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Question
My rabbit scratched her kit whilst feeding. The kit is 10 days old. The sctratch is small, maybe half a centimetre. What should I do? I read that neosporin cream is safe for rabbits but someone said it is not safe if the kit licks it as it is bad for the digestive system, is this true. Do I clean the wound first and can this be done with saline usee to clean contact lenses? Do I just wipe once and downwards? I am worried about infection. What about the kit urinating and getting the wound wet. Shall I clean it straight away? I am raising the kits as the mother rejected them and tried to injure them and threw them out the nest so I am stimulating them to go for a wee. I am worried though as I have not seen them poop. How often are they meant to wee and poo? What does the poop look like. Yesterday there was brown in one kits urine very dark, unless it was a bit of watery poo come out as well? Also the other kit had a bit of white come out in the urine- it looked like a drop of milk- can this happen if they are overfed? How often should they be feed? I am using the mother is feed them. They are 10 days old. Is it true I need to put a bit of the mothers fresh poo in the nest to help with the kits digestive system? If so how much and will this be dangerous in terms of risk of infection to the wound/scratch. I scratch isn't deep, just looks like a little cut on the surface of the skin. Any advise about kits would be appreciated as we have not gad the doe long and didn't know she was pregnant.

Answer
Hi Becky

I'm afraid I've never personally hand-reared babies. But I can tell you it's an uphill battle.

With the scratch, you would be best phoning a vet for advice. The rescue I volunteer for is on the Herts/Cambs border and highly recommend the Cambridge Vet Group: http://www.cambridgevetgroup.co.uk/. Give them a call for advice, the rescue uses Iain. They're not cheap if you need to go in but they really care about their bunnies!

With the hand rearing in general, they are extremely delicate at this age, although feeding frequency isn't as demanding as it would be for kittens or puppies. Rabbits usually only feed their kits a couple of times a day. The biggest challenge is nothing really replicates incredibly rich rabbit milk. Have a read of these:
http://cottontails-rescue.org.uk/health/hand-rearing/
http://www.rabbit.org/care/orphan.html

But I do recommend you give Cambridge Vet Group a call for help. Or, if you're on that side of Cambridgeshire, you can contact Caroline at Rabbit Residence (although she's hectic busy looking after 200 rescue rabbits), she has hand reared from various ages, both domestic and wild, their web address is here: http://rabbitresidence.org.uk.

Hope I helped a little!
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Expertise

I can answer questions around the welfare of pet rabbits, basic health queries including gut stasis, diet worries, bonding questions and the proper welfare standards around housing rabbits (i.e. no wire floors, no small cages and they should be kept in properly bonded de-sexed pairs in very large enclosures). I cannot answer showing questions nor complex breeding issues as I do not agree with either, seeing the other end of the story in the world of rabbit rescue.

Experience

I have two 7 year old rescue rabbits and volunteer for a well established rabbit rescue here in the UK, both physically doing cleaning out etc and I am also their events and awareness co-oordinator, helping educate the general public on proper rabbit keeping, this means I have to ensure all information I give is correct and matches current welfare standards.

Organizations
I belong to the RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund) and volunteer for a major rabbit rescue.

Education/Credentials
I have no formal education on this subject, however read everything I can to keep up to date with current welfare standards and health problems. Both my rabbits have sensitive guts and constantly keep me on my toes.

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