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View Full Version : Sick rabbit - very dirty and smelly plus not eating



Whitelighter
08-10-2013, 01:31 PM
Ok,

So we have been looking after a school class rabbit for the last few months. We had her for the summer and before she went back she produced 4 little babies so we kept her - the plan being to return her and the kits after half term once they were 8-9 wks and weened.

And up until this week everything has been hunky dory.

I noticed on Sunday that Rosie (the mum) was become a bit withdrawn and lethargic, but was still eating with the kits and being a bit dominant so thought maybe she was just a bit under the weather. Yesterday at feed time I noticed she didn't come out of the dark area of the hutch for feeding. I retreated and watch for 30minutes and while the kits ate Rosie never made an appearance. I went back out and picked her up to have a general check. The first odd thing was she let me pick her up - she doesn't really like it and usually protests. Second, I noticed the smell. She stank, like the worst farm yard you have ever smelt and her bottom was covered in sticky poo.

I washed her clean, towelled her dry and kept her in doors until her fur was dry. I also gave her a very small bowl of pellets and some Timothy hay but she seemed quite disinterested. I had a look in the hutch(which had been cleaned the day before) and while there are lots of small (kits) hard poos there are not any that I can see that are adult sized. I refreshed the contents of the hutch and once Rosie was dry I put her and the food back in the open side of the hutch where she stayed, but didn't make any obvious attempt to eat. I was working nights last night so couldn't monitor her.

When I got back at mid day today I check and she was again in the dark part of the hutch, right in the corner. Her chew stick (which she usually devours as her favourite treat) hasn't been touched, but again she smells terrible and her bottom is even worse than yesterday along with her hind feet, lower legs and haunches. I'm not convinced she is eating.

I have spoken to the Vet who looks after her and is Rabbit centric and have an appointment for this afternoon (5pm).

I have a couple of questions that the vet receptionist wasn't helpful on.

1. Should I clean her again or leave it for the vet to see.

2. Is there anything I can do to make her more comfortable

3. Should I take her away from the kits? I don't have a second hutch so she would have to go into the carry case, but she doesn't seem to want to move so that may or may not bother her.

I have had rabbits as a child and so far as I can see this is probably terminal, I have already told the school but I don't want it to affect the kits (5 weeks old and I think fully weaned) and I might as well try and make what time Rosie has left comfy.

RavenMoon
08-10-2013, 01:38 PM
I believe the kits won't be fully weaned yet as they shouldn't be away from mum until 8 weeks. She needs to see the vet as quickly as possible, not as part of a routine appointment as her survival is important to her kits. With the weather the way it is you want to keep her clean as there are still flies around, where are they being kept and how much space do they normally have especially at school? It worries me if they are kept at school as rabbits can go downhill quickly and with nobody to supervise them this can obviously be fatal.

Without knowing what the problem is you can't tell whether it will be fatal or not, it may be that caring for the kits has upset the balance in her stomach (how did she fall pregnant in the first place and who is paying for kits to be neutered and spayed ASAP?) or it may be coccidiosis which could end up fatal to the kits as well.

There are a lot of things the vet can do, Rosie needn't die so don't write her off.

catherine09
08-10-2013, 01:42 PM
If I were you I wouldn't be waiting til 5pm to take her to the vets, especially as she has been like this for a few days. Sorry. Most vets if you tell them how urgent it is will be able to fit you in ASAP. It's really crucial she gets to a vet ASAP.

No, in no way does this mean it is definitely terminal. It sounds like stasis combined with excess caecals/diarrhoea. Of course if left untreated it would most definitely be fatal (and quickly), but both things can be treated very successfully.

Please get her to vet now. Really she should have gone as soon as you found her like that, but she definitely needs to go now

benjiboom
08-10-2013, 01:48 PM
Hi:wave:you definitely need to get rosie to the vets as soon as you can, she is obviously in pain that is why she is sitting hunched in the hutch, she is trying to hide her pain which is what bunnies do:cry:she needs pain relief and a good check over as it sounds like she hasnt eaten or pooped fot at least 24 hours, bunnies tummies are very delicate and they can go downhill very quickly, it sounds like she is in stasis now and so a vet trip is needed as soon as you possibly can, good luck and lots of vibes for rosie.

Whitelighter
08-10-2013, 02:07 PM
Thanks so far.

In answer to a couple of questions.

