Welsh's HoneyBuns Rabbitry
Colorado Springs, Colorado

lionhead, netherland and holland lop rabbits
in the pikes peak and front range region of colorado
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Health and Medical Issues
The information provided is the opinion of Welsh's Honeybuns based on our experiences and care as breeders. For any health issues always check with your rabbit vet on questions regarding the proper care! We have found the online Merk Veterinary manual to be very helpful

Illness: choose to see treatment below Medications/Remedies:
Birth - Breeding | Birth issues | Cold Kits | Dead Kits | Feeding kits | Ketosis | Line Breeding | Mastitis | Peanuts | Starving Kits | Stuck Kits | Vent Disease
General - Dehydration | Fly Control | Heat Stroke | Hiccups | Injections | Medicine (won't eat) | Not Eating | Odor Control | Oral Rehydration Therapy | Poison | Tattoo | Teeth Trimming |
Habits - Chewing plastic | Eye Scanning | Fur chewing | Pacing | Stomping | Wire chewing | Rocking | Spraying | Urinating
Infection - Abscess | Ear Infection | Eye Bulging | Eye Infection | Fly Strike | Fungus (skin) | Head Tilt | Hutch Burn | Mastitis | Mucoid Enteritis | RHD (Rabbit Hemorrhagic Viral) | Spirochetosis | Vent Disease
Injury - Broken Leg | Eye Bulging | Fly Strike | Hutch Burn | Paralysis | Sore Hocks | Spinal/Back Injury | Wounds
Intestinal - Coccidia | Diarrhea | Gas | GI Stasis | Hiccups | Mucoid Enteritis | Red/Orange-Urine | Wasting/Fader | Wool Block
Neurological - Epilepsy | Head Tilt | Heat Stroke | Paralysis | Siezures | Wry Neck
Parasites - Coccidia | Fly Control | Fly Strike | Fungus (skin) | Ear Mites | Fleas | Fur Mites | Lice | Pinworms | Wry Neck
Respiratory - Allergies | Bordatella | Hiccups | Snuffles/Pasteurella

Acetaminophen | Advantage | Amoxycillin | Am-Tech | Asprin (Children's) | Baytril | BeneBac | Bi-odor | Carbaryl | Corid | Critical Care | Dawn | Dextrose | Frontline | GasX (children's) | Ivomectrin | Lactated Ringer | Listerine | Mineral Oil | Motrin (children's) | Oxytetracycline HCl | Neosporin | Nutri-Cal | Parastem | Pedialyte | Penicillin | Permethrin | Piperazine | Preparation H | ProBak | Program | Pyrethrins | Revolution | Sevindust | Simethecone | Sulfa Drugs | Sulphametha-zine | Sulfatrim | Superglue | Systemajuv | TerraCleanse | Terramycin | Tetracycline | Tums | Twin_Pen | Tylenol | Vanodine | VetRX | Wazine | Zap-It

medication calculator for bunnies

Symptoms List: (this list is only GENERAL, it is not comprehensive, many of the things below could be caused by various problems )
Symptom
Wryneck
Heat
Stroke
Ear
Infection
Coccidia
Mucoid
Wool
Block
Bacteria Infection
Poison
Bordatella
Paturella
Spinal Injury
Upper Respritory Infection
Brain
Injury
Rolling
 
       
         
Head Tilted
 
                   
Thrashing
       
       
Siezures
       
       
Rigid  
       
         
Loss of Balance
   
   
   
Wasting away
 
 
 
Huddling in cage
 
   
   
Darting eye
                       
Change in personality
(if not pregnant)
                       
Paralysis of hind legs                    
   
Screaming  
                     
Foaming at the mouth  
       
         
Foaming at the nose  
       
         
Blood-shot eyes  
       
         
Drooling  
                     
Mucus in poop    
                 
Blood in poop    
                 
Clear globs in poop    
                 
Grean globs in poop    
                 
Extreme itching at ear    
                   
Shaking Head    
                 
Puss in ear    
                   
Distended stomach    
 
           
Gurgling stomach    
 
 
           
Grinding teeth      
             
Tiny poop (smaller than the rabbits regular poop)          
             
Not pooping          
             
Extreme diarrhea    
                 
Difficulty breathing  
       
 
 
Extreme Sneezing                
       
Clear/whitish nasal discharge            
 
       
Thick Green/ yellow nasasl discharge                  
     
Contagious
 
Quick death (24 hours-couple days)
 
 
 
 
 
Slow death (week or 2)        
       
 
 
Not deadly by itself                
 

Medication Calculator
http://www.medirabbit.com/Safe_medication/Analgesics/safe_analgesics.htm

Abscess
What is it? - Puss filled wound caused by bacteria / staff/ and other things like pasturella.
Symptoms - Hard lump under the skin, may ooze puss.
How do they get it? Previous wounds, receiving an injection which becomes infected, pasturella, staff and other things.
Treatment - The wound must be kept extremely clean. Shave around the area. Lance it with something steralized. Squeeze it firmly to get out the puss. It will likely be very thick and you may need to use a lot of pressure. Once you are sure the abcess is empty clean with peroxide / or terracleanse or / vanodine to steralize. Apply penicillin topically on the area and into the wound. You can get it at feedstores - "TWin_Pen"Penicillin G Benzathine and Penicillin G Procaine (labeled for cattle). IF you cannot keep this clean it may need to be removed surgically.

Abscess behind the eye / Eye Bulging
What is it? - Click here for larger picture. The eye is bulging far beyond it's regular location. Puss filled wound caused by bacteria / staff/ and other things like pasturella. In this case it develops specifically behind the eye causing the eye to bulge far beyond it's normal location.
Symptoms - Eye bulging way beyond what it should.
How do they get it? Previous wounds which become infected, pasturella, staff and other things, molars/teeth growing incorrectly inward causing an infection behind the eye.
Treatment - Antibiotics such as Baytril may be used. A vet needs to look at this, dignose if the problem is actually an abscess rather than cancer or some other problem and then prescribe what they think. If this is caused by the molars it can be a lifelong reoccuring problem.

Bordatella
What is it? - A bacteria which can cause a rabbit 'cold'. Also sometimes assumed to be 'snuffles'. Bordatella causes kennel cough in dogs.
Symptoms - Uncontrollable sneezing, a clear discharge around the nose (looks like water) which can also be present on front paws from the rabbit wiping their face.
How do they get it? Rabbits will not get viral colds from humans, but can develop these symptoms due to bacteria already existing in the rabbits system and other virus'. Stress to the rabbit is usually the cause. This can be due to showing, extreme temperature/humidity changes, travel, over-heating and many other things. It is highly contagious and is transferred from one rabbit to another through particles sneezed or wiped onto something which comes in contact with other rabbits.
Treatment - As with any rabbit disease, you should consult a vet as soon as possible. Rabbits have very delicate immune systems and respiratory problems can progress very quickly. It is also important that you know what is causing your rabbit 'cold'. A vet can perform a 'culture' which will identify the cause and the proper antibiotic. If you give the wrong antibiotic you can strengthen the cause and wear down your rabbit.
Common treatments include Baytril or Sulfatrim which are prescribed by a vet. We gave our infected rabbits .5cc 2 times daily for 2 weeks. The rabbits weighed from 2 lbs to 4 lbs. In our case the baytril did nothing and the sulfatrim cleared it right up.
Isolate the rabbit from all other rabbits to prevent spread of the infection. Move the rabbit into a cool, quite, low stress place.
Disinfect anything the rabbit has touched which is in contact with other rabbits. There are many different rabbit safe sterilizers sold online such as vanodine. Or you can use 1/32 bleach/water (rinse off after it has dried).

