To get the best from your rabbits, it’s very important you monitor their health and well being closely.
Just like humans, they need special care and medicinal administration when you notice their attitude, behavior and natural wellness suddenly changed.
Below are a list of common diseases, symptoms and possible cure/ drugs administration to take control of the situation.
An abscess is a pocket of fluid and pus caused by bacterial infection. Abscesses are relatively common in domestic rabbits and can be located anywhere on the rabbit’s body.
Abscesses may be caused by a bite, cut or other wound or occur in the mouth as a result of dental disease. They may also be caused by a foreign body such as a grass seed or wood splinter becoming embedded in the rabbit’s skin or mouth.
Symptoms includes rabbit not eating well, with droppings if affected on the mouth. If affected on the body, there will be a hard lump located somewhere on the rabbit’s skin.
Abscesses first need to be drained of the pus and fluid inside them. Antibiotics can be administered to the rabbit, e.g ivermectin
Bloat is a condition where the stomach becomes stretched by excessive gas content. The gas is caused by the bacteria in a rabbit’s stomach multiplying excessively as a result of incorrect feeding. This may be because the rabbit has eaten wet green food or grass clippings, mouldy hay or simply as a result of irregular feeding.
Symptoms includes hard, swollen ‘balloon like’ stomach, shortness of breath and restlessness.
In the early stages of detecting bloating in rabbits, a therapeutic massage can be given to the animals, lightly stroking the tummy towards the tail. If the pet starts to scream in pain and tries to break free, then this procedure should be stopped immediately.
For bloating, various medications used in human and veterinary medicine are excellent. In any pharmacy without a prescription, children’s “Espumizan” is released, which gives excellent results in the treatment of young animals.
The little rabbit is pipetted with this medicine right in the mouth. A single dose of the drug is 20 drops per 1 kg of live weight, and give it three times a day with an interval of 3 hours.
Adults can be given “Tympanol” containing tincture of wormwood and hellebore, as well as a defoamer. This is an extremely concentrated medicine used to treat cattle and horses, which have swollen stomachs due to overeating.
Coccidiosis is a common disease that affects other domestic animals such as dogs, as well as rabbits. It is caused by microscopic parasites that finds it’s way into the intestine and is transmitted by direct contact with infected animals or their urine, faeces, bedding or water.
Symptoms includes diarrhoea, rapid weight loss, bloated stomach, rough coat and tremors.
Infected rabbits should be isolated and their living quarters thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant.
Treatment is with an oral medication and the most applicable in a pet rabbit situation is generally toltrazuril. This is generally given for a course of 2 days then repeated 5 days later.
You can also introduce
for the treatment as it is discovered to be very effective and also helps prevent occurrence.
Diarrhoea is usually caused by another illness but can also be caused by incorrect diet, stress, cold and draughts.
It is also a pointer that your Rabbit might have other diseases, with the result of diarrhoea, which might need strict attention.
Symptoms includes liquid or very runny faeces, with wet, dirty bottom.
Treatment of diarrhea in rabbits involves identifying and treating the cause. During this period, ensure fiber in the diet is increased (often nothing but hay may be offered within this period.)
You can introduce the use of Antibiotics to the affected rabbit such as ivermectin.
Bella Immune Booster can also be administered to take care of healthy up keeping of rabbit and maintaining it’s immune system balance.
5. Ear mites (canker)
Ear mites (Psoroptes cuniculi) can invade a rabbit’s ears causing irritation and eventually resulting in a brownish crust inside the ears. This condition is also known as canker and can be very painful and distressing to the rabbit.
Ear mites are highly contagious and can be spread on hay and other bedding.
Symptoms includes rabbit frequently scratches inside ears with back foot, rabbit frequently shakes head and ears and scaly crust inside one or both ears.
Ear mites can be treated with injections of ivermectin, antibiotics or both. Anti-inflammatory and pain relief drugs are sometimes also necessary.
Medicated ointments can also be applied to take care of the physical parts.
In severe cases the rabbit’s crusts inside the ears will need to be soften and carefully removed for fast healing.
Check inside your rabbit’s ears regularly for signs of any redness or irritation and maintain a clean living environment.
6. Heat exhaustion (heat stroke)
Heat exhaustion, also known as heat stroke, can occur when a rabbit is exposed to high temperatures, even for a short period of time. Rabbits cannot cool themselves down by sweating, only by dilating the blood vessels in their ears, so are susceptible to overheating which can be fatal if left untreated.
Heat exhaustion can be caused by the rabbit being in direct sunlight, in a hot car or next to a direct heat source such as a radiator.
Symptoms includes rapid breathing or panting, trembling or shaking and the rabbit lying stretched out.
Treatment includes moving your rabbit to a cooler place immediately and offer some water at room temperature, not cold.
To avoid heat exhaustion, ensure that the rabbit cage is in a shady position or put a large corver over it to provide shade.
Ensure your rabbits has access to water all the time.
7. Dental disease (malocclusion)
Dental disease is by far one of the most common problem seen in domestic rabbits today.
The scientific term for this dental disease is malocclusion, referring to the misalignment of teeth. The lines of teeth in a rabbit’s top and bottom jaw should match up perfectly when the rabbit grinds its food. As a rabbit’s teeth grow continuously throughout their life, when the teeth do not meet correctly they are not ground down at the same rate. This leads to overgrown front teeth (incisors) and/or to spikes forming on the back teeth (molars, or cheek teeth). These spikes cut into the rabbit’s cheek or tongue and can cause abcesses.
Whilst research is still going on into dental disease, it is commonly accepted that there are three main causes:-
Rabbits need a diet very high in fibrous material in order to grind their teeth down. 80% of a domestic rabbit’s diet should be hay or grass. Many domestic rabbits are fed primarily on dry food nuggets or mix which, while providing all the nutrients the rabbit needs, does not provide any fibrous material and fills the rabbit up quickly, leaving it with no desire to eat hay. Dry food and vegetables should be fed as a small supplement to this diet of hay.
Some domestic rabbits have been bred to look small and cute, with small heads and lop ears. These breeds have a higher risk of dental disease and it can be passed down to their offspring.
If a rabbit suffers a blow to the head it can knock the teeth out of alignment, or if it tugs on the bars of its cage or hutch this may also lead to misalignment of the front teeth.
Symptoms includes refusal of food or approaching food eagerly but unable to eat, dropping bits of food while eating, reduction in size of droppings or excess of soft droppings, weepy eyes, runny nose.
Treatment involves regular trimming or surgical removal of the teeth, procedures which themselves can cause significant stress and pain.
If discovered to be hereditary, such rabbit is not advised to be used for breeding, you can have it for meat purpose to further curb the re-igniting of this ugly situation in rabbits.
1. Bunny Hugga
2. Red Feather Farms