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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 462
Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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I have a 8- 9 week old female baby mini lop rabbit that has

Customer Question

I have a 8- 9 week old female baby mini lop rabbit that has not been desexed. I took her to the vet today because she didn't seem to be feeling well. She is usually really lively and energetic but today she was just sitting in her litter box and when I picked her up I felt that she was a bit cold.
The vet that I went to could not diagnose her with anything and said she might not last until the end of today and gave her some subcutaneous fluid under the skin and also told me to syringe feed her some mushed up pellets mixed with water if I could.
My baby bunny is still going to her food dish, eating her pellets by herself which I guess is a good sign but just very slow and her body feels a bit cold.
Would you happen to know what is wrong with her? or is there anything that I can do to make her feel better?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 11 months ago.
Hi there,

I'm so sorry to hear that your bunny is not feeling well, and that you've not got much help from your vet. The fact that she is eating by herself is a good sign. I generally don't recommend syringe feeding unless the rabbit is not eating at all because there is a risk of choking or breathing in the food and causing pneumonia.

Rabbits often hide their symptoms until they are very ill, to avoid predators. If she's showing signs of illness at all, it does mean that she is quite sick, and your vet is right to be concerned that she may not respond to treatment. However, sick rabbits often have respiratory or GI infections, and these can respond to antibiotics. You might either call your vet back and ask that the bunny be treated with antibiotics, or try a different vet with more experience in small mammals, as antibiotics are generally not available over the counter.

At home, keep her in a warm room and try to minimize handling and stress. Don't pick her up and cuddle her unless you have to-- she needs to rest to have the best chance of getting better. Oxbow also makes an excellent product called "critical care"-- this is a food designed for sick rabbits that are in trouble. It's easy to digest, and it can be easily mixed with water and syringe-fed if you end up in a situation where this is unavoidable.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 462
Experience: Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
Dr. Taus and 2 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Hi


Thank you for your reply.


My bunny is now feeling a lot better however she is still on the thin side. Is there a way I can fatten her up?


She has a very good appetite she loves her pellets but when she eats too much she does a lot of soft poop. I see that shes not really big on the hay though which is quite strange.


Is there anything you could suggest that I could change about her diet so she puts on a bit more weight? She only weighs 279grams right now.

Expert:  Dr. Taus replied 11 months ago.
I'm glad to hear she's feeling better.

Rabbits have unique digestive system. Ordinarily, they pass soft, greenish material called "cecal pellets". This usually happens late at night or early in the morning. They then eat these cecal pellets, and the bacteria in them allows them to further digest the fibrous plant material in their diets to create the hard little rabbit pellets we think of as normal feces. If you are seeing the soft poop, it means that she's not consuming her cecals (you should really never see them), and that's a sign of a disorder elsewhere in the bunny's digestive tract.

It usually boils down to a dysregulation or disturbance of the delicate balance of bacteria that normally live in the GI tract. The "good" bacteria that break down plant material for digestion are outnumbered by "bad" bacteria that cause diarrhea. This can be a result of being weaned too early or being otherwise ill. Some things that can help include:

-Look for a good, quality probiotic that you can feed her with her food. This contains more good bacteria to help repopulate her gut.

-Take some of the stool (as fresh as possible) to the vet and ask that it be screened for parasites. Coccidia are common in rabbits and can cause these kinds of problems.

-Give her a good quality pelleted rabbit food (I like Oxbow products, but I'm not sure about their availability outside the US). For now, it's going to be hard for her to digest hay, so she may continue to avoid it. As she gets better and her stools return to normal, gradually give her more hay. When she is healthy, timothy hay should make up the majority of her diet, with pellets as a treat or supplement.

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