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Rob
14-04-2005, 06:35 PM
Hi folks,

Most of you know the problems we've had recently with a couple of does.

We've been wracking our brains to get to the bottom of this and I think the answer might be blindingly obvious. (Now)

Excess calcium ?

OK they were 8 months old and had unfettered access to Timothy hay (low calcium) but also Suparabbit Excel and a mineral wheel (one of the brown ones) They also had a small handfull of veg every morning and evening, they'd settled on a few French beans and a small carrot between them. A little research indicates that the veg, wheel (obviously) and pellets were all high calcium.

Hindsight is 20:20 as they say, but I now remember that cleaning their litter trays was always an issue, as there was a build up of crystals in them where they'd peed. I had to use vinegar to dissolve it, that means it was almost certainly a carbonate of some sort. Calcium carbonate ?

They always had access to fresh water, both bowl and bottle, but do you think this diet was too rich ? They were never really fat but until now I had no idea that calcium was an issue in their metabolism.

I recently learnt rabbits don't regulate it like we do, their blood calcium levels go up and down with the content of their diet. Excessive calcium apparently can cause renal problems as it can crystalise in their kidneys or bladder when there's too much.

So, does anyone know of any software or system to record and analyse the likely mineral content of food being given to pets ? If not I'll have to try and knock one up...

Rob.

MoBunny
14-04-2005, 07:36 PM
rob,

Did they come from the same litter, is there anyway to check if they did what happened to the others?

Could it have been something they already had?

They were not very old and the diet you had them on was not unlike what others would have fed theirs.

Don't use wheel's myself as a good diet shoud give them all the nutrition they nead.

unless you had a PM done which is upsetting but is the only way of really knowing and then sometimes this is not conclusive, you will never really know.

We have all been there! I'm sorry to say

Best |Wishes

Maureen

Rob
14-04-2005, 08:10 PM
MoBunny,

I did have a PM done on the second which showed acute renal failure (hydronephrosis being the cause) No visible sign of stones.

I also went and requested a full set of path tests on all major tissues. They may bring something up.

This all may never prove anything of course but I have to at least try to find out.

Rob.

elve
14-04-2005, 09:21 PM
Sorry to hear about your bunnies dying Rob, and it's important to find out why, although it could be a number of things all together rather than just one thing.
Here's an article on renal failure in animals in general:
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/chronic_renal_failure.html

It's from this reference which I have on favourites - not sure if you have it but it's got masses on - a lot related to cats or parrots, but a lot for bunnies too - the 'health and care' link at the top of page gives a search for calcium content in veg and fruit too
http://homepage.mac.com/mattocks/morfz/rabrefs.html


Edana, Benji and Pepper :love:

Tamsin
14-04-2005, 09:28 PM
There is some info on calcium and calcium content of various veggies here: http://www.carrotcafe.com/n/calcium.html

What you were feeding sounds a fairly standard rabbit diet though so I'm not sure that on its own excess calcium may be the answer :?

Tam

Martin E
14-04-2005, 11:25 PM
Rob

The calcium issue rang a few bells with us here, just thought we'd describe our experiences with Jaro, it may have some relevance too.

firstly i have to say I'm not vet qualified in any way, these are just thoughts picked up from many vet visists and reading up on Jaros symptoms.

We had problems with our Jaro, a bundle of symptoms that could have been due to any number of reasons.

To cut a long story short, Jaro had very high blood calcium levels, but low levels of calcium in his urine, and no stones and little 'sludge'.

This was put down to renal failure (which bunnies can hide very well, apparently up to 75% loss of function before the symptoms can be visible)

The jury is out on what caused the renal failure in Jaro.

The vet believes it to be the result of E Cunniculi - a parasitic infection of the kidneys (or brain/nervous system). Jaro tested positive for the parasite - although a bunny can test positive without actually exhibiting symptoms, sort of like a carrier.

More recent articles seem to suggest that a large percentage of bunnies can carry the parasite, either from birth, or picked up from urine from an infected bun and never develop any problems.

The parasite can damage the kidneys which will lead to loss of function and renal failure. This will prevent the kidney from 'washing' calcium from the blood resulting in high blood calcium levels. It would also explain why urine / bladder calcium levels were low.

