Rabbits/Liver Disease

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Question
QUESTION: Hello,

I have a 7 months old male rabbit. I'm trying to get him fixed but all the test results shown that his ALT elevated:  The following results are below:

1st test: ALT high at 156
2nd test: ALT high at 147
3rd test: ALT  high at 147
4th test: ALT high at 208

We even took him to an ultrasound test but the result shows nothing. We feed him prescribed medications which are 0.03 ml once a day daily for 30 days of Milk Thistle Liquid Extract from Swanson and 0.7 ml once a day daily for 20 days of Albon Suspension. He took his medication very well. My rabbit doesn't show signs of illness and he looks normal. We feed him unlimited fresh hay from smallpetselect, a cup of fresh spring mix vegetable twice a day and a tablespoon of fruits once a day. I also give him one supplement per day, and two teaspoon of pellet per day (1 tsp in the morning/night) along with some herbs. Both are from Oxbow.

Should I get him fixed? How can I bring the ALT number back to normal?

Please let me know and thank you.

Helen

ANSWER: Hi Helen,

Wow, this is just way out of my expertise.  Did your vet say it would be dangerous to get him fixed with these lab values?  I am very curious why the vet gave him Albon?  Did they give a reason?  Does the bunny have coccidiosis?  If it is coccidiosis there is a medication called ponazuril that has been shown to actually kill it.  Albon just slows it down until they can get immunity.  Was it just a precautionary thing?  Albon is safe but it is not really effective compared to some of the newer medications.  

I am really sorry but I can't give you an opinion on this.  These are some things you should ask yourself to help make your decision.  Does he need to be fixed?  Do you have other rabbits in the house?  Is he going to be a bonded mate?  Does he have behavioral issues?  Then you need to ask yourself if the risks outweigh the benefits.  If he is your only bunny and he doesn't have any behavioral issues and your vet thinks it would be dangerous, then don't do it.  If you have no choice, then you have no choice.

There is always an option of a second opinion.

Good luck and I am really sorry that I couldn't give you a better answer.

Paula

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

QUESTION: Thank you for your respond, Paula.

He doesn't have any behavioral issues, but according to the owner at rabbitry where I bought my rabbit from had some behavior issue where the buck tend to make a mess by marking their territory. We might get another rabbit in the future but wouldn't the surgery be safer at a younger age and will it getting him fixed increase his life span?  

Please let me know and thanks.

Helen

Answer
Hi Helen,

A 7 month old rabbit is still very young.  Rabbits can live into the teens with proper care.  Most of them don't even have testicles until 5 or 6 months of age and it is impossible to neuter them until their testicles descend.  

It really makes no sense that your vet would prescribe Albon without him having some sort of medical condition.  It is most commonly used for coccidiosis but is very outdated compared to some of the new medications out there.  I would still recommend a second opinion.

As for will he live longer?  It is hard to say.  Rabbits are sensitive little creatures.  They can live into their teens but they can also die if you look at them funny.  I prefer to have my animals neutered so that they can have a friend.  It also helps with behavioral problems and they will quite often use the litter pan consistently after being neutered.  I have seen many neuter surgeries on rabbits.  I have seen multiple female rabbits with cancer.  I have never seen a male rabbit with reproductive cancer.  However, it can happen.  It is less prevalent in males but it does happen.  If he is healthy enough to be neutered, then I suggest it.  This is an answer that you have to ask your vet.

Good luck

Paula

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Paula Murdock-Briggs

Experience

I am a licensed American Rabbit Breeders Registrar. I do not show rabbits anymore nor do I breed them. I do believe it is important that people that chose to breed rabbits do so with only purebred and genetically sound animals or that they have a thorough understanding of genetics prior to breeding. I have chosen to keep my registars license to help the 4H youth in my area. I do stay current on all breeds, varieties, show rules, regulations of the ARBA. I have spent the past 8 years focusing on rescuing and caring for PET bunnies who were no longer wanted. I am the current CEO of Little Angels Animal Sanctuary, Inc. I was appointed CEO of the rescue organization and sanctuary in 2008. We gained our 501(c)3 IRS tax exemption status in 2012. We have taken on the task of rescuing unwanted PET rabbits as well as some farm animals. I teach genetics and health to the local youth as well as register and promote the breeding of only purebred and genetically sound animals. I rescue PET rabbits. These are rabbits that lived in peoples homes and were either surrendered to us or sent to the auction for meat. While I believe that all bunnies should be pets, I understand that people raise them for other reasons. I will answer questions from anyone, regardless of their purpose. I will reject any questions that are considered unethical or inhumane.

Organizations
Little Angels Animal Sanctuary.

Education/Credentials
President and CEO of Little Angels Animal Sanctuary, Inc. I have over 10 years of experience working closely with a veterinarian that treats rabbits. We have studied and treated nearly every illness that can affect rabbits.

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