Question Hi Dana :)
It's been almost four years since I asked your advice last and now we only have three of the ten rabbits I had then- illness has taken them one by one, e.cuniculi rearing its ugly head again I think although not sure. My daughter was born in November 2011- the year of the rabbit to my delight- and the health professionals who involved themselves insisted on the rabbits going outside into a large custom made "condo" with one end right against the window of our living room so they can hear the television and see us through the glass as well as outside playing. Sadly though there has already been a casualty of that decision and our lop eared angora Thandie died last year. Now eight year old Snowy has fallen ill, we didn't realise how much weight she'd lost because she is very fluffy but she's progressively become a mess from chin to tail. We dry bathed her in cornflour daily immediately we realised and commenced Critical Care which she jumped at having. This has been going on for a little over a fortnight except for now she is having ground pellets mixed with apple sauce- we're in serious trouble financially and Critical Care is something we can't do. I know apple sauce at all is not a good idea wrt bacteria overgrowth but it's all we can do right now. I guess the reason why I'm asking is that she seems very committed to living which is what our two most recent bunny losses weren't despite us doing all we could, I believe they pined for me as they were always under my nose and scratching fingers before and during my daughter's first 12 months. Snowy has always been an independent rabbit though and really only wants attention from Patch- her father- who cohabits one side of the condo with her- Patch is healthy so far and has never shown any signs of being actively sick with e.cuniculi whereas Snowy was left with a residual "snore" which she's had since 2009 or so. Snowy was spayed along with her sisters at around a year old and developed ileus afterward, we managed to scrape her through it and she has trusted us implicitly since even though she has never been affectionate. So now I have a rabbit who wants to live, I've learnt to syringe feed her by myself and she's as keen as mustard to have it three to four times a day and we've stabilised her weight at 2.4kg from the 3.6kg she was while healthy. We initially gave 7 days of enrofloxacin(15mg/kg) and metronidazole twice daily at medirabbit recommended dose and she is having 2.5ml Bicillin every night just in case it was a kidney infection, not really to any avail, she is still badly soiled and I don't know what to do about that either. Is it possible to have a recurrence of e.cuniculi later in life?- we only assumed her snoring was e.cuniculi related in the first place given that we had virtually every manifestation of it when you helped me in 2010, perhaps it wasn't?? The long and short is do I recommence toltrazuril/fenbendazole with her just in case it might help? The form we have in Australia seemed quite harsh on the rabbits the last time and I don't want to make her feel more ill if it won't help but realistically we've tried all else except sedation for possible dental spurs and she isn't getting better even though she's keen on the syringe feeding and jumps on her greens. She's so badly soiled and we just can't get on top of it. What can I do? Is it possible that it's a dental spur(s) and the soiling is secondary to that or is it chronic renal failure? Sorry for the long winded question but we've promised our Snowy bunny that we're committed to palliative care as long as she wants to live and so far she hasn't given up. Please tell me what I can do for her that we haven't already done and should I start fenbendazole and toltrazuril? Also should I be giving SC fluids and if so how much how often? I'd appreciate any advice you can offer.
Thank you as always for your dedication to bunny lovers like me.
Answer Dear Nerida
The FIRST thing I thought of when you described how thin she was, but that she literally JUMPED at Critical Care is that "this rabbit has severe dental disease!"
You MUST have the molars checked ASAP. This really sounds like the root of the problem, and it will obscure everything else that might be causing trouble until it is addressed. Pain from dental problems can cause GI slowdown that then causes mushy poop, and it's just a cascade of disaster.
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.
If your rabbits is LETHARGIC
If your rabbit is NOT EATING
If your rabbit is PHYSICALLY INJURED (including broken bones)
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