Cleanness is very important in rabbit keeping. Waterers and feeders should be washed and dry in the sun every few days. Wash and disinfect cages when they become empty, and separate any sick animals from the healthy ones.
1. Internal Parasites
Caused by a protozoan called coccidia. Affects both the liver and intestine. Occur in an overcrowded and dirty condition. Rabbits have swollen stomachs and diarrhea leading to dehydration, lack of appetite, and dullness.
Coccidia is commonly found in the intestine without causing any obvious effects, but a period of stress, such as weaning or bad weather may result in them multiplying rapidly.
Ensuing diarrhea dirties all the fur around and below the anus. If action is not taken flies may lay their eggs in the matted fur and the resulting maggots can eat away at the flesh of the rabbit leading invariably to death.
Young rabbits are most frequently affected with coccidiosis just after weaning. The disease can develop very quickly and high mortalities are common. In older rabbits, there may be chronic coccidiosis resulting in dullness and poor growth.
Control: Coccidioststs may be added to the drinking water to prevent coccidiosis from occurring or to cure it as required. Hutch cleanliness is an important preventive measure. Avoid contamination of feed and water.
2. External Parasites
a) Ear mange or skin mange
This is caused by external parasites such as mites. This cause a variety of skin and ear conditions.
With ear management the entire ear may become filled with crusty scabs, without proper attention, they can spread onto and over the face. Rabbits with ear mange may shake their heads a great deal.
Control: by use of acaricide drops and creams. These are usually expensive. In many cases, we used flowers of sulfur lightly powdered into the ear on a daily basis. Body mange can be cured by dipping the rabbit in an appropriate acaricide solution as recommended by a veterinarian.
Is a bacterial infection of the respiratory system, similar to a cold in humans? Outbreaks are more common where there is a lack of ventilation, overcrowding, and a buildup of ammonia from accumulated urine.
The signs are sneezing, noisy breathing, a runny nose, and wet and mated fur on the face and inside of the front legs, as a result of the rabbit using its front legs to wipe its nose and face.
Affected rabbits should be isolated from other rabbits. Treatment with antibiotics may appear to be effective but mortality is usually high and those rabbits that recover are often affected again if exposed to some new stress.
This is a viral infection and the signs include swelling of the eyes and convulsions. The disease spreads rapidly and is usually carried from rabbit to rabbit by fleas.
There is no treatment and mortality is very high. It is possible to vaccinate rabbits against myxomatosis if the disease is reported in the area.
In conclusion, there are several bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases that can affect rabbits. It is the responsibility of the rabbit keeper to maintain a healthy rabbit that is not stressed and in whose environment there are as few disease organisms as possible.
Signs of a healthy rabbi are normal eating and drinking, self–grooming, alertness, interest and curiosity, shiny, smooth, lean fur, especially on the front paws and around the anus, a normal temperature of 37ºC-39.5ºC, and normal silence.
Breathing; 40-65 breaths per minute, clear bright eyes without discharge, clear nostrils without discharge, normal caecotrophy, no soft feces on the hutch. Floor, gaining weight, or if an adult maintains its weight.
Conditions that make a rabbit susceptible to the disease are Insufficient water, insufficient food, toxic or poisonous food, an unbalanced diet deficient in energy, protein, minerals, or vitamins, and high fiber-only foods that can cause the rabbit to ‘blow up like a ball, sour dirty foods that cause diarrhea, dirty hutches and badly ventilated hutches that promote an increase in the number of disease organisms.
Stress is any challenge to any system of the rabbit system for example its temperature control system, its digestive system, and its normal behavior pattern. Pregnancy, giving birth, lactation, weaning and mating are all periods of natural and unavoidable stress.
Preventive measures for common diseases include sanitation of Waterers, and feeders every few days. Wash and disinfect cages when they become empty, and separate any sick animals from the healthy ones.
There are several bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases that can affect rabbits. It is the responsibility of the rabbit keeper to maintain a healthy rabbit that is not stressed and in whose environment there are as few disease organisms as possible.
Read Also: Husbandry Skills of Rabbit Production
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