Broken Back
(see Spinal Injury / Paralysis)

Broken Leg
Our experience with a broken leg - Rabbits will inevitably get into some type of injury where you have no idea how they managed to hurt themselves. Ours was a broken leg. We went out to check the rabbits in the morning and there was our doe with a broken tibia (bone between the hip and knee). We took her to the vet who took some x-rays. She said if the foot had been broken they could have simply wrapped it, given her some pain medication and let it mend. But with this type of injury they would need to try a splint or perform surgery. The splint would be unreliable and would need to be changed and re x-rayed at least 4 times. They explained that a splint is not helpful unless it is placed exactly right. If the rabbit dislodges it, the splint could actually do more harm that good by putting pressure in the wrong area, causing additional pain, or even holding the leg incorrectly and preventing mending. A splint would be around $500. Overall they didn't know if a splint would work and they recommended surgery. Surgery would place a plate or pin inside the rabbits leg to hold it exactly where it needed to be. Depending on how much medication they needed the price would be between $800 and $1000. As always, with rabbits there is risk whenever they go into surgery that there will be problems. They said it was also a significant risk to the babies (the doe was 1 week pregnant). We were at a completely loss. Although we completely understand people who decide to pay for this type of surgery we just couldn't bring ourselves to invest that much into this situation. We didn't want her to be in pain and we asked the vet if there were any other solutions besides having to put her to sleep. The vet said in this case it was possible to let her heal on her own. According to the x-rays, the bone was right next to each other. It was a clean break and was actually still touching. She was also able to observe the rabbit the whole day and saw that the doe was eating and drinking as normal. The doe was even moving around the cage quite a bit. She said that if it were her rabbit, she would at least leave the rabbit for a week or so before making a decision. If the rabbit continued to eat, drink and act normal she seemed to feel that the rabbit wasn't in terrible pain. The doe probably wasn't comfortable but we could give doses of Children's Motrin to help. You can also use Children's Aprin. Do not use anything with Acetaminophen such as Children's Tylenol. She said the leg would mend but it wouldn't be as straight as if we had performed surgery. We were told to keep her in a small cage so that she wouldn't move around much. So we took her home - as is. Over the next few days the doe continued to groom, eat and drink as normal. Within 2 days she was moving around her cage so much that we decided to take her off the Motrin, in hopes that she could give the leg a little more rest. It seemed to have almost no affect - she continued to favor the leg, but to act very normal. Within a week she started gently itching her ear with the bad leg. Within 2 weeks she was itching like normal with her back leg. She would even stand on her back legs to greet us when we came to feed her in the morning. To be honest we were very happy that she seemed to feel so good but we were very concerned that she was using the leg so much. 3 weeks later she had her first litter. Instead of a nest box for her to hop in and out of, we make a 'nest' out of straw in the corner of the cage. We were also concerned that she wouldn't have enough control over the leg in order to keep the babies safe. She did wonderful though and seemed to have no problems birthing, feeding or taking care of the babies. After a month we moved her to a larger cage in order for her to hopefully be less bored. Her leg is not entirely straight (slightly out to the side) but she sits on it and uses it as normal. We are very careful when we let her out and where we let her play. We make sure she is never with other rabbits and that she doesn't get so excited that she starts to run around or kick. We need to be extremely careful with the leg to make sure she doesn't re-injure it. She seems completely happy and we look forward to future litters from her.

Coccidia (Coccidiosis)
http://www.rabbit.org/chapters/san-diego/health/vet-talk/coccidia.html
What is it? - Coccidia is a protozoa which affects the rabbit digestive system and or liver. This can be contagious to other rabbits depending on how many of the parasite they ingest. This typically only affects very young (4-7 weeks) or injured rabbits.
Symptoms - Very listless, limp rabbit. Mucus and blood in the rabbit's stool. (if the mucus does not have blood and the rabbits stomach is bloated you may have Mucous Enteritis) Very foul smelling stool. Excessive diarrhea. Mucus/blood/diarrhea everywhere - it's an explosive mess. This is extremely serious and will kill a young rabbit typically with 24 hours.
How do they get it? - Rabbits regularly have a small amount already in their systems. But if the rabbit is very young and something is introduced which stresses their system (lots of new fruit), their immune system may be overwhelmed. Typically however, rabbits come in contact with the protozoa through infected feces. Then when they groom their feet they will ingest the protozoa. A clean cage is essential for the health of your rabbit. They may not even get sick, it depends on how many protozoa they ingest.
Treatment -
You must keep the rabbit hydrated while they are battling this. (see dehydration below)
Corid is used as prevention and for treatment. For prevention Corid recommends 5 mg/day for every 2.2 lbs of body weight given for 21 days. For treatment of an effected animal the recommendation is 10mg/day for every 2.2 lbs of body weight given for 5 days. http://www.corid.com/pdf/CORID20.pdf . Or you can mix 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. Do not give less than 5 days. It is also available at http://www.kwcages.com
OR
The use of 1% of sulphametha-zine (sulfa drugs) in a mash may be effective, especially for the intestinal infection
Parastem (rabbitmedicinechest.com-available via FedX) fed directly to them orally (as much as they will swallow as often as possible) will also kill the protozoa. It is all natural and you can use on any age rabbit without overdosing. It is somewhat expensive.
Your rabbit has probably stopped eating. As your rabbit starts to gain its strength back, put rabbit pellets in a small amount of hot pedialyte. This will cause the pellets to expand and become soft. Then put the mush into an oral syringe and feed as often as the rabbit will eat it.

Dehydration
Symptoms - If your rabbit has stopped drinking and peeing. If their skin 'stays' in one place when you pinch it together rather than it immediately releasing back into place. If your rabbit has diarrhea.
How do they get it? - If your rabbit has been sick they are likely dehydrated because they don't feel like drinking or they are in pain or their body simply can't keep in the fluids.
Treatment -
Soak carrot tops in water to entice them to eat and get the fluid. Offer them apples and bananas, apple juice and pinneapple juice.
If they won't drink on their own you will need to feed them with an oral syringe. (note NEVER oral syring feed a rabbit on their back!! or they can easily breathe in the liquid). These are available at your vet or any pharmacy (baby syringe feeder). Feed them unflavored children's Pedialyte. This contains electrolytes and other things needed for dehydration which are not contained in regular water. If you can get it fast enough you can use Am-Tech rather than pedialyte (www.jefferslivestock.com), an amino acid formula used to combat the dehydration and get them the nutrients they need during severe illnesses. The important thing is that you need to quickly get your rabbit hydrated by whichever method they will tolerate.
If you don't have pedialyte you can make your own ORT (oral rehydration therapy) 1 cup water, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (since their system can be acidic when they are sick, this will help reduce that), 3/16 teaspoon salt.
If they are too weak to drink, or extremely hydrated and need immediate fluids, you'll need to get lactated ringer solution from your vet. This is for sub-cutaneus application (under the skin, not in the muscle or veins). It will come with a needle, syringe tubing, etc. Your vet can show you how to administer. I usually do about a golfball in size between the shoulderblades for an adult (small holland sized) rabbit. There's not really a risk of overdosing, but it can be painful for the rabbit if you 'overfill' an area. Once that goes down in size I administer again in a couple hours if they are still dehydrated. Do not reuse your needles, they dull after one use and can be very painful for the rabbit. They are also no longer steralized after use.

