Lactating Doe with Snuffles?

by Lydia
(Chicago, IL)



My bunny gave birth to 6 kits on 11/21/13. She has been healthy until 11/27/13. I notice she has been sneezing a lot, and after the next day, her nose turned yellowish (11/28). However,on 11/29, the color on her nose seems to fade slowly. She is also still feeding her babies regularly. What should I do? Should I separate her from the kits or is that just a false alarm of snuffle?

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

Thanks for the pics. Your doe is certainly doing a great job feeding her bunnies, isn't she! They look lovely.

Unfortunately, the chances are quite good that your guess of snuffles is a correct one. The wet nose and sneezing could also be caused by a few other respiratory germs; a culture and sensitivity test by the vet is the only way to make a proper diagnosis. Even so, cultures produce plenty of false-negative results as the Pasteurella germ doesn't always survive the trip to the laboratory.

What to do? Your doe's immune system still has a bit of strength, possibly. She is fighting the germs, but the overall prognosis is not really great.

I would allow her to raise her kits to 4-5 weeks of age, and then remove her from the kits. This will give the kits a better shot at a healthy life.

It was the stress of pregnancy and then having to produce the milk for the kits that triggered the appearance of active snuffles; possibly her symptoms will disappear once she is no longer having to feed her kits. If so, it might be best on her health if she doesn't have any more babies.

Lastly, there is now a vaccine for Pasteurella in the USA, called the BunnyVac. Various anecdotal reports state that correct administration of the vaccine and then yearly boosters can eliminate the symptoms in sick rabbits as long as the rabbit has an adequate immune system function.

Please Note: It is far better for rabbit breeders to breed for health in their rabbitries than to vaccinate, in my opinion. Nevertheless, pet rabbit owners with one or two rabbits may choose to vaccinate in order to attempt to eliminate symptoms in their pet rabbits. It's worth a try until this very new vaccine demonstrates its value or lack thereof over the long haul.

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