RavenMoon, the fact I have had her over the summer perhaps suggests that they aren't just left at school? Anyway, to set your mind at ease, at school they have a large outdoor covered area plus a 4ft hutch each plus a large indoor cage for when they are in class during the school day. The school has a caretaker on site 24 hours (they live on site) who looks after the rabbits after hours plus staff and selected children take the pets home weekends and holidays. But then I was after help not a lecture on living standards.

We think the father is one of the other school rabbits but we aren't sure.

As for the kits, we are keeping two, and one of the other teachers is keeping two. I imagine I will pay for neutering, vaccinations and a nice big duplex hutch and run arrangement for our big garden.

Thanks for all who have said it needn't be terminal. She's a nice rabbit, despite the fact she doesn't really like me, and it would be a shame to lose her.

Interesting Bout the weaning thing. There seems to be so much conflicting information about this on the web. I have heard anything from 3-4 weeks to 4 months. Our plan was to leave them all together until 9 weeks (which is just after half term) and then separate them. I only mention the weaning thing as I haven't heard the usual scrabbling as they inverts onto their backs for milk like I used to do plus Rosie's nipples (?) seem of have shrunk/retracted a bit.

I did speak to the vets again but the vet is out on some sort of other emergency and won't be back until 3.30, them they have to sort a dog with a broken pelvis. I've going to head over after the school run and just wait and hopefully I will get in. Bit quicker.

The good news is now Rosie is in the transport case with some water, Timothy hay and a chew stick she seems to have perked up a little.

RavenMoon
08-10-2013, 03:21 PM
Thanks so far.

In answer to a couple of questions.

RavenMoon, the fact I have had her over the summer perhaps suggests that they aren't just left at school? Anyway, to set your mind at ease, at school they have a large outdoor covered area plus a 4ft hutch each plus a large indoor cage for when they are in class during the school day. The school has a caretaker on site 24 hours (they live on site) who looks after the rabbits after hours plus staff and selected children take the pets home weekends and holidays. But then I was after help not a lecture on living standards.


I am glad to hear she has perked up, hopefully the vet visit will bring some answers and she'll start eating to keep her guts moving since this is the biggest worry with unwell rabbits.

Please appreciate that you are on a forum that advocates rabbit welfare, I asked because I wasn't sure what happened during term time and my own schools have never had on site caretakers.

I would highly recommend getting Rosie and any other females you keep spayed, as there is an 80% chance of female rabbits developing uterine cancer by the ages of 5, unfortunately. There was a recent case on here where a bun had previously been unable to be spayed due to health reasons and was spayed at 3 years old, they ended up having to remove a kidney as she had developed cancer and it had ruined her insides :(

Hoppla
08-10-2013, 03:48 PM
9 wks is ideal for the babies :thumb:

Gut related problems in rabbits unfortunately always have the potential to be fatal. Sometimes rabbits go down hill rapidly and die within hours somtimes after days and sometimes they survive.

The best course of action is, if your rabbit is not interested in food to see the vets asap.
The quicker a rabbit receives treatment the higher the chances of survival are.
Gut problems in rabbits are that complicated, that even a vet can't always anticipate if a rabbit is going to survive.

When I had my first encounter of gut stasis I completely underestimated the danger cos I thought rabbits were like cats or dogs.

Soft poo can also be caused by feeding rabbit muesli, pellets, bread, too many fresh greens, fruit......etc...

Good luck with the vet appointment :wave:

Whitelighter
08-10-2013, 06:20 PM
Just back from the vets.

Good news is after a pretty extensive exam Rosie seems to have no intestinal blockage, doesn't have a temperature and has no dental issues.

She definitely has something up with her bowels though and the vet couldn't say for sure what the cause was. She has lost quite a bit of weight since her last visit, and the vet confirmed that she was no longer feeding milk to her kits - though the vet said with them 5 weeks this was fine.

Rosie now has a course off fibreplex (2ml three times a day) plus panacur once a day for at least 9 days. The vet also gave her an injection but I don't know what it was. She did start to drink quite heavily after all of the above and nibbled some mint, so hopefully things are looking up.

It will be back in the bath tonight to clean her bum, vet suggested this would need to be done daily for the next couple of days until she starts to recover.

Just thought I'd let you know how we got on since you all seemed quite interested.

benjiboom
08-10-2013, 07:17 PM
Hopefully she will have been given an injection of a painkiller, if not she really needs one, rabbitz wont eat if they are in pain but it sounds like the vet may have given painkiller in the injection, especially if she is starting to nibble on food. The things my bun likes to eat during recovery is parsley(flatleaf) and curly kale:thumb:

Karen's
08-10-2013, 11:41 PM
I hope Rosie starts to feel better soon, fingers crossed for her.