Diarrhea
What is it? - Runny stool - usually smells much worse than usual rabbit poop. Hair matted on the rabbits butt, poop caked in fur.
Symptoms - Can be accompanied by a listless rabbit, rabbit not eating or drinking, very foul smelling stool, blood or mucus in stool.
How do they get it? - There are many many different potential causes. Usually it is caused by a change in diet. This is less extreme and is usually not accompanied by a lot of diarrhea. The stool may just be a little looser than normal which will clear up in a few days. If the rabbit is very young or old and the diarrhea is severe, a common cause is 'coccidia' and mucoid enteritis. It can also be caused if a rabbit is on antibiotics. Antibiotics can kill the bad and the good bacteria in a rabbits stomach. This causes an imbalance in the digestive system causing diarrhea.
Treatment -
Isolate the rabbit in case it is caused by sickness
Disinfect anything the rabbit has touched including the cage
If you do not see any other signs of illness it may just be an imbalance in stomach bacteria, you can wipe some yogurt on their front paws. The rabbit will lick it off and hopefully 'rebalance'. Or you can use benebac (or probac) powder in their food to rebalance.
If the rabbit has blood or mucus in the stool see 'coccidia' and 'mucoid'
If the rabbit seems listless or is not drinking they are very likely dehydrated. This is a common side effect of diarrhea and you must help that immediately.
If the rabbit seems fine and the diarrhea is not very severe then just keep an eye on them and make sure they are drinking and eating. Typically this is caused by a change in diet, or by fruit. You can give them probac rabbitmedicinechest.com or benebac jefferslivestock.com in their water which will re-balance their intestinal 'good' bacteria. If your rabbit is on antibiotics you should definitely be giving them one of those in their water.
Thoroughly disinfect the animals cage. If bacteria is the cause of their diarrhea you need to make sure that is no longer present in their environment. (Vanodine is an easy, cheap and very effective disinfectant)

Ear Infection / Otitis Media & interna
What is it? -
Pressure inside the rabbits ear due to a bacterial infection which causes disorientation, head tilt, rolling in the cage etc.
Treatment -
http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Neurology/otitis_interna_media.PDF

Eye Infection
Symptoms - Swollen, red, pussy area AROUND the eye. (if the eye itself is bulging out you may have an abscess behind the eye) Eye crusted in goop, eye sealed shut. When the eye is semi open you may be able to see a milky whitish spot on the eye - or the whole eye may look milky white (blind).
How do they get it? - We haven't seen where they get it from. For us, it usually shows up in small babies once they move out of the nest box. It can be caused by an infection, crowded conditions or by something in they eye such as a piece of hay.
Treatment -
Gently cleanse the eye with warm water to remove the puss/crust and to allow the eye to open. Make sure you don't see anything in the eye such as a piece of hay. Use terramycin eye gel 3-4 times a day until the eye no longer crusts over. This has been very successful for eye infections for us and can be purchased online at (www.jefferslivestock.com) and other online feed stores. Usually we see results within hours of application.
Disinfect the cage and area around the rabbit. (Vanodine recommended)

Fleas
What is It? Blood sucking parasite on extrernal body of the rabbit. Visible if you look closely.
Symptoms - Itching, scratching
Treatment -
Wash in origional Dawn dish detergent (blue). I have heard this will kill the fleas almost instantly. Safe for the bunnies at any age.
Put a small drop of 'Advantage' flea/tick medicine on their ear. Revolution and Program are also considered safe for rabbits although none are officially approved in the US for rabbit use. Frontline should never be used on rabbits.
OR give a dose of Ivomec. 1% cattle injectable, .01cc (point zero one) per lb of rabbit. I wouldn't recommend using on younger than 8 weeks. If you don't want to use the liquid Ivomectrin you can use the paste for horses. 1/2 pea size on the tounge.

Fly Control
There are many home remedies such as vinegar in a gallon jug with small holes poked in the side. The flies go into the holes but cannot get out. There are also automatic fly sprayers which work quite well. They can be used inside or out and cover about a 10x20 area. They spray a small natural fly repellent at regular intervals. It uses natural pyrethrins. When used in medication directly on the rabbit, pyrethrins have caused our rabbits problems. But we have not had issues from the fly repellent used in the air. Many breeders that we know also use this method. These systems are available at www.kwcages.com. But the biggest control by far for our hutches, has been wood pellets in the drop pans (or whatever you use to catch the droppings and pee). There are special compressed wood pellets specifically for horse bedding, but this is very expensive. You can use wood stove pellets - they are the same thing. They expand when wet and keep the pans dry and odor free.

Fly Strike
What is it? - When flies lay their eggs on rabbits. The maggots hatch and can eat into the rabbit. Here is a good article on what to look for and how to treat.
http://www.tsukiyo.org/Health/Diseases/flystrike2.html

Fungus (skin)
What is it? - There are many different types with many different symptoms from different types of fungus'. This can be spread from one rabbit to another.
Symptoms - Very hard small 'bumps' on the rabbits body. They will be very small, only about 1mm in diameter. They are so hard they almost feel like bone. These are actually scabs and diseased skin. It can also show up as abnormal looking growths on the ears. It can show up on the rabbits bottom and back along the spine. It can show up in the rabbits ears and on the rabbits feet.
How do they get it? - It is usually caused from unclean conditions which are moist and promote fungus growth. (or in our case was passed to us from someone else's nest box) Usually a mother will have had traces of the fungus and will pass it to her babies within the nest box. The babies are less able to fight it and within a few weeks will have an outbreak on their skin.
Treatment -
Isolate the rabbit
Disinfect anything the rabbit has touched including the cage (this is to remove any fungus still in the environment). Vanodine is great for this (easy, effective and inexpensive)
You can use a topical fungicide powder from any pharmacy. Just use the over the counter stuff. Easy and usually works great.
Or you can soak the area in properly diluted Terra Cleanse rabbitmedicinechest.com. Terra Cleanse is oxygen rich and kills bacteria and fungus. It won't hurt your rabbit and is easy to apply to fur. Just use it in a spray bottle and make sure you soak down to the skin. NOTE: When working with any fungus wear plastic gloves. The 'bumps' will start to fall off within a week or so. Keep soaking the skin every other day until the rabbit is fully recovered.

Gas
What is it? - Gas could be caused by many many things. Gas is usually a result of something else - not the cause. It can be a result of GI Stasis , hiccups, wool block, change in diet, old age, intestinal kink and many other intestinal problems. You will need to try and find the cause if you are to avoid this in the future.
Symptoms - rabbit in extreme pain, rabbit grinding teeth, listless rabbit, rabbit not eating or drinking, rabbit no pooping, rabbit hiccuping, could have been preceeded by anorexia or massive weight loss, distended stomach. (NOTE all of these symptoms can also be a sign of other things)
Treatment -
Get to your bunny vet! You will likely need an x-ray to see if there is a gas ball, and if there are other things such as a blockage, or kink of the intestine etc. ie if there is a blockage you will need other treatments.
Give baby gas-x (symethicone). You can find it at any grocery store. Give a full oral dose for a child. Follow the directions as you would for a child on how often to administer. Its very safe to give and they love the taste so it's not difficult to administer.
Your rabbit is likely in extreme pain. If so- give them a dose of children's asprin. NOT children's tylenol. This will help them hang on longer until the gas ball is broken down and passed.

GI Stasis
What is it? - A slow down of the digestive system resulting in gas and blockage preventing digestion.
http://fig.cox.miami.edu/Faculty/Dana/ileus.html

Heat Stroke - REMEMBER HEAT KILLS! - Rabbits are very susceptible to heat. Anything over 80° is dangerous. Over 85° is extremely dangerous. If possible, you want to keep your rabbits in a cool place during the day. If they must be outside in the heat, freeze a 2 liter water bottle and place it in the cage next to the rabbit so they can lie against it. Rabbits cool through their ears. A sign of overheating is your rabbit running around frantically/uncoordinated in the cage. If you see this and know your rabbit is in hot conditions, immediately move them into a cool area.
Put a few inches of cool (not cold) water in a small tub or sink. Gently place your bunny in the water. Cup the water in your hand and gently pour it over the rabbits coat. Pour the water especially over the rabbits ears - this will help them cool down the fastest.

