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I just picked up a rabbit today and was intending on butchering it and feeding it to my dog since she is raw fed but I decided not to. I have never killed an animal and don't want to start! I have owned many rabbits and did 4-h but never dealt with a rabbit that wheezes/grunts. Anyways I do not know anything about the rabbit other then its a male, guessing to be a new Zealand English spot mix? And age? Probably at least a year. When I brought him home he was extremely calm! Gave him a bath, clipped his nails, cleaned the secretion around his genitalia and brushed him with no problem at all I fed and watered him drank a lot of water and at least a cup 1/2 of small world rabbit food . mainly when he eats you can hear him snuffling and little grunting and sometimes when doing nothing he wheezes. Thank you for your time and I apologize for the extremely long  post!!

Hi Jamie:

Congratulations on raw feeding your dog! I've been raw feeding my cats and dogs for several decades now and its one of the reasons I raise rabbits.  Your dog is very lucky to have you as his owner

Wheezing and/or grunting in a rabbit is almost always caused by Pasteurella Multicoda.  It's a highly contageous disease in rabbits that is easily spread from one to the next.  It's spread via touch or airborne.  An infected rabbit can sneeze and a rabbit in a sepeate cage 50 feet away can contract it. It's nasty.  In the breeding world, any ethical and reponsible breeder will cull or euthanize a rabbit with pasteurella because its incurable and once it begins it only gets worse.

Can you feed it to your dog?  That's a question that's hard for me to answer because it depends on just how long the rabbit has had it and to what degree it infected the rabbits body.  While owners notice the respitory symptoms such as you described, pasteurella also causes inside damage, typically in the form of puss-filled absesses in the rabbits body.  -Certainly not something you should feed to your dog.

I know breeders that will cull an infected rabbit and then do a full necropysy of the internals to check for absesses and if they find none - they feed it to their dog minis the head.  The head is ALWAYS infected.

My personal theory is that if I love my dog enough to feed him a proper diet, then I love him enough to not feed him a diseased rabbit.  The choice is yours, but i strongly advise against it - its not worth the risk.

If you do choose to feed the rabbit, at a minimum do a full necropsy and freeze the carcass at -0 temps for at least 90 days to kill off any infectious material.

Hope this helps.

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.

Lisa L.


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Lisa L.


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.

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

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

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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