Another possibility - and the one that we 'feel' is more likely with jaro, just going on gut instinct, is that Jaro got a bladder infection from boarding one time, which meant that he was retaining urine rather than pee it out.

If the urine had backed up sufficiently, this can apparently cause kidney damage, which in turn pushed his calcium levels up.

Jaro now has bladder problems, and needs to be manually expressed daily.


Just thought i'd pass these thoughts on, as the high calcium levels may not be directly linked to high calcium intake - it all depends whether the renal failure is the symptom or the cause of the high calcium.

The diet you describe also does not seem to be particularly high in calcium, and a degree of crystalization in the urine is normal, but each bunny is different.

It maybe that they were both genetically susceptible to kidney blockages and even a moderate calcium diet was enough to trigger such a devastating reaction.

Buns are notoriously difficult when it comes to their health.

Sorry again for your loss Rob, not sure there is anything there that is of use to you, it was just that the renal failure struck a chord with me.

Martin

BevBunny
14-04-2005, 11:45 PM
Rob - i'm really sorry for your loss, its heart breaking when you lose one of them, and made worse by not really knowing what had happened to her. I'd be doing the same as you, and trying to find out as much as possible. As others have said, from what you've said I don't think Bonkers dietary calcium was a problem.

I have a bunny with calcium issues, but we're doing OK recently controlling it through his diet. He eats mostly timothy hay, a small amount of suparabbit, and the right vegetables - basically fresh peas and coriander. Its not just the calcium levels in the vegetables that you need to look at, its the oxalates as well. These are involved with the uptake of calcium. Carrots are high in oxalates. I have a lot of papers on the levels of this that and the other in vegetables, which is how my vet and I worked out how to look after Charlie. If you want them PM me with yours address and I'll send you a copy.

Just incase anyone reads this who has similar issues with a bun we put cystaid on charlies food - its for cystitis in cats and is basically glucosamide which helps rebuild tissue - so it helps Charlie to maintain the lining of his bladder which has probably been damaged by his 'sludge' and stones problems.

Martin E
14-04-2005, 11:54 PM
Just incase anyone reads this who has similar issues with a bun we put cystaid on charlies food - its for cystitis in cats and is basically glucosamide which helps rebuild tissue - so it helps Charlie to maintain the lining of his bladder which has probably been damaged by his 'sludge' and stones problems.

That sounds really interesting Bev. Jaro now has very poor bladder tone, just wondering whether something like that would help him to build some strength back up in his bladder walls to help him pee by himself again.

Where can you get it from ? and how do you administer it ?

thanks

Martin

BevBunny
15-04-2005, 11:01 AM
That sounds really interesting Bev. Jaro now has very poor bladder tone, just wondering whether something like that would help him to build some strength back up in his bladder walls to help him pee by himself again.

Where can you get it from ? and how do you administer it ?

Hi Martin, I get it from my vet, its called Cystaid and is produced by VetPlus. I pay about 40 or 50 I think for a bottle of 250 sprinkle capsules, then I just sprinkle one a day on his pellets. This is the main reason I still let Charlie have pellets in his diet else I'd probably move him to an all hay diet. Suparabbit and Science Select pellets are VERY high in calcium!

Cystaid is made for cats and it says on the bottle - 'The importance of the protective GAG layer lining the cats bladder is well recognised. However, some cats have a predisposed inability to produce the critical N Acetly D Glucosamine which is a precursor for GAG's.' Perhaps this happens in bunnies too.

Each cystaid capsule contains 125mg of N Acetyl D Glucosamine. Now, I know humans take glucosamine for various things (my mum takes it for arthritis and my other half used to take it after a rugby knee injury) so, you might be able to get something appropriate from a health food shop.

I couldn't tell you whether it helps Charlie bunny or not, fingers crossed he's OK, so we just keep on doing what we're doing. If you can't get hold of osme let me know, and 'll send you a few weeks worth of capsules to try, or I could give you my vets number they mail stuff to me so I'm sure they do it for you.

Fingers crossed for Jaro.

Martin E
15-04-2005, 11:19 AM
thanks again Bev

I'll try our vets first - we probably need to go tomorrow to get Jaro checked over anyway.

I'm sure it'll be another first for this vet with rabbits - they're not that experienced with them (very very few over here are) but they're very willing to learn - and that can be just as important, at least it may help someone else down the line in years to come.

thanks

Martin