Rabbits/antibiotic?

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Question
My rabbit has ongoing problems (upper respitory infection,sneezing,coughing,teary eye(s),abscesses,ear infections) i have had email correspondance with you in the past but i guess you havent checked your emails or something to respond to my latest inquiry. I figured i might try this seeing how you might respond quicker.my rabbit has been on a few antibiotics in the past with only temporary improvements,the latest antibiotic was suggested after a culture and sensitivite swab from his ear (pus).if you want to see the results i think i attached them to the email i sent you. The bacteria they found was serratia marcesens and stenotrophomonas maltiophilia the vet put my rabbit on trimethprim/sulfamethoxacole does that sound right?  How long to see results? Also should i push him to also put him on pen g ben for a knockout blow?(are those antibiotics even compatible?) Also he has small absesses all over will antibiotics eventually remove the abscesses?
Thanks in advance

Answer
Dear Marc,

Sorry for the delay.  We had a very sad death in my family and that put everything else on hold.

The bacteria you name are not common pathogens; they are opportunists that are taking up residence because a hospitable environment exists for them in your bunny's upper respiratory system.  Very often, the source of the problem is dental disease.  The maxillary sinus becomes blocked by dental intrusion and/or infection, and chronic runny nose, runny eyes, etc. are the result.

Unfortunately, there is not always an easy fix for this.  A bunny with a strong immune system will weather this better than a compromised one, so start by being sure he's got all the supportive care he needs:  the best food, constant access to clean water and good quality hay.  A peaceful, quiet place to be when he wants privacy.  Just what you'd want, too.  That's a start.  Echinacea extract might help boost him a bit.  No exact dose known, but a dropperful of the stuff from a good quality health food store once a day for seven days might help.  Can't hurt.

Have a look at these articles for additional clues to what's going on and what might help, at least palliatively:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/sneezing.html

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/weepy.pdf

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/dental.html

Your vet might find this one interesting and useful:

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/rabbit_dental.pdf

I hope this will help get bun back on the road to feeling better.

Take care,

Dana

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.


RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.

Experience

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Organizations
Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Publications
Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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