it indoors a few days just to be safe.

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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#14  Unread postby LittleFluffyBunnies » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:07 pm


Just wondering, should I be doing anything to clean the wound? It is sutured and everything but I wasn't sure if I should be cleaning it. The vet didn't specify. I did clean around the sutures with diluted betadine today, and made sure it was dry afterward.
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Re: Young kit injured, what now? Please help. *GRAPHIC*

Post Number:#15  Unread postby AmberRae » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:54 pm


We had rats/mice getting into our cages through tiny holes and eating kits from the nest box. I don't think it's super common but it does happen. We almost culled a doe thinking she did it to her babies but decided not too. We are so thankful we investigated a little more because she's a great mom and now we bring in our nest boxes at night.
It was a very hard lesson to learn for us because we made so many adjustments to predator proof our rabbit enclosure. It never crossed our minds that rats could be an issue. We lost 6 kits before we figured it out.
I hope your little one makes it. As long as it doesn't get infected I would think it will get a long just fine. Are you administering any antibiotics?

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