What if my rabbits get better from snuffles?

by Mandy

Wanted to thank you for your information on snuffles and pasteurella, especially about saving the babies of sick animals. It's nice not getting a completely 'doom and gloom' answer. I have two does with snotty noses, but they both seem to be doing much better today. Any idea what you would do if either of them recovered?

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Sep 23, 2010
Snuffles is Always Best Culled
by: Karen

I know that some rabbit breeders will cull both the doe and the babies automatically, and I understand their concern, since snuffles isn't curable. But, if you realize that very close to 100% of rabbits are exposed to snuffles and you put down both the doe and her litter, you'll just have to buy new, and then you're right back in the exact same boat, with no improvements made. You'll have new rabbits, but again with questionable immunity.

Personally, I believe immunity is inheritable, probably from multiple genes. So, if you keep the kits which, after being exposed for weeks to snuffles as they were with their sick dam, and still managed to stay healthy, you know you've got the strong animals for use as breeders.

The only thing is - 1) keeping the herd healthy in the meantime, and 2) being able to tell the sick bunnies from the very healthy ones. So...
--Keep all the bunnies initially
--Quarantine the youngsters - cage dividers are very good, plus keep your aisles at least 3 feet wide, and wash hands between rabbits
--Cull the obviously unthrifty bunnies as they become sick
--Clean the cage, feeder and waterer with 1:10 bleach solution every time you pull out a sneezer.
--Cull every sneezer without fail and without sentimentality
--The animals that survive your culling to maturity most likely will have strong immune systems.

"Any idea what I would do if the does recovered?"

Yeah, forgive me for this, but they'd go straight to the crock pot (or fed raw to the dog or cat) as soon as their litters were weaned, even if they *seemed* to be better. The reason for this is they have already demonstrated the weaknesses in their immunity, and the sneezing will return the minute the immune system takes another dip. Even if the does seem to be getting better, please understand that they will not help build a strong herd, because *they* are not strong. That's the 'doom and gloom' you mentioned. The only exception, and we illustrate this on our Pasteurellosis page: if these are excellent animals, I would keep the does isolated and get one more litter from them, only so I would have more bunnies from which to find healthy animals.

One more caveat: sneezing isn't *always* due to pasteurella, however because of the endemic nature of the germ, it is always the initial overwhelmingly favorite suspect.

Lastly, just know that building health in your herd is a process. Keep culling and keep cleaning the rabbits' environment as you discover other youngsters that start sneezing. In a year or two, you'll get to a point where every single rabbit you own will have an immune system that is very nearly iron-clad. It's a good feeling and a great achievement, not just for you, but for your rabbits, the environment, and for any pet-rabbit owners that buy their very healthy rabbits from you.

Good luck going forward!

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