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Rabbits/My rabbit has Myxomatosis - day 14

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Bunny
Bunny  
Hi there,
My 4 month old dwarf floppy ear rabbit has Myxomatosis. As he swelled up and was lethargic, we first thought that he was having a reaction to the Calcivirus vaccination which he had had the day prior to his physical symptoms commencing, so he was treated three days in with a steroid shot, followed by another steroid shot and antihistamine two days later. Another couple of days later he was finally diagnosed with Myomatosis due to his eyes blowing up - all injections stopped. He developed the sniffles and sometimes gurgles over the last few days and is now noisy at night with his breathing.
He is eating, drinking, peeing and pooping which is why we are continuing hope - the vet says if he continues to eat he has a chance of recovery, and thinks perhaps his infection is mild, but his eyes have blown up more since he saw him last six days ago. I know most web literature says forget it and euthenise. The vet says not to give him anything further to help him fight, but he must do it on his own.
I have read reports of your successful treatment in articles, however doubt my vet would consider the drug you mention, as when he was diagnosed I had read on the net about secondary infections treatment, my vet said to give him antibiotics would possibly cause more problems inside, and to let his own immune system fight it alone (apart from Amacin antibiotic eye ointment night and morning)
I got a second vet opinion who agreed no further treatment would help.
His symptoms are blown up eyes (but he can open them a little to see), swelled genitals (though he is doing lots of normal poo), snuffles and noisy breathing. He has no lesions as yet. He leeps a lot but has times of activity and eating throughout the day. He gets put outside during the day (behind netting) and this perks him up a bit.
His noisy slightly laboured breathing worries me the most, but I believe he was perkier today, and his eyes seemed just a little better today too.
Is there anything we can do to help fight the pneumonia, if that is what it is?
Any suggestions would be most welcome, as my family would be devastated to lose him, although we are all aware that we may well do so. thank you.
Barbara

Answer
Dear Barbara,

I'm so sorry your bunny and your family are going through this.  I have not ever had to treat a bunny for myxomatosis, as it is (so far) not found in Florida.  But there was a report by an Australian vet who used Equimune IV (an immune system booster designed for horses) on her rabbits who had myxomatosis, and she was able to save them.

I hope your vet will consider at least trying this.  What could be the harm?  The alternative is almost certain death.

Antibiotics can be used to treat secondary infection, but you don't want to give anything that might suppress the immune system (e.g. steroids...), as the bunny needs every bit of his defenses to fight this.

I wish I could send a miracle, but all I can do is think healing thoughts for your little guy.  I hope he will survive and recover with all your love.

Sincerely,

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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