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QUESTION: Hi,
We have a bunny rabbit for over a year now. Its a true challenge for me to keep him clean (he has very long hair) everything just sticks to him especially his droppings. The other day I had to cut lots of hair from his rear and had no choice but rinse him off.
I made a mistake and used a dog shampoo bc water alone was not removing the dirt, he was wiggling and jumping up and accidently his nose end up under soapy water for a few seconds. We rinsed him off and dried him up but after few hours i noticed him very lethargic next he stopped to drink and eat. Right now he drinks only if I put water directly in front of him in the bowl (almost as if he no longer smells his water bottle)hes still not eating not even an apple which normally its his absolutely favorite. I called up several vets in our neighborhood but they don't take rabbits?!Is there anything I can give him? any homemade plant base remedy. Please let me know what you think about this and if you have any suggestions. I know i need to get him to the vet :(
thank you so much awaiting your answer.
Mag

ANSWER: Hi Mag:

Based on your description it sounds like your bunny has pneumonia from aspirating while you were bathing him.  The water up the nose went into his lungs and turned to pneumonia.
The other less likely possibility is that the dog shampoo made it into his tummy and is acting as a toxin (poison).

for both condition - some rabbits overcome it on their own, others need critical care from the vet to survive it.

My first suggestion is to get him to an exotic animal vet as soon as possible.  Exotic animal vets treat rabbits; most standard vets do not.

If you cant find/afford such treatment, then there are some things you can try to save him - but I need to be honest and tell you that he may not survive the infection.

First - There is a product made for rabbits called "Critical Care". Its made specifically for animals that refuse to eat due to sickness or injury.  I'm not familiar with your country so I cant tell you where you can get it locally, but I am providing a link to the product and hopefully you can do a web search and order it from an online supplier.  Overnight it if possible.  Here is the link: http://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/vets/products/critical_care

Also - get either activated charcoal or chewable Vitamin K and FORCE some into your bunny via syringe if you have to.  It will absorb and neutralize any shampoo that may have ingested.  This is most useful if done within 12 hours of ingesting the chemical, but as long as he's alive its worth a try.

Next - HYDRATE.  Rabbits can live quite a long time without food, but fail quickly without water.  If you have access to a store purchase a bottle of Snapple brand lemon Iced tea.  NOT DIET lemon iced tea - the regular.  If your country does not have Snapple brand, then purchase whatever non diet lemon iced tea is available.  Also - purchase a bottle of infant pedialyte. This is an electrolyte solution sold in the baby food aisle given to sick children.  If you are unable to find the pedialyte, then purchase some basic Gatorade (NOT DIET).

Now - mix the lemon iced tea and the pedialyte 50/50 and put it right under the bunny's nose and hopefully he will drink.  Allow him (or her?) 1/4 cup per hour.  If he refuses to drink it, then use a syringe and get at least 1 tablespoon down his throat each hour.

Until the critical care solution arrives - offer fresh orchard grass or timothy hay.  No pellets.  If he refuses the orchard grass or hay, then try some smashed banana or smashed papaya or mango.

This is the best advice I can offer you based on the scenario you described.  Without examining your bunny I cant be certain if its poisoning or pneumonia, so I've given you the treatment for both.  The activated charcoal and vitamin K are harmless; they cant hurt if the bunny did not get shampoo in his belly.

I truly hope you are able to get the critical care solution in a timely manner.  If you are unable to locate or procure it, please get back in touch with me and I can give you a list of items to buy to make a similar solution at home - but it would be expensive and complicated.

The sooner you can get the lemon iced tea and pedialyte/Gatorade solution into him, the better he will be.

I am going to send my best energy for a full recovery.  In the event your bunny does pass on, please take comfort in knowing that he was well loved, well cared for and in a wonderful home.

Hopefully you can get to an exotic animal vet, if not, the above suggestions is truly the best you can do.  

Let me know if you have any further questions.

With deepest regards,
Lisa L.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Lisa,
Thank you so much for your help. I right away prepared the electrolyte drink and gave it to him through syringe
After calling around we finally found a vet 1 1/2 away from us so we packed the everyone and drive to get him some help
I think the vet didn't want me to feel guilty so he said he doesn't see any connection btw bathing and his condition rather he was concerned with his teeth he had lots of inflammation in his mouth few old teeth and was much older than we thougt
He gave us antibiotics . The same evening I saw him breathing very shallow and at this point I had no hope he passed at night.
I feel so horrible for bathing him he was fine till than even with his bad teeth ....
Thank you very much I appreciate all your help I just wish I found him a vet sooner
Best Regards,
Mag

Answer
Hi Mag:

I'm so sorry that your bunny has passed on.  Please accept my sincerest sympathy for your loss.
Take the time to grieve the passing of his physical body but also remember that his memories will be with your forever, so in that way, he will never truly be gone.

If the vet found bad teeth and inflammation, then your bunny had an infection running through his system and most likely had pneumonia as well.  Rabbits catch pneumonia very easily and any type of infection or inflammation typically causes secondary pneumonia.

Unfortunately, most never display symptoms until they are close to dying.  

In the wild, rabbits are very low on the food chain; they are an easy catch for most predators.  If an ill or sick rabbit shows signs of being ill or sick, then that makes him an even easier target for a predator because they cant move as fast or defend themselves.  As a result, rabbits hide pain and sickness quite well and often show nothing until they are ready to pass to avoid attracting predators.  

If the bunny did have pneumonia and I suspect he did, then even a tiny bit of water in the lungs would have been enough to turn the condition fatal.  Even without pneumonia, the inflamed gums and bad teeth would have resulted in an infection in the blood stream making him very sick.

This is nothing you caused, nor anything you could have prevented.  You took the time to keep his fur clipped and bathed and when he became ill, you took the time to reach out to me and to travel far to take the bunny to the vet.  You should be proud of the level of care you provided and the response you took when your bunny became ill.  
I'm a firm believer that life should be based on quantity, not quality.  A short high quality life is far better than a long life of suffering.  Your bunny has an excellent quality to his life while with you and that's commendable on your part.  Be proud of what you did for him during his stay with you.

Once you take the time to grieve his loss, perhaps you'll consider purchasing or adopting a new bunny into your home.

If you feel the need to chat with someone who has been through this painful experience, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Deepest Regards,
Lisa L.

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Lisa L.

Experience

I was introduced to meat rabbits at the age of 3. Began working with them on my own at the age of 8 and started my own large commercial rabbitry at the age of 20. I'm 46 now and for the past 26 years I have owned a large herd of meat rabbits and have become well known as the turn-to person whenever a problem arrises.

Organizations
Member of the American Rabbit Breeders Association. Member of the Rabbit Industry Council. Member of the Yahoo - Meat Rabbits Group. Member of the American Council of Animal Naturopathy. Administrators of the FaceBook "Rabbit's as meat" group. Owner of Yahoo - Raising Meat Rabbit's for maximum yield group

Publications
Yahoo Meat Rabbits Group. www.rabbitzinger.com American Council of Animal Naturopathy www.raisingrabbits.com FaceBook "Rabbit's as meat" group. Owner of Yahoo - Raising Meat Rabbit's for maximum yield group

Education/Credentials
There is no formal training for raising rabbits; its all hands on. I have had a steady rabbit breeding operation for 24 years and have read every book there is on raising rabbits for meat. Additionally, I am a member of several rabbit groups and associations as listed below.

Awards and Honors
None - there are none in this field.

Past/Present Clients
I have helped countless people over the past several decades. These have been people I knew personally or those referred to me by one of the many rabbit organizations I belong to.

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