Tamsin
09-10-2013, 12:05 AM
The weaning thing is a bit complicated, they cut down on milk around the 4 week mark, so can survive on their own from then if absolutely necessary. But, they generally feed a bit still and they are very sensitive to change so although they don't need the milk later, you are right to keep them with mum until at least 8 weeks :)

I imagine part of the grumpiness is down to hormones - spaying would probably sort it. It might be worth suggesting it to the school. I believe the Rabbit Welfare Association have some info for schools. The housing etc. sounds okay but neutering would be good, otherwise it's easy for accidental litters to turn into a problem. I know one of the local nurseries to me have a nice enclosure with neutered rabbits and I'm sure the children enjoy watching them playing with their toys etc.

Try tempting her with different foods - their tastes can be different when they are under the weather and she might take different food. It's important to keep getting food in and cleaning the hutch was a good idea so you can monitor what comes out too! If she doesn't continue to build up what she's eating within the next few hours you might need to syringe feed her - smash up her pellets into powder, mix with water, chop the end off a syringe and feed her.

cara
09-10-2013, 12:49 AM
Just picking up on something you mentioned earlier (and this might not go down very well :oops:) - personally, I don't think rabbits are at all suited to be ferried here and there and in and out of class. They are such nervous creatures - it must be very stressful :(

It is such a shame she became pregnant in the first place. For a school to be responsible and, importantly, to be seen to be responsible, all the rabbits, ideally, should be spayed/neutered. This should be promoted by the school itself.

Good luck in getting Rosie back up to strength :)

Vegan_Bunny
09-10-2013, 01:04 AM
I can only echo what others have mentioned. Getting her speyed is a must. I also agree with the previous poster about her going home with the children every weekend. This will certainly upset any rabbit's tums. They really aren't designed to be passed from pillar to post and it will most definitely stress them out, especially if they are likely to be pregnant.

I do hope that she recovers well. Did the vet not give her any pain killers? I would presume the injection would be either a gut stimulant or pain killer..ideally a rabbit with a poorly tum would need both, as well as oral pain killers for the next few days. A rabbit in pain will not eat, and this can quickly lead to serious illness and even death.

Sending her and kits vibes. x

Whitelighter
09-10-2013, 07:56 AM
I have mentioned the neutering thing to the school but ultimately it's their decision. I'm trying to give all the rabbits the best care I can while I have them to look after.

The two kits we keep will be spayed/neutered for sure.

Checked on all this morning and Rosie has a clean bum still(yay) and there are a few adult sized droppings in the hutch. Plus her chew stick has been eaten and its in place that only she can access, so it must have been her. Which is good.

I forgot to mention yesterday the vet did give me some high intensity food to mix up and syringe in. Not sure Rosie is going to enjoy it much but she has to eat.

EffyDaydream
09-10-2013, 11:03 AM
I have mentioned the neutering thing to the school but ultimately it's their decision. I'm trying to give all the rabbits the best care I can while I have them to look after.

The two kits we keep will be spayed/neutered for sure.

Checked on all this morning and Rosie has a clean bum still(yay) and there are a few adult sized droppings in the hutch. Plus her chew stick has been eaten and its in place that only she can access, so it must have been her. Which is good.

I forgot to mention yesterday the vet did give me some high intensity food to mix up and syringe in. Not sure Rosie is going to enjoy it much but she has to eat.

Glad she's starting to look a bit better! :thumb:

benjiboom
09-10-2013, 02:17 PM
How is rosie doing today, hope shes starting to eat again:wave:

Whitelighter
09-10-2013, 02:38 PM
How is rosie doing today, hope shes starting to eat again:wave:

Few more droppings. Gave her the fibreplex and some critical care - still not sure she is eating much on her own.

We lost a kit this morning as well. Don't know why, was out in the garden till 10.30 when I put them all back in and when I checked after the lunch feed it was dead in the corner still warm. Pretty gutted as it was my favourite.

Jack's-Jane
09-10-2013, 03:41 PM
Few more droppings. Gave her the fibreplex and some critical care - still not sure she is eating much on her own.

We lost a kit this morning as well. Don't know why, was out in the garden till 10.30 when I put them all back in and when I checked after the lunch feed it was dead in the corner still warm. Pretty gutted as it was my favourite.