Head Tilt / Wry Neck / Encephalitozoon protozoa
What is it? -
This can be caused by something as simple as an inner ear infection or it can be caused by wry neck. Wry neck can be spread from rabbit to another.
Symptoms - The rabbits head is tilted parallel to the ground or even on the ground. The rabbit is disoriented, may be walking in circles, rolling in the cage or thrashing in the cage. If it is an ear infection this is caused by pressure on the middle ear which causes loss of balance (see below). Wry neck does not seem to be painful to the rabbit - just disorienting.
How do they get it? By coming in contact with the bacteria which causes an ear infection or wry neck. Usually the rabbit is very young/old, has been dehydrated or has been stressed due to weather, showing, overcrowding or other stressful situation. Wry neck can be caused by many things. Stress can cause a rabbit to sucumb to bacterial infections or subcomb exposure to Encephalitozoon protozoa. This can be passed through the urine or through dormant bateria on hay or other conditions where other animals have been.
Treatment -
Get to your vet immediately! Have them check for ear infection which is very treatable. If they do not see an ear infection then it may be wry neck.
If you suspect wry neck here is an excellent article on treatment from Barbi Browns Bunnies
Disinfect all the rabbits things with Vanodine (easy, inexepensive and complete) .
In the future - give your herd preventative doses of Ivomec every 4 months or so. Ivomec 1% injectable for cattle and swine - available at jefferslivestock.com. .03cc per lb of rabbit via oral syringe. Or you can get the paste used for horses. 1/2 a pea size dot on the rabbits tongue. Baytril is also sometimes precribed but is found to be less effective is the original cause was not a bacterial infection.

Hiccups -
What is it? - Hiccups for an extended period of time (hours to days). Rabbit hiccups are very fast and are often mistaken for seizures. Babies frequently get hiccups. These are normal and happen often for babies that are 2 weeks and younger, especially after eating. Certain adults can also be prone to these but it is rare. If the rabbit hiccups do not last for hours and hours, usually they will go away on their own and are harmless. If your rabbit has them for long periods of time it can be a sign of something else - or a result of something else. A vet can do an x-ray to see if there are intestinal problems or gas balls in the stomach (as a result of the prolonged hiccups). Rabbits which were weaned improperly as babies can also be more prone to these as they get older (as well as other digestive problems). Also if you have corn pieces in your rabbit pellets this can cause gas and intestinal problems. The x-ray is a picture of a rabbity taken in after 2 days of hiccups.
Symptoms - Could be preceeded by not pooping, eating or drinking.
If the rabbit shows pain (grinding teeth, listless) you need to see a vet for an x-ray. See if there is a gas ball, if there is another blockage causing the gas ball, or to see if everything is normal.
Give a dose of children's baby gas-x (symethicone) to combat air which may be building up. A regular baby dose (usually a full syringe). Follow the instructions on the bottle for how often to administer. Also remove any corn peices from the rabbits food. You can offer them more greens and less pellets to see if there is a change in the next couple weeks and less of a problem. If so - make the change to the diet permanent.

Hutch Burn
What is it - Click here for a larger clearer picture. Often confused with vent disease this is specific to the anal region. The vent is still clear, correctly colored and generally unswollen and normal. Notice in the picture that the vent is clear, pink and normal. The anal area is swollen, purple and scabby. Hutch burn is irritation of the bottom and genitals from urine.
Symptoms - Swollen, red, irritated, chapped, raw bottom and genital area. Fur may fall out around area.
How do they get it? Urine splashes back on the rabbits feet and bottom. Usually caused by dirty cages/cage bottoms. Can also be caused by wet/unine soaked conditions such as the corner of an outside rabbit run on the ground. The urine comes in contact with the rabbit's skin and causes a burn. This becomes raw and can become infected.
Treatment -
Clean and disinfect the area (with something such as Vanodine ) and treat with neosporin. Clean and dissinfect the cage (again we recommend Vanodine. We have been using it for years and it is an absolute must have for every rabbit breeder).

Injections
If you need to give a your rabbit an injection here are some tips we've used and have been given by other breeders. I always inject at the base of the neck, I make a triangle where you lift the skin, and then inject in the triangle You will notice sometimes it is a bit tight...and just push gently till it gives. Pull back on the syringe to make sure you did not get a vessel. If no blood then go ahead and inject the full amount. Use the needle only once because they dull immediately. Use one needle to get the medicine out into the syringe. Then use a totally new needle to inject it into the skin. This makes it soo much easier and less painful for the animal. Some times you just have to see someone else do it if you have never done it before. I use 1cc syringes. Normally they are $0.35 in price at vetline. You can clean and reuse them.

Mastitis
What is it - An infection in the mammary gland and nipple usually on lactating or pregnant does. This can be passed from mother to babies.
Symptoms
- Swollen, blue, hot to the touch nipple or gland surrounding it. Sometimes accompanied by puss or colored, bloody, smelly discharge from the nipple.
How do they get it? http://www.provet.co.uk/Petfacts/healthtips/rabbitmastitis.htm
Treatment -
See your vet for proper treatment.
GENTLY squeeze out any puss from the area. Clean area with terra cleanse (http://www.rabbitmedicinechest.com) or some other topical NON TOXIC cleanser. Be VERY VERY careful to thoroughly remove the cleanser so the babies will not ingest it (unless it's diluted Terra Cleanse, which there is no danger to the babies). Do this every day.
Remove the babies from the mother and foster them to another doe if possible.

Mites (Ear) / Ear Mange
What is It? Mites feed on the dead skin and hair of a rabbit. Ear mites will show up as black or dark 'dust' looking material in your rabbits ear causing tissue and skin damange. It can get quite thick if left untreated. You can see the mite with a microscope. This can be contagious to other rabbits.
Symptoms - Black stuff in ears. Scabby ears. Loss of skin condition and weight in rabbit. Rabbit constantly shaking its head and trying to rub ears with back feet.
Treatment -
Baby oil or mineral oil rubbed onto the ear 2 or 3 times a week for a couple weeks. This will suffocate them. OR
You can make a soothing ear lotion consisting of one part iodoform, ten parts of ether, and twenty-five parts of olive oil, should be applied to the inflamed area, then repeated a week or so later until the scabs have completely healed.
Ivermectrin .01cc per LB of body weight given orally. 1 dose and then another dose 14 days later. This will usually kill them completely with a day or so.
Here is more information. Ear mite control

