Doe with snuffles has 3-week-old kits

My doe is sneezing more and more. At first I thought it was when she ate or drank but now. Her nose is damp and the inside of her front paws are damp. I saw yellowish discharge come from her nose. I separated her from her kits. Her 5 kits as I said are only 3 weeks old. They are eating and drinking on their own. I think I will end up culling the doe but what should I do about the babies? Do I wait for signs? These kits are to be sold in 5 weeks - so how do I know if they are sick?


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Feb 16, 2022
Snuffles and Fostering
by: Hallie

Hello! So along those lines, a Holland I purchased contracted Snuffles in the breeder's transport. It was cultured at Cornell and conclusive. The carrier rabbit I bought died, and we treated the remaining rabbits in the rabbitry which mostly showed only mild symptoms. I maintain a separate herd of standard rex in a different building that were not exposed. Could we breed the infected Hollands and immediately foster their babies onto uninfected rabbits in the other barn or would the babies also carry snuffles? In the sane vein, could I buy clean does and keep them separate and still do table breedings to nonsymptomatic (but had been exposed to the snuffles) Holland bucks? Just trying to see if I can salvage my kids' show bunny prospects without killing their pets or never getting kits from them...

***** Karen Sez *****
Ack, no! Don't introduce anything to uninfected rabbits! The newborn kits are already exposed.

Were these my Hollands, I would do what I DID do with my Rex.

You *could* do table breedings as you describe. It would certainly be worth a try. It won't eliminate the risk of a recurring snuffles outbreak like a culling program would, but then, I love the idea that you're trying to be gentle with the kids' hearts.

It feels to me like in the long run, you will make wise choices, but you'll just do it more slowly so as to salvage your kids' show careers.

God bless you, your children, and your efforts!

Jan 14, 2022
I am having the same problem with snuffles
by: Sabrina

I am so perplexed. Her kits are a week old. Right now she shows light symptoms of snuffles. No runny nose or eyes, just an occasional sneeze and very small amounts of pale mucus every once in awhile.

If I keep the kits will they effect my other rabbits even if they show no signs? I have a doe that can nurse the kits and was wondering if the kits would make her sick. The reason I say this is the doe is first time mom and she won't feed her kits. So I have been bringing the kits to her to nurse them then take them back inside.

I just don't want my other rabbits to get sick. The doe showing symptoms is away from the others.

***** Karen Sez *****
I suggest you assume the worst for now, and isolate the doe, the kits, and the foster doe. (Because the kits have indeed exposed her.) You can keep them all in the same general area, if there is room.

Additionally, I suggest following the guidelines on this page about Pasteurellosis. Generally speaking, this involves:
  • Isolate the sick and the exposed animals

  • Cull the sick doe upon weaning the litter

  • Keep the foster doe in isolation, and cull her if she begins to show symptoms

  • Keep the bunnies that stay healthy. Statistically, about 1/4 will stay healthy, and 3/4 will get sick.

  • In this fashion, you'll end up with a VERY HEALTHY group of rabbits, and it'll be a very long time before you have to go through similar difficult choices again.

For me, that approach made all the difference.

Here are a couple more excellent resources:

Rabbit Raising Problem Solver.

Rabbit Reproduction.

Feb 14, 2011
About Doe with Snuffles
by: Karen

Sorry about your doe! As you may have read, there is no reasonable cure for snuffles, and your decision to cull her is regrettably a wise one.

The kits are usually protected from the pasteurella germ from the doe's antibodies until they're weaned. If bunnies in an exposed litter are going to get sick, they'll most often get sick by the time they're 8 weeks old. You'll want to cull the sick bunnies too.

The offspring that are 8 weeks old and still healthy are not completely out of the woods health-wise. A few that remain healthy to age 9 weeks may very well start getting sick before they are 6 months old.

Our experience shows that about 75% of the bunnies born to a sick doe will end up themselves getting sick. This is because their immune systems are as weak as their dam's. But that 4th bunny (the other 25%) will be just fine. And there's no way of knowing which is which, except through time.

IF you sell these rabbits, we would strongly suggest the high ethical road of letting your buyers know that the mother had to be put down due to snuffles, and that you cannot guarantee their health at this time.

It'd sure be great if you could cull the doe, keep the whole litter, and then use a healthy offspring that survives healthy to 6+ months to replace the sick doe. This way you'd improve your own animals, and down the road you'd have all healthy rabbits and no regrets.

Just to complete the discussion: the stresses of pregnancy can decompensate the immune system and bring on snuffles. This might be what happened in your doe. So, if you have the ability to save a female bunny, it is better to save 2 female bunnies, since one (or even both) might get sick once she is bred.

The whole point of keeping babies from sick animals is to identify the ones that have truly strong immune systems. If you save bunnies, and test the immune systems through pregnancy, and are able to identify and keep truly healthy rabbits, in a year or 2 you'll end up with a truly healthy herd, and will no longer have to worry about the dreaded Pasteurellosis.

That's an enviable place to be!

God bless you, and thanks for asking,


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