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Rabbit Health Care
Rabbits are normally healthy animals but when they get sick it can be very serious. The views about rabbits’ health care are varied. Some professionals say don’t treat anything and if it dies then it genetically culls unhealthy animals. Other people treat for much as a preventative while still others only treat an individual that is sick. Some veterinarians know nothing about rabbits while others will charge a great deal and some advise a regiment that is more for their income than for the rabbit’s care – healthy rabbits don’t produce income for vets!

Visiting a vetThat said medical advice can be given only by a veterinarian. Breeders share information but it is up to individuals to use it at their own risk.

Many common illnesses can be treated safely by the owner. It does take learning and a willingness to put forth the effort to learn. It takes making a decision sometimes to use medications that are not licensed for rabbits because very little *is* approved for use in rabbits.

Because of this we rabbit owners often have to adapt. For example, worms can be treated with Ivomectin and Safeguard, which often comes in a paste tube for horses. Obviously there is a big difference between a horse and a rabbit on size! A small dot about the size of a pea is enough for most rabbits.

Cutting the clawsThere is also often, especially in growing rabbits, coccidiosis to content with. This is treated with Corrid in the US, a product added to the water for several days then switching to straight water for the rest of the month. Coccidia are often carried in rabbits and other animals but don’t usually cause a problem in adults unless under extreme stress. Many breeders treat for it two to three times per year as prevention. In younger animals however this can be different and often the stress of weaning and going to a new home can bring on the need for treatment. Watery diarrhea is a sign of it and this is an emergency situation as the rabbit can die within a day from dehydration and the coccidia itself.

A rehydration formula to offer a sick bunny is to syringe gently into the mouth a mixture of a cup water, 2 teaspoons sugar, teaspoon baking soda and a little more than 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Myxomatosis is a disease that often is fatal. There is no treatment and supportive fluids are the only thing to *do* for affected rabbits according to some veterinarians. Keeping mosquitoes, flies, fleas, ticks and other blood sucking insects from getting to the rabbits is important in prevention.

Checking the teethHomeopathic care is one thing used by some rabbit breeders as prevention.

Pasteurellosis can affect rabbits in several ways. Snuffles is seen as an upper respiratory disease with coughing and sneezing, often with a nasal discharge that is dried and matted on the front paws. Pneumonia may follow. Wry neck or head tilt results from an accumulation of fluid or pus in the inner ear. Sulfonamides or antibiotics are the normal course of treatment but it can reoccur.

Wry neck, if caught early, can be treated in pet rabbits. One of the best sites for this is at http://www.barbibrownsbunnies.com/ecuniculi.htm with a great deal of information.

Excessive shedding can be caused by parasites or can be a normal shedding of fur. Fiber in the diet as well as papaya or grapefruit juice is said to help prevent furblock and hairballs from rabbits that might ingest hair as they groom themselves. Brushing your rabbit can help remove the loose fur also.

Prevention is always better than trying to cure health problems.
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