Mites in Fur / Wool / Mange / Lice
What is It? - Fur mites are small mites which feed on the dead skin and hair of a rabbit. They are sometimes called 'walking dandruff' because if you look closely on your rabbits skin you can sometimes see tiny flakes of skin moving (which is being carried or eaten by the mite). You can see the mite with a microscope. This is contagious to other rabbits. They can also be passed to humans if they mites are not washed off (always wash hands thoroughly when handling rabbits) and if the mites come in contact with water (if you wash the rabbit) they may migrate to the hands and arms of the human.
Symptoms - Constant scratching or chewing by the rabbit, usually on the inside of the hind legs, the shoulders or up by the neck (wherever the rabbit can reach). Loss of fur on the shoulders and upper body. Visible white dandruff on the rabbits skin. Small 'scales', scabs or dry flaky skin on the inside of the rabbits back legs. If a human contracts these it will show up as an extremely itchy red flaky rash. According to information we have read, this will go away quickly. Although the mites can migrate to humans, they don't 'like the taste' and usually leave in a short period of time.
How do they get it? - Mites can be transferred from birds, bird droppings, other wild animals or another rabbit. We have been told that rabbits come in regular contact with the mites. Rabbits that are kept outside or allowed to run around in the dirt and grass are more likely to get mites. This is kept under control by the regular grooming of the healthy rabbit. If a rabbit becomes unable to groom himself due to an injury or being overweight, the mite population can quickly become out of control. Usually it starts at the top of the neck right at the base of the head since this is most difficult for the rabbit to reach.
Treatment -
Remove the rabbit from his cage or pen. Sterilize the area and treat the entire area with a product containing Carbaryl (carbon based products used on mites and parasites for poultry and rabbits www.jefferslivestock.com). If this is an outside run, make sure you treat the dirt as well. The mite eggs can last for quite a few days after the mites are dead. Carbaryl will also take care of the eggs. Make sure you also treat any wood or hutch items as the eggs can live in the wood. Treat surrounding runs and hutches. The mites easily move to surrounding areas. DO NOT GET THE CARBARYL in any water sources.
There are several ways you can treat the mites or lice on your rabbit. You can dust him lightly with the Carbaryl powder, you can rub his fur and skin thoroughly with Listerine mouth wash (can sting if he has open scabs but is effective) and you can use 1 dose of Ivomectrin orally ( .03cc's per lb of rabbit. We use cattle/swine Ivermectrin 1% www.jefferslivestock.com). We have used each of these depending on the situation. They have all been effective. We also treat the outside runs with carbaryl. We have had no further outbreaks of mites. Although it does come as an injectable, we simply use an oral syringe and put the dose on the rabbits tongue. You can inject directly into the skin of the rabbit but this stings and is not necessary. You should see results by the next day. You should repeat the dose again 14 days later in order to kill any more mites that have hatched since the first dose.
For some temporary relief while you are waiting the day or 2 for the Ivomec to work, you can soak your rabbits fur/skin in Listerine mouthwash to give some immediate relief (soak, leave for a minute or 2 and then wash off).
You can lightly dust your rabbits fur with Sevindust garden powder.
Never use FrontLine (fipronil) flea and tick medicine! This can kill your rabbit. Never use any type of dog prescription, many times these are dangerous for your rabbit. We've seen many places recommend cat flea and mite treatments (either in wipes or powders etc). DO NOT USE THESE. Although some may be safe for your bunny, they are not tested for your rabbit and many contain Pyrethrins. This can cause severe seizures/stiffening/shock and can actually kill your rabbit if he has a reaction.
Our experience with fur mites - We noticed the symptoms of mites on our injured Holland (he had had limited use of his back legs since he was a baby) it was recommended by a Petco vet and by several places online that we use cat flea and tick wipes. We chose Zodiac 'Wipe Away' brand. We checked the ingredients for anything unusual, we called the 800 ask-a-vet number on the box to inquire specifically about rabbits. The vets there told us there should be no problems and this should be safe for our 2.6lb rabbit. We used the wipes on his whole body and face. We closely monitored the rabbit for several hours and then put him back in the hutch. He seemed to stop itching almost immediately. We checked him about 6 hours later and found him in a full seizure. He then went stiff as a board - body fully extended, eyes fixed, and lay on the bottom of the cage. We immediately put him into a small tub of warm water while I got on the phone to the 800 hotline. We bathed him quickly in diluted 'dove' soap - paying special attention to thoroughly bathe his ears and head. I described the symptoms to the vet on call who immediately said 'oh- he must be having a reaction to the Pyrethrins (bunnies can also have the same seizure reaction to Permethrins). That is something which can cause reactions in rabbits to varying degrees. I asked them why they had said the product was ok for rabbits and they said that sometimes rabbits are fine, but sometimes they do have a reaction. (The ingredient on the box was Pyrethrin 0.116%) They said to bathe him and watch him. If he continued to have stiffness or any shortness of breath we needed to take him to an emergency clinic where they could administer some sort of counter drugs. We called an emergency clinic and they said the same thing - Pyrethrins were the cause (present in most cat flea and tick treatments) and to keep a close eye on him for the next few minutes. Miraculously, as soon as we finished bathing him he immediately relaxed, started to breathe normal and started to look around. After a few minutes more he started hopping around and rested in the corner of his cage. After another 1/2 hour he began to eat and drink and seemed to be himself. We keep him on a monthly dose of Ivomec and haven't had any problems with him since.

Mucoid Enteritis Click here to see picture of mucoid droppings
What is it? A mucus-like inflammation of the intestinal tract caused by either viral or bacterial infection, also called bloat, which affects young rabbits usually 3-10 weeks old. It is not contagious.
Symptoms - Rabbit hunched rigid in the cage sometimes with the head titled back. Loss of balance. Bloated stomach - you can sometimes hear 'sloshing' and gurling in the stomach when you pick the rabbit up. Constipation and/or small amounts of diarrhea. The diarrhea will have gel globs in droppings and mucus covered soft droppings. Gel on their bottom. No blood or green mucus in the droppings like with Coccidia. Grinding their teeth (a sign of extreme pain).
How do they get it? - here is a quote from http://www.all-creatures.com/456013.html "This condition involves disruption of the complex system responsible for fermentation of non-digestible fiber in the diet. Factors involved in enteritis complex include changes in diet, effects of antibiotics, stress, and genetic predisposition to gut dysfunction. Diets high in sugars or protein or low in fiber may cause changes in the fermentation process in the cecum, leading to changes in pH and motility, which in turn lead to enteritis. Additionally, some antibiotics that affect the normal bacteria of the hindgut (penicillin, cephalosporin, erythromycin, clindamycin, and lincomycin) allow overgrowth of bacteria found in the intestinal tract, which can cause enteritis." It can be from overcrowding or overstressing which causes constipation and a distruption in the fermentation process of fiber in the gut. Stress can also be caused by change in temperature, by bullying by other rabbits, showing, traveling, change in food.
Treatment -
For this disease there is as yet no recognized control. It is painful and slow and they do not usually recover. You should consider putting the baby 'down' if you have this. If you want to try and keep them alive even though they are in pain...replace their water with pedialyte for hydration and give them plenty of carrots, green leaf lettuce/spinach and bananas/apples/papaya, pinneaple juice, yogurt. Basically anything they will eat. They usually will decrease the amount of pellets during this time.
To help prevent, it is recommended that you include a broad spectrum antibiotic in the water of the mother and of the babies as they grow older. We use Terramycin. Steralize the cage floor before the babies leave the nest box, have the mother and babies on a normal low protein and high fiber diet. Provide hay to the babies to nibble on. This will help the digestive system keep moving. Avoid overcrowding and stresses to the babies system such as extreme changes in temerature.
Make sure you completely disinfect the rabbits cage and toys. If it is caused by a bacterial infection you need to make sure it is not still present. We use Vanodine for all our disinfection (cheap, easy and a 4oz bottle makes at least 8 gallons of disinfectant. Vanodine kills bacteria, virsus and fungus but is still safe around the animal)

Not Eating / Wasting
What is it? - If your rabbit is not eating it's food, getting thin
Symptoms - Can feel the ribs and backbone quite a bit, not eating, not pooping, sitting huddled in back fo the cage, diarrhea, not drinking.
How do they get it? - This could be the results of many things. If the rabbit has had recent surgery often the antibiotics will cause a loss of appetite. Diarrhea and other ailments can also cause loss of appetite. Wool block, not drinking and other things are also a cause.
Treatment -
Make sure they are drinking. If they get dehydrated they will stop eating as much. Carrot tops soaked in water and pedialyte will help with that. Entice with treats such as bananas and rolled oats or their other favorite treats. Most importantly give nutri-cal (for dogs and cats) which will stimulate the appetite and give much needed calories. This will help get the weight back on when they're not eating their normal food. You can purchase as most pet stores and vet stores or online for about $4 a tube at vetamerica.com. You can also use critical care from oxbow hay http://www.oxbowhay.com/link.sp?page=critical-care

Odor Control
What is it? - If you have a lot of rabbits sometimes the order can be hard to control.
Symptoms - your house smells like rabbits - your neighbors are complaining :)
How do they get it? - Rabbits urine can have a heavy ammonia smell which can get worse depending on what they eat.
Treatment -
Clean their cages frequently. Use disinfectant on their drop pans. Use vinegar and water dilution to get rid of excess smell. Put compressed wood pellets in the drop pans. This makes a HUGE difference to smell. They expand when they get wet and soak up the urine. It keeps the pans dry and smelling nice. You can get bedding pellets or use wood stove pellets.
Put bi-odor in their water. 1 dose is approx 5 pumps = about 1 tbsp. (so if you get a gallon of bi-odor that makes 256 gals) Available at bunnyrabbit.com. This is amazing stuff. It controls the ammonia smell from 'inside the rabbit' and keeps it out of their pee and poo. Your bunnies and their 'messes' smell much less.
We also have used Zap-It. You spay it on the pans and cages or can use it on carpet etc. It uses enzyme producing bateria to 'eat up' the odor. It works really well. This can be purchased many places including www.kwcates.com
You can also use various air fresheners made for inside and outside. They can be automatic or constant. Order eaters and order coverers. There are many kinds available at www.kwcages.com

