Why disinfect if almost 100% of rabbits are believed to have the disease anyway?
Hi I am just wondering about the protocols for disinfection. If all rabbits have Pasteurella anyway, why is it necessary to disinfect? As you are trying to kill a germ they already have? Wouldn't it be better to not be as strict with cleaning and then cull any animals which show symptoms? If you want to test the 'health gene' then wouldn't you want to expose them to it, and cull any which show signs?
Great website by the way, lots of really helpful info!
Alisha***** Karen Sez *****
Wow, great questions, and I've asked these of myself plenty of times. Here is how I look at the protocols we follow in our barn, and btw, my viewpoint does have registered nursing training and an understanding of aseptic technique behind it.
All rabbits may not have pasteurella, but most likely all rabbitries have pasteurella in the barn. It is our belief that probably 99+% of rabbits have been at least exposed to pasteurella. 1) If all rabbits have pasteurella, then why disinfect?
Let's make a difference here between 'sterilize' and 'disinfect.' The point is simply to reduce the bacterial count in the environment so that the rabbits' immune systems are not overly stressed.
In nature, the environment uses nano-predation and UV radiation to disinfect itself. In the rabbitry, we have to do some of that for our rabbits.2. Aren't you trying to kill a germ they already have?
As above, we're trying to reduce the numbers. It's kind of like for us humans - we have toilets for a reason...cuz we don't want to live in the, er, stuff. Plus, even if some rabbits normally carry pasteurella but aren't affected, being overexposed all the time may make a normally healthy rabbit sick.3. Wouldn't it be better to not be as strict with cleaning and then cull any animals which show symptoms?
Hmmm, I think this depends on what you mean by 'not as strict.' And, it's a question that I've decided to explore lately.
For example, it's spring cleaning in my barn. I've been swapping cages in and out. The clean cages that went back into the barn were cages that spent weeks out in the winter sun, snow and ice. They got a good scrubbing from me, a lot of UV sunlight from Nature, and this time, NO disinfection, meaning, no bleach.
Here's what I think (or hope!) -- the cages WERE disinfected. UV is a potent destroyer of bacteria. Plus the mechanical scrubbing removed the organic debris.
If any rabbits start showing symptoms, I certainly *will* cull. The goal, as always, is a very healthy herd of contented and feeling-good rabbits. :-)4. If you want to test the 'health gene' then wouldn't you want to expose them to it, and cull any which show signs?
I don't think I have the courage to rub my rabbit's nose in another's snot! Because, the 'health gene' is not a single gene, but a very complex collection of biologic processes controlled by I don't know HOW many separate genes, all partnering together for health.
If in a normal, fairly 'clean' environment my rabbits stay completely symptom-free despite any exposure they may get from other rabbits (especially at rabbit shows where they may run into various new strains of pasteurella), then I'm a happy camper, and so, apparently, are my rabbits.
Does this make sense?? Keep the questions coming, if not!