Forest City Rabbit Breeder's Club

Forest City Rabbit Breeder's Club

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Herds, Sickness and Long-term Viewpoint

Posted by athomepets on December 16, 2012 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Originally posted here:


The Situation: Snot on new rabbit

I was over tonight on one of the rabbit boards I am part of and someone brought up that they bought a rabbit and on the way home it started to sneeze and blow snot. The person asked, what do I do? What can I treat it to make it go away?

Snot and Rabbits

Snot is one of those confusing things with rabbits. A good deal of the confusion is due to misinformation on-line. NOTE: I am NOT an authority on rabbits and snot. Anything I say is based SOLELY on my personal experience and information received from folks I deem to be fairly reliable.


Anyways, here is what I know about snot.


1. snot means an immunlogically challenged rabbit.

2. snot comes in different colours. Yellow tends to mean pneumonia. White tends to mean pasturella. Clear tends to mean something odd is going on... ingrown tooth, hay up the nose, dust in the air/hay etc.

3. snot means you have a problem.

How to handle it

First and foremost. ISOLATE the rabbit. Clean it's cage. Do not hesitate. Do not give it a day. Remove that rabbit to a place where it is a good 20-50 feet away from other rabbits. Or less distance but the wind paths need to be blocked. Isolation means just that. You feed, care for your other rabbits first, THEN you care for the sick one. Change your clothes and shower before going back to the rabbits.


How you deal with snot depends on your animal husbandry choices.


Some folks see snot and isolate, then culture to know what they are dealing with and then make a decision based on that culture as to the best approach with that animal. Bordatella is fairly treatable, Pneumonia is often a death sentence, pasturella...can be treated, but tends to be out of the price range of most rabbit enthusiasts, so the prognosis for pasturella is NOT good. This waiting has it pros and cons. Cons: Keeps the infective rabbit around which is a herd health risk. Pros...if it is treatable then YEAH!!! you get to save a rabbit.


Other folks have a relatively simple approach, blow snot, die. Solves the problem immediately. Keeps your herd safe. People who follow this reasoning take the long-term view of their rabbitry. It is better to cull one unhealthy animal immediately than it is to risk the entire rabbitry. Pro:immediate solving of problem. Con: what if it was treatable?


When a rabbit has clear snot it's a harder one to figure out. Is it an irritant? Is it a tooth issue? If an irritant ..remove the irritant, solve the problem. But what if it's just a precursor to a larger problem???? What if it's just one rabbit? What if it's several rabbits? It's a harder one to figure and how you handle it depends on your perspective in raising rabbits.

The long term view point

Breeders such as myself and others who've had to deal with major herd loss have learned one very simple is FAR better to cull dead one rabbit then it is to watch your whole herd suffer.


White snot tends to mean pasturella. Pasturella is a NASTY bug. it can cripple rabbits, causes major breathing issues, cause seizures, slow growth, cause abcesses and a whole host of other issues. It can be hiding right in plain sight (as in you don't know your rabbits have it until a doe kindles or a teenage rabbit moves from one home to another), it can be painfully obvious in that you have a rabbit blow snot, or have messy front legs. It can be culling a rabbit for the freezer and finding white globs in the lungs...even though for intents and purposes that rabbit looked and acted healthy. It is wide spread.


SO the long term view point rabbit keeper says... Cull dead the obvious immediately. The does...if they seem fine but their kids all blow snot... cull the doe. If the buck seems fine but the doe he was with blows snot upon kindling, cull the buck (and the doe of course). Cull hard, and be mentally tough because in the LONG RUN it will be the better for your herd.


What else does this mean?

If you have ONE rabbit running clear snot and you know it's a hay dust allergy but ALL your other rabbits are fine...DO NOT breed that rabbit. DO NOT sell that rabbit as a pet unless you neuter it first. Just don't do that. Why would you want to breed weakness into your lines? This goes for any other issue: seizures, bad teeth, weepy eyes, poor hocks, breeding problems, slow growth etc.


ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS breed for health. Not for looks, type, colour, breed lines, temperament or anything. Breed for health FIRST. Doesn't mean the other qualities aren't important, but if you don't have don't really have a rabbit worth breeding.


And don't take it too hard if one rabbit you sell ends up showing a health fault. It shows you something about your herd. It gives you a chance to practice good animal husbandry. It doesn't mean that you are a horrible breeder (unless you knew of this problem ahead of time and said nothing to the buyer). It just means that one of your rabbits showed a hidden illness. You can offer the buyer a replacement. Do make sure the buyer is aware of your health policy before buying.

My viewpoint:

My approach to rabbits is snot is CULL IT OUT OF MY HERD. This means very simply, you blow snot, I solve the problem by removing your head. I DO NOT sell you to other people, not even to the "pet market". Too many pet owners decide to breed their rabbits and breeding sick rabbits or rabbits with poor immune systems is simply NOT good for the overall rabbit population. Plus is NOT good to make someone else deal with your sick or immunologically challenged rabbit. It's not their problem, it's YOURS so deal with it appropriately. It frustrates me immensely when my fellow rabbit breeders say .... oh this one blows snot so I'll send it off to a pet home, or this one simply won't stop having a weepy eye... Cull it. Don't make YOUR problem someone else's problem.

Question Asked: Who do I listen to?

Posted by athomepets on December 16, 2012 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Originally posted here:

The question was asked. "I found this information on-line, it's different than what you say. Who is right?"


The facts are: there a numerous ways to feed rabbits. BUT what the house rabbit society people recommend is not healthy for rabbits.

Information from House Rabbit people

Pellets are not necessary in a diet that consists of hay and a wide variety of vegetables. However, if your rabbit is accustomed to pellets and you wish to keep them in his/her diet or to insure that your rabbit gets all the necessary vitamins and minerals, give Timothy hay-based pellets that are high in fiber, 18% or more, and low in calcium content. RabbitWise recommends Bunny Basics/T made by the Oxbow Hay Company. They are available in some vet's office who treat rabbits and from the Oxbow web site (see link this page).


The amount of pellets fed should be based on the rabbit's body weight: 2-4 pounds, 1/8 cup daily; 5-7 pounds, 1/4 cup daily; 8-10 pounds, 1/2 cup daily; 10-15 pounds, 1/2 cup daily. OVERFEEDING OF PELLETS AND FEEDING OF POOR QUALITY PELLETS ARE SIGNIFICANT FACTORS IN RABBIT HEALTH PROBLEMS.


I know that natural feeding of rabbits is quite possible, BUT I also know, from reading, research and doing limited rescue how easy it can be to mess it up.


There are things in the above statement that I agree with.


1. overfeeding of pellets causes problems for rabbits.

2. poor quality pellets are a reality.

3. pellets aren't a necessity for a WELL BALANCED diet.


Points of disagreement


1. timothy does not NOT provide enough protein for a rabbit. You NEED to feed alfalfa hay.

2. you need more than a wide assortment of veggies. you need a wide assortment of a variety of greens.

3. herbivore does not mean means HERBIVORE. that means rabbits eat tree branches, bark, a wide assortment of vegetation. it does NOT mean carrots, celery, and such like. Greens, greens and more greens. mention is made of the need for a salt and mineral wheel.


Points of Concern

The amount of pellets fed should be based on the rabbit's body weight: 2-4 pounds, 1/8 cup daily; 5-7 pounds, 1/4 cup daily; 8-10 pounds, 1/2 cup daily; 10-15 pounds, 1/2 cup daily.


if feeding a pellet based diet these amounts would lead to the starvation of a rabbit. FACT!


Correct amounts would be as follows based on a 16-17% protein diet.

2-4 lbs - 1/4-1/2 cup

4-7 lbs - 1/2 cup

7-9 lbs - 1/2-1 cup

10 lbs and up 3/4 cup to 1.5 cups


this based on feeding pellets ONCE per day.