Pinworms
What is it? - Pinworms are tiny white (worm) parasites which can live in the rabbit's digestive system. This is highly contagious to other rabbits. These worms are specie specific and cannot be transferred to humans from a rabbit. If you are unsure or whether your rabbit has them, check the dropping and look for adult worms or put a piece of clear scotch tape on the rabbits bottom, peel off the tape, and then look at the tape for signs of pinworms.
Symptoms - Tiny (about 1/4inch), very thin, white-almost transparent worms in the stool of the rabbit.
How do they get it? - Rabbits come in contact with the parasite eggs which are eaten and then mature within the rabbit. The white worms in the stool are actually the adult pinworms. Rabbits can contact the eggs by touching anything infected from another rabbit and sometimes can contract it 'in the wild' by running around outside.
Treatment -
Isolate the rabbit
Sterilize anything the rabbit has touched including the cage (this is to remove any eggs still in the environment)
Piperazine 17% (or Wazine is the same thing) Liquid for 5 days (2 tbsps. per gal of water www.jefferslivestock.com) and again in 2 weeks. Dose your whole herd 2 or 3 times a year. We have also used this with great success and have used on rabbits as young as 4 weeks.

Poison
What is it? - Rabbits are very sensitive to cleaners, pesticides, fertilizers, improper medications and even some plants.
Symptoms - Siezures (rabbit hiccups can sometimes be mistaken for siezures), full rigid body, blood shot eyes, foaming around the mouth, screaming. These can also be a sign of heat stroke. If you do not believe it is heat stroke then get to a vet immediately. A full rigid body can also be caused by certain types of bacterial infections.
How do they get it? - House plants such as poinsettas, medications such as flea and tick meds containing pyrethrins, eating fertilized grass in the yard, cleaning their cage with bleach and not properly rinsing etc etc.
Treatment -
Get them to a vet immediately.

Red/Orange Urine
What is it? - Often mistaken for blood, the urine will look uniformly red / rust colored. This should not be confused with obvious blood / ribbons of blood and bleeding in the urine.
Symptoms - bright orange rust colored urine
How do they get it? - It's caused by a pigment in the urine from something the've eaten. It could be veggies (carrots), long flat bladed grass, dandelions and other things. Nothing to worry about.
Treatment -
There's nothing to worry about. It's normal and will be like that every time they eat that certain food. Totally normal.

RHD (Rabbit Hemorrhagic Viral Disease)
What is it? - A highly contagious viral disease specific to rabbits. It is not contagious to humans or other pets.
Symptoms - The disease seems to appear in three ways; the first and most common is called PERACUTE and is simply a dead rabbit in the cage from one visit to the next. The ACUTE form is represented by a lethargic, depressed, off-feed animal that dies in the space of 1-2 days, shows incoordination and signs of pain before death, and may show clear or bloodstained nasal froth or discharge. A temperature of 105-106 degrees F may be present upon initial examination. A small number (<5%) may survive up to two weeks with symptoms including jaundice, diarrhea and mucous in the stool, but this is much less commonly seen. The third form, called SUBACUTE or transient, is much milder; the rabbit may show some signs of illness, then recover and are immune. This is the most likely source of an asymptomatic carrier animal, as infective material is shed in urine and feces for at least 30 days, and the animal itself may act as a carrier for far longer. This form is most common in animals under 4 months of age, and less common in older animals.
IMPORTANT NOTE - Not every rabbit death is attributable to VHD. In fact, in the United States, if you have more than one rabbit and only one dies, the chances are very, very slim that it would be a VHD-related rabbit death. However, since VHD has been officially diagnosed in the United States, it is now a disease that you should consider, especially if you have multiple suspicious rabbit deaths or illnesses. Although this virus is frighteningly contagious, there is no need to panic; rather, when analyzing a suspect death, first eliminate the most common causes of which you may be certain. Only if the profile fits should RHD/VHD be seriously considered. Before truly considering that your herd may have the virus, PLEASE read the FACTSHEET which gives very detailed information.

Siezures
What is it? - The rabbit can be in violent siezures OR can be fully stretched out and rigid. Head back, limbs extended. NOTE: this should not be confused with 'rolling' in the cage. If your rabbit is rolling in the cage or falling due to imbalance see wry neck or ear infection. Rabbit Hiccups are sometimes mistaken for siezures.
Symptoms - Head back, rigid body (rigid body is definitely NOT hiccups) , mouth usually open, eyes open and rolled back.
How do they get it? - This can be many things. Poison, Stroke, Heat Stroke, Genetic, Viral infection, Bacterial infection and others.
Treatment -
If you suspect heat stroke see heat stroke for treatment. If you believe it is any of the other things you must get your rabbit to a vet immediately. Genetic siezures are passed through certain lines of Lionheads. This was more common in the 'imports' from other countries at the beginning of the US breeding programs. Now that breeding programs in the US have progressed this has mainly been eliminated. Bacterial infection requires immediate antibiotics. Viral infection is usually incurable. Poison needs to be treated immediately.
Disinfect the rabbits surroundings. If it has been caused by bacteria you will need to eliminate the threat. We use Vanodine (cheap, kills bacteria, fungus and viruses and is non-toxic)

Sore Hocks (Ulcerative Pododermatitis)
What is it? - Pressure to the skin from the wire floor or trauma to the skin from foot stomping on the wire floor.
Symptoms - Chapped, bloody, cracked irritated foot pads, tiptoeing when walking.
How do they get it? - Excessive foot stomping, heavy weight, underdeveloped foot pads, injury to the spine resulting in loss of movement in hind legs, accumulation of urine soaked feces within the cage.
Treatment -
You need to get the rabbit off the wire. Give the rabbit a solid board or mat to sit on. If the foot pads are infected then clean and sterilize. Treat with preparation H to reduce swelling and irritation. You may even wrap the foot in bandages but typically the rabit will pull these off. The main thing is to keep the wounds and cage very clean.

