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Rabbits/Increasing weakness in juvenile angora, help!

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Hello,
I have recently become a proud owner of 3 angora rabbits from the same litter, approximately 2 months old.  I originally purchased 2 rabbits from a non-breeder. The rabbits lived outside with other livestock and cats and had a diet of hay, carrots, apples, and bread. One of the rabbits was a runt, smaller than the others and unfortunately, has since passed away.  After bringing her home, she quickly lost weight, became weak and began to fall over when ever she walked.  I took both of them to the vet where it was determined that they were carriers of coccidiosis. The healthy rabbit began a 10 day course of oral albon.  The runt, who was skin and bones, passed away that night after receiving 10 mL subcutaneous NSS.

The woman I received the rabbits from was kind enough to replace the rabbit.  I then came home with 2 rabbits, taking another rabbit that had lost weight in the last week and had become the runt.  He was put on a course of Albon and also tetracycline for treatment, both oral. I also give 1 drop of Nutre-Vet probiotics once per day.
At first, the medications seemed effective, the rabbit continues to eat and drink and has put on some belly weight.  Additionally, I have been supplementing his diet with a blended mixture of Oxbow's Juvenile rabbit feed, water, and puppy formula, approximately 20 mL per day.  He was receiving kitten formula before coming to me which gave him loose stool.  I also give subcutaneous injections of 3 mL of NSS, 2-3 times per day.
It is the 4rth day of treatment.  After the initial improvement, the rabbit appears to be regressing.  He is unable to walk and his legs (both hind and fore paws) don't support him. He is able to move by pulling himself forward and flopping around.  He continues to eat, his appetite is diminished.  His stool is small, damp, and formed.  I am unable to determine quantity of urine but it is without odor and occurs every 1-2 hours.  His stomach is round and full but he is grossly emaciated, skin and bones. all of the rabbits are kept separate at this time.
Please help, I don't want to lose another baby.
Thanks, Alissa

Answer
Dear Alissa,

I would recommend a fecal exam to be sure the coccidia are actually being killed off by the Albon.  We have found that Baycox (toltrazuril sulfate) is much more effective against coccidia than Albon, and works much faster to kill the parasites.

Keep the little one well hydrated.  Also give a bit of pediatric simethicone suspension to help with gas, in case the distention is due to that.  Gentle tummy massage with an electric vibrating massager could help if this problem is being caused by gas.

Until the coccidia are gone and the intestinal mucosa can start to heal, the baby will not be able to properly absorb nutrients.  So the prime directive here is:  GET THE COCCIDIA DEAD.

I hope the baby survives and thrives.  But I certainly would not go back to that breeder again.  Coccidiosis in the babies is a sign of poor husbandry, and I would not encourage her to breed more rabbits by giving her money for these poor babies who have not received proper care from her.  Please see:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-7cQ-N7B6s

I hope this helps.

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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