Can you get a PM on the Kit ? It may be that you have a coccidiosis issue and if you do it is likely all in contact Rabbits will be effected, kits are unlikely to survive :cry:

Whitelighter
09-10-2013, 04:01 PM
Can you get a PM on the Kit ? It may be that you have a coccidiosis issue and if you do it is likely all in contact Rabbits will be effected, kits are unlikely to survive :cry:

Yep, the kit is already at the vets, though I don't know how long this sort of thing takes.

Initially the vet has said it looks like an internal humour age as there is blood still seeping from the bottom and a bit round the mouth.

Vets thinks it might have been kicked by Rosie and died due to internal injuries :(

In a way I hope that isn't true. I don't know now if I should leave the others in with Rosie

Rosie42
09-10-2013, 04:08 PM
Yep, the kit is already at the vets, though I don't know how long this sort of thing takes.

Initially the vet has said it looks like an internal humour age as there is blood still seeping from the bottom and a bit round the mouth.

Vets thinks it might have been kicked by Rosie and died due to internal injuries :(

In a way I hope that isn't true. I don't know now if I should leave the others in with Rosie

Blood from the bottom and mouth could be VHD. Is mum vaccinated?

Whitelighter
09-10-2013, 04:22 PM
Blood from the bottom and mouth could be VHD. Is mum vaccinated?

Vet said yesterday that all the jabs are up to date so is assume yes.

Whitelighter
11-10-2013, 08:39 AM
I took Rosie to another vets as I wasn't happy she still wasn't eating.

This vet said she had a small blockage and kept her overnight to monitor eating/pooping.

Apparently she stared to eat on her own but the blockage got worse overnight, gas built up and Rosie passed away in the night.

The vet said she can't relieve gas in the cecum.

That's two rabbits in three days. Not very happy this morning.

Hoppla
11-10-2013, 09:24 AM
I am very sorry for your loss:( It sounds like you are really trying. Rabbits have a very complex and sensitive digestive system.

Did your vet give you Oxbow Critical Care? I found it always helped my rabbits to recover from an illness and put on weight again.

http://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/vets/products/critical_care_fine

As the kits are so young you need to be careful with the amount of fresh greens you feed. I would only feed small amounts of fresh herbs.
Dill is easily tolerated, helps with digestion and increases appetite.

Have to echo what others said, pls have a pm done on the dead kit to be a 100% certain what the cause of death is and to be able to treat the remaining kits.

As rabbits are prey animals they hide their illnesses very well.
If a rabbit looks unwell or goes of its food, it is very seriously ill. They are not like cats or dogs.
Also there are very few vets around who are rabbit experts. My vet told me that they are not really taught about rabbits at uni. Rabbits get covered more as an after thought.

You are doing exactly the best you can by going online and researching information and seeking help on a forum. Pls discuss everything with your vet, you need to advocate for your rabbits.

Good luck hope you manage to save the remaining kits.:wave:

Are they kept indoors now with mum dead and the temperatures plummeting?

Whitelighter
11-10-2013, 09:33 AM
I haven't thought about where to keep the kits. They are fully furred and the vet said they'd be ok. I gave moved them to the garage and can put a heater in there.

I did have critical care for Rosie but getting her to take it was tough.

The baby has had a pm done - death was caused by an internal haemorrhage - I looks like she was kicked by Rosie. I can't see a cat got into the hutch or anything and the other kits were too small to do the damage. The kit that dies was always the smallest and was always nervous and kept herself deprecated from the others.

I think I took Rosie to the wrong vet. The one who had her last night and will look after the kits has said she is well trained specifically on rabbits and sounds a lot more thorough. Maybe if I'd taken Rosie there on Monday....

Barn Yard Bunnies
11-10-2013, 10:25 AM
I am so sorry you lost Rosie and one of the kits. :cry:

Vegan_Bunny
11-10-2013, 12:14 PM
Don't blame yourself. You are obviously trying your best. You can't have known that the first vet was no good. Unfortunately we often learn this the hard way. :( Blockages are difficult for rabbits to recover fully from, and they need very intense care, and sometimes surgery to remove it.

I hope the rest of the kits thrive.

Binky free little baby and Rosie. xx

tulsi
11-10-2013, 07:48 PM
Sorry to hear this sad update. It sounds like you are doing everything you can. Best of luck to the remaining kits x