Emergency: Most likely fatal diarrhea in domesticated rabbit

by Jessica
(Deltona, FL)

We recently had a few-week-old Himalayan rabbit pass away from diarrhea. Nothing we did helped. Also, an abandoned Florida White rabbit adopted us. It dug into our rabbitry, so we put out water and food (Purina and Calf manna). The F.W. would come in normally, when no one people were in there. Yesterday, he came in with hardly any movement in his legs, unable to eat or drink on it's own, and the worst dysentery that I've ever seen. It was like scours on piglets. The baby had died, but none of the other six babies, nor the mother died of the first case, but this one is also appearing fatal.

Has anyone had this problem, and if so, what did you do? He and I are running out of time. Please advise,

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Aug 02, 2011
RE Fatal diarrhea
by: Moderator

The himalayan bunny that died most likely died from enterotoxemia, one of the major threats to a young bunny's life. It is caused by an overgrowth of unhealthy germs in the bunny's gut during the process when the gut flora is building and normalizing. It strikes just like you describe, and one can rarely change the outcome in young bunnies.

That abandoned Florida White rabbit, however, is another story completely.

From the symptoms, the FW sounds like he is very sick with multiple life-threatening problems, including bacterial and/or parasitic neurologic involvement in addition to the severe scours. There's a very good chance the rabbit was abandoned *because* he was sick (which is why shelter rabbits are a very bad risk).

If the FW is still clinging to life, the only thing to do is to withhold all pellets and food, except grass hay, until the guts normalize, but allow it all the water it wants. You can also put Pedialyte electrolytes in the water. The rabbit also needs a vet diagnosis and appropriate antibiotics, but we will be surprised if this rabbit survives long enough to get to the vet.

If this were 'our' FW, we would let nature take its course, and bury it deep when the time came.

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