After going through nearly the exact same issue as you...I fully agree with your plan. I decided to start raising show Flemish and purchased some very expensive rabbits from a shower/breeder. Nearly immediately after getting the 1st rabbit home, he was sneezing + slowly got worse. Upon letting the breeder know, she told me it was probably hair in his nose irritating it.
However, it responded to antibiotics. After paying nearly $200 in vet bills, I have a rabbit who is mostly better, but still occasionally sneezes. He spread it to the one healthy doe I had even though they were many feet apart in seclusion cages and I was mindful of cross contamination.
I had already put a deposit down on another rabbit from this breeder at the time I purchased the first rabbit. When I went to get it, it was sneezing and its teeth were stained yellow, which told me she had been treating it with oxytetracycline. Despite my better judgment, I took the rabbit home anyway. I put her through a round of Baytril (she was less expensive at least because she was a weanling) and she is doing okay, but started sneezing again today.
I spoke with the breeder again and she said she doesn't worry or consider them sick unless they have white discharge. Those of us who have healthy rabbits know that this is not an accurate assessment of rabbit health.
So, long story summed up, I have 3 rabbits who are in "okay" health after a lot of $$$ put in to them. I'm having to keep them isolated from my other rabbits, which is a pain in the butt to do my chores + I constantly worry about cross contamination. I hope to get a litter or two out of them and then to replace them just as you have stated on your website.
possible to find reputable breeders with healthy rabbits. I just purchased 3 healthy sandy Flemish Giants.
For you readers of this...please please please be picky about what you purchase. It makes the difference of loving to have rabbits and loathing to have rabbits, because they are always sick. ***** Karen Sez *****
Well said! Nothing to add, except thank you for sharing this with us all.