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Dr. Jill
Dr. Jill, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  6 years of veterinary experience
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In the last 3 weeks I have had 6 of my rabbits die of diareha

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In the last 3 weeks I have had 6 of my rabbits die of diareha 8 had it 2 I saved. 3 were pregnant . 2 young. One a nursing mother. The 2 I saved were young. I don't understand I have raised rabbits for many years and never had this issue. The rabbit diets are a cup of pellets and lots of hay. The pellets are from the same place as always . The hay comes from same place as always . I am having mosquito problems with it being so wet but I don't know if rabbits are being bit or if that could be a issue.
Hi, I'm Dr. Jill. There are a variety of things that can cause diarrhea in rabbits, including infectious causes that can be transmitted between rabbits. With a number of them affected and a history of having lots of rabbits, parasite infestation with coccidia would be high on my list of concerns. This can be tested for by your regular veterinarian using a fresh (still moist) poop sample via a test called a "fecal float" (sample is put in a special solution that allows parasite eggs to float to the top where they are skimmed off and looked at under a microscope). If coccidia is the cause, prescription medications like sulfa antibiotics or ponazuril can be used to treat it. Additional options include bacterial infection, including overgrowth of normal bacteria or contamination of feed. With multiple rabbits affected, again, I would strongly consider something that can be transmitted between rabbits or something that all were exposed to (such as contaminated feed, contaminated water, etc.).

At home, maintaining hydration is the most important thing with diarrhea. It is the dehydration and subsequent electrolyte imbalances that generally cause death with diarrhea. You can use pedialyte or pedialyte mixed with water given with a dropper by mouth. Other the counter antibiotics are available that treat some bacterial infections, but I would strongly recommend that fecal float and talking with your regular veterinarian to look for coccidia since appropriate sulfa antibiotics are only available by prescription. Keeping rear ends clean and taking away any concentrated feeds or feeds high in sugars and starches is also useful (i.e. feed only hay if they're still willing to eat as concentrates and high sugar items can lead to diarrhea).

I hope this addresses your concerns and gives you some information to work with to help figure out the issue. Again, I would highly recommend starting with a fecal test to look for coccidia since that can be treated but requires a specific treatment. For at home care, you're left with providing supportive care in which case maintaining hydration is the biggest key.

If you have any additional questions or I have not fully addressed your concerns, please let me know so I can assist further.
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