Enteritis but what type

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Hopless

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Hello-

Before I start I want to relay my vet is not available for fecal testing right now. Very rural and limited service. I'll give a run down of my situation and what I have done. If you have constructive feedback/ideas, please share.

Day 1- I changed feed due to supply issues.
Day 7- one 4 month old rabbit comes down with diarrhea. I gave gas drops, baytril, neomycin sulfate. He died the next morning.
Day 9- I find a previously healthy, no signs, 5 week old kit dead in a cage far from the 4 month old that died two days ago. His bum was wet.
Day 9- I also started coccidia treatment x 5 days as recommended [we are currently in our days off period]
Day 13- last day of the initial coccidia treatment another kit, form the same cage as the 5 weekend presents with diarrhea but this one definitely looked mucoid. I removed them and treated with neomycin sulfate, baytril. We are now on the third day and she's eating again and chipper.
Day 14- another kit from the same cage presents with what appears to be mucoid and I do the same treatment- baytril, neomycin sulfate. She is day two and seems to rebound and eating.
Daily 15- I find another 4 month old kit, who was completely separated from the others who had diarrhea [including the original 4 month old] that has diarrhea. It is thick and somewhat mucoid but not as much as the smaller kits. I treat her the same. I find her dead the morning of day 16.

My confusion is that I disinfected things when I found sick kits, I disinfect weekly infact, I run a very clean rabbitry. The two 4 month olds that died were not even close in cages, neither were they close to the younger kits. I treated for Coccidiosis, it apparently wasn't that. The neomycin sulfate worked for the small kits but not the 4 month olds. Typically, you lose kits and are able to save the older buns but this appears to be the opposite.

I have since taken away pellets and only given hay. I bought new feed, a different brand [have used previously with no issues]. I am happy to switch feed if needed. Could it be the feed even though I switched it a couple of weeks ago? I thought feed reaction would be rather quick?

If you're wondering why I gave baytril it is because if it is bacterial I wanted to give them a broad spectrum to help treat if so.

Thoughts on what it could be?
 

MaggieJ

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Hello Hopless, and welcome to RabbitTalk. Before we get to your issue, there is no need to post twice as you have done. New members must have their posts approved by a moderator, and there is sometimes a bit of time before this happens. I realize you need help right away, so let's get to it.

I am inclined to think this may be a feed issue. When you had to make the first change in feed because of a supply issue, were you able to phase in the new feed over a week or so? Changing feed brands abruptly is problematic (I can tell you are aware of this) and may have been the initial cause.

I'm no expert on enteritis. I raised rabbits for over ten years and saw it only once or twice in all that time. I credit this good fortune to the fact that I also fed specific fresh forage to the rabbits as well as pellets.

There were problems similar to yours during the summer of 2006 or thereabouts that were attributed to issues with several major brands of feed. I don't think there was ever any proof one way or another. Since I was already supplementing with certain green feeds, I began to to lean more heavily in that direction and over the next year phased out pellets completely. Instead I fed a diet of hay (grass and alfalfa mix), small amounts of whole grain, and as much fresh forage as the season allowed. End of enteritis.

There are several green feeds that combat diarrhea and related symptoms in rabbits quickly and safely. I have never medicated rabbits for these problems.

The common weeds plantain (Plantago major and related species) and shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) are excellent, as are the leaves of rubus species (raspberry, blackberry, etc.) and fragaria (strawberry).

These plants are all widely distributed in Europe and North America and many other parts of the world. Supply should be no problem. Fresh is best, but they can also be dried for winter use.

I'm going to post this now and come back to this discussion a bit later. In the meantime, hop out back and see if you can locate any of these plants. They are all safe foods for rabbits, even for youngsters.

~ Maggie
 
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Hopless

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Hello Hopless, and welcome to RabbitTalk. Before we get to your issue, there is no need to post twice as you have done. New members must have their posts approved by a moderator, and there is sometimes a bit of time before this happens. I realize you need help right away, so let's get to it.

I am inclined to think this may be a feed issue. When you had to make the first change in feed because of a supply issue, were you able to phase in the new feed over a week or so? Changing feed brands abruptly is problematic (I can tell you are aware of this) and may have been the initial cause.

I'm no expert on enteritis. I raised rabbits for over ten years and saw it only once or twice in all that time. I credit this good fortune to the fact that I also fed specific fresh forage to the rabbits as well as pellets.