Snuffles / Pasteurella (a rabbit 'cold')
What is it? -
Snuffles is a general term for a rabbit cold or upper respiratory infection. Usually it refers to a condition caused by the Pasteurella, but this is not always the case. It may be caused by many different types of bacteria, bordatella, allergies and sometimes even a virus. If left unchecked it can progress to pneumonia. This is highly contagious to other rabbits.
Symptoms - include sneezing, white or green discharge from the eyes, white or green opaque discharge from the nose, wet around the nose and on the inside of the front paws (from wiping the nose and face). You can sometimes hear wetness or congestion when the rabbit breathes.
How do they get it?
Rabbits will not get viral colds from humans, but can develop these symptoms due to bacteria already existing in the rabbits system. Stress to the rabbit is usually the cause. This can be due to showing, extreme temperature/humidity changes, travel, over-heating and many other things. Snuffles is also highly contagious and is transferred from one rabbit to another through particles sneezed or wiped onto something which comes in contact with other rabbits.
Treatment - As with any rabbit disease, you should consult a vet as soon as possible. Rabbits have very delicate immune systems and respiratory problems can progress very quickly.
Isolate the rabbit from all other rabbits to prevent spread of the infection. Move the rabbit into a cool, quite, low stress place.
Disinfect anything the rabbit has touched which is in contact with other rabbits. We use Vanodine (non-toxic, inexepensive and kills viruses, bacteria and fungus with just a spray)
Watch you rabbit carefully. If your rabbits mucus is clear, they seem to be eating and drinking as normal, they seem to be as active as normal, they seem to be overall healthy they may not have snuffles. It may be some other infection or even allergies. Make sure they are out of extreme temperature changes. Do not put them on antibiotics unless you are sure of the diagnosis and unless a rabbit vet recommends it.
Never, never allow your vet to prescribe amoxycillin (pink liquid that smells like bubble gum), this can kill your rabbit!
Our experience with snuffles - The first vet put the rabbit on Baytril for 2 weeks. Baytril is an antibiotic used for many upper respiratory infections in cats and dogs. It is safe for rabbits but is highly stressful and can actually suppress the rabbits immune system as it works. Although widely distributed for 'snuffles' we found out later that it should not be used unless 1.the bacteria has been identified through a culture and 2. Baytril has been identified as the best 'killer' of the bacteria your rabbit has. If you use any antibiotic without proper disease identification, it can build your rabbits resistance to the antibiotic in the future while not treating the actual infection. Our dose was 1/4 of a pill, twice daily. You then continue the treatments for at least another week in order to thoroughly kill the bacteria. Quitting treatment early or skipping treatments will kill the weakest bacteria but can then leave the most resistant bacteria to regain strength and come back even worse. Baytril is supposed to clear up the symptoms within a week. Baytril is also liver flavored (for dogs and cats) and therefore hated by rabbits. The pill form is much cheaper than the liquid version but is flavored the same. Even when we smashed the pills into powder and mixed it with yogurt/sugar water/smashed carrots etc, the rabbits would actually hold it in their mouth and spit it out when we put them back in their cage. In order to trick our rabbits into eating the Baytril, we smashed the pills into a powder and sprinkled it on papaya slices. Then we dried the papaya. All of the rabbits ate it with no problem. Regardless, this treatment did nothing for our rabbits. Apparently they did not have the Pasteurella bacteria. We returned to the vet and he put the rabbits on another drug Sulfatrim which is regularly used for dog's 'kennel cough' or bordatella. This cleared it up within about 24 hours but it came back about 2 weeks later. Sulfatrim wasn't working for some reason this second time around. At this point we asked the vet not to put our rabbits on any other antibiotics unless he was sure about what the disease was. He recommended that we see another vet because the was at a loss. (lesson learned! always see a vet who knows rabbits specifically). We were able to find a rabbit vet. She took us off all antibiotics and advised us to keep the rabbit in a low stress environment, feed him plenty of spinach and dark greens, add vitamins to his water and otherwise just watch him carefully. She said he was very healthy and should be able to recover from the 'cold' by himself just like a human. She said that Baytril is usually a good diagnosis but that our rabbit probably had a virus which no antibiotics would be able to help. She also said she only used antibiotics as a last resort due to the side effects on the rabbits health. We started putting vitamins in all of their water which seemed to speed the recovery. The whole rest of the herd who had contracted the snuffles recovered completely on their own with no additional problems and without the extra immune suppressing drugs. (We started treating the water with VetRX but saw no improvement with any of the rabbits. We were definitely not impressed.) The original rabbit with the worse symptoms still had a slightly wet nose and sneezing. Months later he still hadn't shaken it. So we started him on Systemajuv which is a natural remedy we saw in the ARBA magazine for snuffles provided by the rabbitmedicinechest.com. Systemjuv claims to boost the immune system. We were highly skeptical but at this point had run out of ideas. We noticed marked improvement within 24 hours. 2 days later his nose was completely dry and the sneezing had stopped. He liked the taste and seemed to be in better health overall. We've had no recurrence of this condition.

Spinal Injury / Paralysis
Symptoms - Loss of movement in the hind legs, falling over (due to problems with the back legs), problems hopping up on things or falling over when running around corners. Note: These symptoms can also be caused by an enflamed/injured muscled in the back which puts pressure on the spine and nerves (should go away within a few weeks). Some of these symptoms can also be caused by "wry neck". Note: A spinal injury alone will not immediately cause the death of your rabbit (except in very rare and extreme cases)
How do they get it? - This is very common in both domestic and commercial rabbits. If rabbits are held incorrectly they can easily injury their spine when they kick with their hind legs. They can also get injured by jumping off of something incorrectly or even by kicking at a weird angle while they are playing. Sometimes if a young rabbit is put in with an older rabbit, they can be kicked and injured.
Treatment -
If the injury is muscular it should get better over time. The only way to really tell what is causing the injury is to take them to a vet for x-rays. The vet will also be able to tell you if the rabbit still has feeling in their back legs and if the rabbit is in any pain.
If the loss of leg use is caused by "wry neck", sometimes Baytril and Ivomec can be prescribed to kill the protozoa.
If the loss of use is caused by a spinal injury (very likely), there is little you can do. Usually the rabbit will not be in any pain, the injury will have put pressure on the nerves causing the loss of use. At that point you need to make a decision - they will need a lot of care for the rest of their lives. In extreme cases the rabbit will have lost complete use of their back legs. In most cases, the rabbit will lose more motion in one leg than the other. They will adapt (especially if they are young) to using one leg more than the other and will learn to hop that way. The rabbit is capable of leading a painless almost normal life. BUT the rabbit can no longer groom themselves properly and will need to be cleaned regularly (especially in the beginning). You should trim the hair around their behind very short and will need to wash them regularly to prevent urine burn. Remove anything that the rabbit can hop up on. The up and down motion required for stairs or hopping up on a box can further damage your rabbit. Put a rug or something with 'traction' in your cage in order for them to have a firm grip. Rabbits with spinal injuries have a very difficult time on slippery surfaces.
Our experience with a spinal injury -Our rabbit required a lot of care in the beginning but within a few months had adapted quite well. He is in no pain, is almost as mobile as before (although he falls a lot when he gets excited and starts to run in circles), and leads a regular happy life. He has even learned to groom himself by leaning against the side of the cage for support. We need to give him a bath every 3 weeks or so and need to treat him regularly for fur mites since he can no longer groom himself. When he sheds (about 3 times a year) we need to brush him frequently in order to help him with that.

Tattoo
What is it? - A tattoo is required in order for the rabbit to show. This is to prevent mix-ups on the show table. Tattoos are also used to simply identify rabbits from a certain rabbitry, for breed tracking etc. It should be in the rabbit's left ear. Usually the rabbits are tattooed right around when they are weaned - 7 to 8 weeks. At this point the rabbits ear is still fairly thin but is big enough to receive the letters from the tattoo. You can use any letters or numbers you'd like. Sometimes they represent the rabbitry, or the breeding pair. It's completely up to you. Typically you want to put the starting letters/numbers of your tattoo towards the inside of ear with the numbers running up towards the top of the ear to the end of the tattoo. If your tattoo is read from 'tip to inside' of the ear it is considered backwards.
How do you tattoo-
Secure the rabbit thoroughly. We wrap ours firmly in a towel in order to hold them better. You want to be very careful that they do not injure their backs (or ears) by jumping or thrashing. We then support them by wrapping our arm and hands around the rabbits side and back. You should have one person hold and one person tattoo. Rabbit ears are very vascular so make sure you have extra towels on hand if they bleed.
If you are using an electric tattoo pen look at the ear in good light in order for you to identify the main veins running through the ear. You want to avoid these so the rabbit doesn't bleed unnecessarily. Sterilize and clean the ear with rubbing alcohol and cotton ball. Rub thoroughly. For the Rabbitatt pen (the one we use) you need to make sure the needle retracts fully into the pen at its lowest point and is only about 1cm out of the pen at its longest point. Dip the pen in the ink and start tattooing. Hold your finger directly under the rabbits ear behind where you are tattooing. This will give you a solid surface to press against. Don't worry, it won't come all the way through your ear to your finger. When finished, rub the tattoo with the alcohol cotton ball again to clean off extra ink. Here is a link to a good electric tattoo pen www.geocities.com/hend_rex/.
If you are using a tattoo set with pins that you press into the ear (clamp tattoo, bunny burrito), choose a place where it will avoid the large veins running through the ear. Thoroughly clean the ear with rubbing alcohol. Make sure your pins are nice and tight in the holder. We recommend using a piece of paper first to make sure the tattoo is how you want it. You will use about the same amount of pressure as you did on the paper. Do it quickly and release. It doesn't take much for young rabbits since their ears are so thin. Sometimes for the first few times you may even put the pins all the way through the ear. This is something you want to try to avoid but it may take a few times to get the feel for it. Just make sure you remove the pins from the ear immediately so the rabbit doesn't thrash and tear it's ear! As soon as you are done smear the ink all over the ear and into the tattoo. The rabbit doesn't usually mind this as all and is very calm as soon as you get done with the 'stick'. After you have rubbed the ink thoroughly into the ear just put the rabbit back in his cage. The extra ink will come off over the next week or so. If you need it to come off immediately you can use rubbing alcohol. It won't damage or lighten the tattoo.

