Hope for a Rabbitry Amidst Snuffles

by Tiffany Taylor
(Fort Wayne, IN)

Thank you so much for writing this. I just got a trio of Champagnes and a trio of Harlequins all in the same month. I was naive and didn’t quarantine anyone...

So now, I have a pregnant Champagne and a pregnant Harlequin and both of them seem to have come down with Pasteurella. This is definitely not how I pictured my rabbitry starting :(

I was debating whether or not to cull them before they give birth, but your article gives me hope that maybe I will get a healthy baby from the litters.

I do have a couple of questions for you though.

1) how soon would a kit start to show Pasteurella symptoms? How long should I give them?

2) is it safe to consume rabbit meat from a rabbit that had Pasteurella?

***** Karen Sez *****

I'm glad to hear you won't just dispose of the rabbits. That said, you know to cull the does AFTER you have weaned their babies. Wean them early, like by 5 weeks of age.

To answer your questions:

1) There is no set time frame regarding kits that are exposed to Pasteurella by their dams. From now going forward, you will remain vigilant 24/7/365. Any bunny that shows questionable symptoms should be quarantined. If symptoms persist or worsen, cull the kit.

It is true that sneezing in kits tends to be caused by bordetellosis more frequently than Pasteurellosis. BUT: in the case of kits exposed to Pasteurella from their sick dam, just ASSUME Pasteurella, and cull.

Exposed kits that arrive at 6-8 months of age become suspect adults. I am willing to breed the suspect doe. Pregnancy and lactation create stress on the body, and IF it gets sick, then cull. If she can raise the litter without symptoms, then congrats! You've found a keeper.

2) Yes, it is safe to consume rabbits that are culled due to Pasteurella. Just discard the lungs, and inspect the body for any abscesses. I ate my culls, except when the condition was very poor.

Best of luck going forward!

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