There were problems similar to yours during the summer of 2006 or thereabouts that were attributed to issues with several major brands of feed. I don't think there was ever any proof one way or another. Since I was already supplementing with certain green feeds, I began to to lean more heavily in that direction and over the next year phased out pellets completely. Instead I fed a diet of hay (grass and alfalfa mix), small amounts of whole grain, and as much fresh forage as the season allowed. End of enteritis.

There are several green feeds that combat diarrhea and related symptoms in rabbits quickly and safely. I have never medicated rabbits for these problems.

The common weeds plantain (Plantago major and related species) and shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) are excellent, as are the leaves of rubus species (raspberry, blackberry, etc.) and fragaria (strawberry).

These plants are all widely distributed in Europe and North America and many other parts of the world. Supply should be no problem. Fresh is best, but they can also be dried for winter use.

I'm going to post this now and come back to this discussion a bit later. In the meantime, hop out back and see if you can locate any of these plants. They are all safe foods for rabbits, even for youngsters.

~ Maggie
Yes, new feed was phased in over 2 weeks.
 

MaggieJ

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Yes, new feed was phased in over 2 weeks.
That's good ... so often when the usual feed is unavailable, low supply at home means a more abrupt change. So at least you know it's not that.

What do you feed besides pellets and hay?

The high standard of sanitation in your rabbitry suggests to me that the problem is likely with the feed --especially since the afflicted rabbits are not in close proximity.
~~~~~
A couple of questions:
Do you have a protocol for sanitation of your hands when you feed and water your rabbits? It's always a good idea to care for the healthy ones first so as not to carry any disease germs to them.

Have you asked for an ingredients list as well as the nutritional breakdown for all three feeds that you have used? A comparison might point to a problematic ingredient if it is present in the feeds used during the outbreak and spread of the problem.
~~~~~
I strongly suggest you try the plants I suggested. It can do no harm and it may help. Rabbits in the wild self-medicate with certain leaves and bark. Your rabbits might benefit from the opportunity to do the same with species that are known to be safe and beneficial. In addition to the ones I mentioned previously, pain in rabbits can be safely mitigated by giving them twigs of willow or poplar. The inner bark contains a substance similar to the active ingredient in aspirin.

Hope the problem clears up. It must be awful to have an ongoing problem of this sort with no end to it in sight. Over medication can worsen some problems, so be careful with the remedies you give the buns.
 
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Hopless

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That's good ... so often when the usual feed is unavailable, low supply at home means a more abrupt change. So at least you know it's not that.

What do you feed besides pellets and hay?

The high standard of sanitation in your rabbitry suggests to me that the problem is likely with the feed --especially since the afflicted rabbits are not in close proximity.
~~~~~
A couple of questions:
Do you have a protocol for sanitation of your hands when you feed and water your rabbits? It's always a good idea to care for the healthy ones first so as not to carry any disease germs to them.

Have you asked for an ingredients list as well as the nutritional breakdown for all three feeds that you have used? A comparison might point to a problematic ingredient if it is present in the feeds used during the outbreak and spread of the problem.
~~~~~
I strongly suggest you try the plants I suggested. It can do no harm and it may help. Rabbits in the wild self-medicate with certain leaves and bark. Your rabbits might benefit from the opportunity to do the same with species that are known to be safe and beneficial. In addition to the ones I mentioned previously, pain in rabbits can be safely mitigated by giving them twigs of willow or poplar. The inner bark contains a substance similar to the active ingredient in aspirin.

Hope the problem clears up. It must be awful to have an ongoing problem of this sort with no end to it in sight. Over medication can worsen some problems, so be careful with the remedies you give the buns.
I keep raspberry leaves on hand so I have plenty and will give some today. I have compared ingredients but I also know of fellow breeders who told me this particular feed I switched to caused "soft stool" in their rabbits; however, mine wasn't soft it was definitely diarrhea. I'm baffled at being able to have kits but not fully weaned juniors.

I do wash my hands every time I handle them or their food as well as wear gloves when I clean trays and disinfect.
 

MaggieJ

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It seems to me you are doing all the right things. It is very strange that it is the older ones who are hardest hit.

Hope the raspberry leaves help. Please do post a follow-up to help others who may encounter similar problems.
 

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