Teeth Problems / Teeth Trimming
What is it? - 'Butted' teeth and overgrown teeth can be a real problem if left alone. Butted teeth are when the teeth 'butt' flush up against each other rather than the top teeth overlapping the bottom like they should. Overgrown teeth is when either the top or lower teeth are not worn down and grow out of control. Your rabbit may also have spurs or spikes on their back teeth which cut into their cheeks.
Symptoms - Teeth are mis aligned, teeth are visibly sticking out of rabbits mouth. Teeth are curving outward from each (on either top or on bottom) other rather than the 2 teeth being right next to each other in a straight line) Eventually it will probably affect your rabbit's eating habits. It can become painful and near impossible for the rabbit to eat.
How do they get it? - Butted teeth can be caused by many things including genetics or simply wire chewing by the rabbit. Overgrown teeth are usually caused when the rabbit doesn't have anything to chew on which will naturally wear down their teeth (such as a piece of wood). This picture is an example of the bottom teeth growing faster than the upper teeth causing misalignment. These needed to be trimmed down. Spurs on the back teeth can develop over time and will need to be ground off.
Treatment -
Your vet can trim your rabbit's teeth for you. If the back teeth have spikes on them which are sticking into the cheek - you WILL need to have a vet grind those off. That will require a sedative.
For butted or overgrown front teeth, you can trim. It's not nearly as difficult as it seems (for us it's much easier than trimming toenails on the rabbits). If you are unsure have a rabbit breeder show you first. You don't want to crack the rabbits teeth or hurt the rabbit. Make sure you hold the rabbit very securely so that they will not struggle or hurt their back. We usually have the rabbit facing up (on their back). Make sure the lips and flesh around the inside of the mouth is not in the way. Get a very sharp, brand new set of small/medium wire trimmers (like the picture to the left). You can also use dog toenail trimmers (curved 2 bladed kind like in the picture to the right). If you are trimming a baby or the teeth are pretty thin then you can use toenail trimmers. Those work wel for many people I have talked too. Take off very small amounts at a time until you are confident in what you are doing. The wire trimmers should easily snip of pieces of the teeth. In the case of 'butted' teeth I know some breeders cut the teeth very low (this does not cause the rabbit pain unless you go very very low) in order that the teeth grow back correctly. We don't do this or recommend that procedure. But we do trim the teeth back to where they are just barely butted, or just barely beyond that so the teeth can grow in their normal position without interference from the other teeth. This should not hurt the rabbit's teeth and you will not be near the area of the tooth which will cause the rabbit pain. Recheck the rabbit's teeth every month to see how they are progressing.

Vent Disease (Spirochetosis)
What is it? - a form of rabbit 'syphilis'.
Symptoms - red, swollen, scabby genitals. Can show up in both bucks and does - especially in does after birth.
How do they get it? - can be passed during breeding and can be passed from mother to offspring during birth and in the next box. It can be 'cured' via penicilin injections. Never breed during an outbreak.
Treatment -
Have your vet confirm diagnosis. These symptoms can also indicate a bacterial infection which needs to be treated differently.
If it is vent disease it will need to be treated with penicillin g (long lasting) injections. You can get the injection and the needles at kwcages.com. Needles are 25 gauge 5/8" (as small as you can find). Doseage of 5/16 cc per lb of rabbit. 1 shot every week for 3 weeks. Should clear up within about 10 days.
If it is a bacterial infection it can usually be treated with a topical creme. NOTE - a topical creme can treat the LOOK of vent disease but vent disease is carried in the bloodstream and will not be cured with just a creme. If you do have a bacterial infection make sure you disinfect all of the rabbits surroundings and food and water crocks. We use a non-toxic disinfectant called Vanodine.

Wool Block
What is it? - A 'hairball' which is usually actually composed of food held together in a mass by hair
Symptoms - Listless rabbit, rabbit hunched in cage unresponsive, rabbit isn't eating or drinking, rabbit isn't pooping, rabbit is loudly grinding his teeth (a sign of extreme pain). This is extremely dangerous for a rabbit and it must be dealt with immediately.
How do they get it? - This can be caused by a large amount of hair which has accumulated into a blockage of food and other particles. It can also be a result of GI stasis (see below). If you fix the temporary problem but do not address the underlying cause such as GI stasis or other injury then this condition can easily return. If you do not feed your rabbit enough roughage this can be a cause. There is a large risk for long haired or woolly rabbits especially around the molting time when they groom their shedding hair.
Treatment -
The ideal treatment is to get to your vet immediately.
If you decide not to use the vet use Hairball Remedy (rabbitmedicinechest.com-available via FedX). This helps lubricate the blockage and helps the intestines move to expel the blockage. Very successful if you catch the rabbit in time even though they already have a blockage.
Keep the rabbit well hydrated with Pedialyte (given through oral syringe). Put spinach or carrots into the cage to entice the rabbit to eat. The rabbit is usually in a large amount of pain due to gas. It is so painful that the rabbit may just give up. Get Children's GasX (simethecone) and give them a dose in their Pedialyte in order to reduce the pain. Also very light abdominal massage while slightly lifting the hindquarters can help with the gas. But do not continue if the rabbit shows pain when you massage.

Wounds
If you have more than 1 rabbit, inevitably someone will get hurt at some point. Either through fighting or some other mishap, rabbits get cuts and scratches easily. Usually you won't see the scratch when it happens, you will just notice something later.
If the scratch is fully scabbed and looks fine (no redness or puffiness) then just keep and eye on it and let it heal.
If rabbits fight they will probably have scratches on their face especially right around the eyes and nose. If you notice a fresh scratch or one that looks infected gently wash it with warm water. Then disinfect the semi open wound.
If the rabbit has torn something small loose which needs to be put back together- ie torn a piece of the nose which is still attached. First - of course try to get stitches from your vet. If that is not possible or if you decide to not go through surgery. MAKE SURE it is still partially attached and is receiving a blood supply. Also, you must do this IMMEDIATELY after the wound has happened. You cannot wait a few days after the wound has started to close or has dried. Once it is established that the tear is still attached and is receiving blood and needs to be held in place while it heals we have had success using TINY amounts of superglue after you THOROUGHLY disinfect the wound. We have tried surgical tape and steri strips but usually because of the fur it is difficult to hold the piece in proper place with these items. When using the superglue make sure you only use TINY amounts to 'tack' some of the crucial edges to hold it in place. You want to avoid getting any glue in the wound itself. Do not use glue drops; make sure you use superglue that comes with a little brush. The pieces of your wound must line up correctly and only need to be temporarily held in place. This is not a solution for something large and should only be used as a last resort.

General Health
Terramycin soluble powder is used in water as a general deterrent against disease and immune system problems. The dosage is 1 teaspoon per gallon of water for 5-10 days. It can also be used as a general help against Ecoli and othe things that the rabbit may have. Another name for terramycin is Oxytetracycline HCl or tetracyclin. The terramycin ointment can be used to clean eye infections. Triple Acid Pack is used in water when the rabbit is under stress to boost the immune system and keep the rabbit in balance. These can be purchased an most feed or online vet stores such as www.jefferslivestock.com.


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