Thursday, July 18, 2024
Rabbits

Rabbit Diseases and their Management

Rabbit diseases can make the healthy rabbit become unhealthy and diseased if exposed to stress and disease organism. 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 Rabbit

To identify a diseased rabbit, you should know a healthy one very well through the signs of a healthy rabbit and this include:

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.

Normal silent breathing; 40-65 breath per minute.

Clear bright eyes without discharge.

Clear nostrils without discharge.

Normal caecotrophy, no soft faeces on the hutch floor.

Gaining weight or, if an adult maintaining its weight.

Conditions That Make a Rabbit Susceptible to Disease

Insufficient water.

Insufficient food.

Toxic or poisonous food.

An unbalanced diet deficient in energy, protein, minerals or vitamins.

High fibre-only foods that can cause the rabbit to ‘blow-up’ like a ball;

Sour dirty foods that cause diarrhea.

Read Also : Guide to Proper Record Keeping in Rabbit Husbandry

Dirty hutches and badly ventilated hutches that promote an increase in the number of disease organisms.

Preventive Measures for Common Rabbit Diseases

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, separate any sick animal from the healthy ones.

Internal Parasites of Rabbits

1. Coccidiosis

This is caused by a protozoan called coccidia and it affects both liver and intestine. It occurs in overcrowded and dirty condition. Rabbit have swollen stomach and diarrhea leading to dehydration, lack of appetite and dullness.

Rabbit Diseases

Coccidia are 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. The 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 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 occurring or to cure it as required. Hutch cleanliness is an important preventive measure. Avoid contamination of feed and water.

1. External Parasites of Rabbits

1. Ear Mange or Skin Mange

This is caused by external parasites such as mites. This causes a variety of skin and ear conditions. With ear mange the entire ear may become filled with crusty scabs, without proper attention it can spread onto and over the face. Rabbits with ear mange may shake their heads a great deal.

Control: This is done by using acaricide drops and creams. These are usually expensive. In many cases we used flowers of sulphur 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.

2. Other Diseases

1. Snuffles

Is a bacterial infection of the respiratory system, similar to a cold in humans. Outbreaks are more common where there is lack of ventilation, over-crowding 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 font 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.

2. Myxomatosis

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.

3. Dental Malocclusion/Buck Teeth

Noninfectious and could be inherited or through injury. If by hereditary, it could be prevented by culling infected lines and breeds. This disease is manifested by inappropriate growth of the teeth.

The incisors are not worn away as fast as they grow as in a normal rabbit where the incisors grind against each other. The upper incisors grow very long and curl back into the mouth while the two lower incisors protrude.

4. Sore Hock

It is non-infectious and caused by rabbits stomping their feet on sharp objects or rough floors. The rabbits try to rock forwards on their front feet and the hind feet shows sores on the hock.

They may lose the fur pad on the sole of the feet with scales and irritation in this area. If allowed to progress, the foot bleeds or becomes spongy with pus exudates.

Soak the affected part in warm soapy water to remove the crusts. Rinse properly and dry. Apply ointment (zinc ointment, carbolated vasline or sulphathiozole ointment) or sulphanamide powder and penicillin injection.

5. Ear Canker

It is a parasitic disease caused by mites such as Psoroptes communis var cunuculi or Chorioptes cuniculi. The mites burrow under the skin and cause irritation in the ear. Excess moisture and crusts on the inner surface of the ear is present.

The rabbit also often shakes its head or scratches at the ears with the feet. If not properly treated, it can lead to wry neck; a situation where the animal holds the head to one side or falls and rolls over due to the destruction of centers of balance in the inner ear.

6. Pneumonia

It is a bacterial disease caused by damp unsanitary hutches especially without adequate bedding.

The animal goes of feed and has elevated temperatures. It can be treated with antibiotics such as oxytetracycline, penicillin.

7. Conjuctivitis

A bacterial disease. Also called weepy eyes. Affected rabbit rubs their eyes with front feet.

Exudates are also present. Ophthalmic ointments containing sulphanamide and antibiotics can be used for treatment.

In summary, 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, normal silent breathing; 40-65 breath per minute, clear bright eyes without discharge, clear nostrils without discharge, normal caecotrophy, no soft faeces on the hutch floor, gaining weight or, if an adult maintaining its weight.

Conditions that make a rabbit susceptible to disease are Insufficient water, insufficient food, toxic or poisonous food, an unbalanced diet deficient in energy, protein, minerals or vitamins, high fibre-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.

Preventive measures for common rabbit diseases include sanitation of waterers, feeders every few days. Wash and disinfect cages when they become empty, separate any sick animal 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 : Methods of Livestock Breeding in the Tropical Environment

Agric4Profits

Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with several years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. Agric4Profits.com - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. WealthinWastes.com - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error

Enjoy this post? Please spread the word :)

0
YOUR CART
  • No products in the cart.