3 COMMON RABBIT DISEASES, ILLNESSES AND TREATMENT
Rabbits are one of the smallest yet steady meat sources you can have on a homestead. They also are a very healthy meat source as they are all white meat.
However ,when raising rabbits I’ve noticed there are certain illnesses and ailments that commonly occur in rabbits. It is important to understand these and also recognize them in a timely fashion so they don’t get out of hand.
Here are the most common illnesses and ailments among rabbits:
1. Ear Mites
Ear mites are tiny little bugs that set up shop in your rabbit’s ears. The ear will look really crusty, brown, and itchy.
So if you see your rabbits scratching their ears a lot, check them. After having a bout with ear mites, I now check my rabbit’s ears almost daily to be sure I keep a jump on them.
But if your rabbits get ear mites, don’t feel bad. Rabbits may live in really clean conditions and fed with proper diet and still end up with them because ear mites often live in hay.
Well, if you are feeding your rabbits a proper diet it should include mainly hay. If you notice your rabbits ears are full of gunk, then it is time to get to work. You’ll need a dropper.
Then fill it with oil of any kind like vegetable oil because it is inexpensive, and then place a few drops of oil in the infected ear twice a day for 7 days. This smothers the ear mites and relieves the crusty skin from the ear.
However, it is important to mention, do NOT pick the scabs out of your rabbit’s ears. They will clear up naturally. Picking at it will be painful for your rabbit and also open them up to more possibility of infection. Just let the oil do the work.
But you can try to prevent ear mites by keeping hay in a hay feeder and not just allowing your rabbits to lay in it. Also try to put a drop of oil in each of my rabbits’ ears once a week as a preventative measure for ear mites.
You need to realize up front that it is not normal for an animal to ‘get a cold.
So when you see that your rabbits have nasal discharge or are sniffling then you need to pay attention to what is happening. Other symptoms of the snuffles are matted paws, sneezing, and watery eyes.
Basically, this disease is best prevented by keeping your rabbits on a healthy diet and also keeping your rabbitry clean. The snuffles is a bacteria so if you keep their immune system ready to fight while also not giving bacteria a place to grow, then you should stay ahead of this disease.
However, if by some chance your rabbits develop this disease, then it is usually best to try and treat them with antibiotics, though they are not guaranteed to treat this illness.
So the best way to defeat this disease is to never let it set-up with your rabbits.
3. Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is something you have to really pay attention to when it comes to keeping rabbits. The reason is that they are very well insulated.
So on blistery cold nights you might be fearful of them freezing to death. When in reality if you provide a way to block the wind and give them extra hay (as chewing keeps them warm), then your rabbits should be just fine.
Your rabbits need to be kept in the shade with lots of water as heat can quickly get to them. So if your rabbit is lethargic and it is warmer outside, then you’ll need to act quickly.
Be sure to quickly decrease their body temperature by spraying them gently with cool water. Then you will need to take them to a vet so they can be treated with IV fluids.
But your best bet is to try to avoid heat stroke all together. You can do this by giving your rabbits frozen water bottles. They can lay next to these bottles and absorb some of the cool. Also, you can blow a fan on your rabbits indirectly so cool air can circulate around them. Don’t blow it directly on them as this can cause problems for your rabbit.
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