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Rabbits => Rabbit Care Corner => Topic started by: KaraokeKid on September 15, 2011, 06:47:14 PM

Title: Adopted a rabbit and now she's sick!
Post by: KaraokeKid on September 15, 2011, 06:47:14 PM
Hi, I posted in here a while ago about adopting a Flemish Giant. I really appreciated the advice I got in that thread as it helped save me cash, and it turns out I needed it!

I got the bunny from a rescue on Tuesday 9/14. She is 8 months old and already spayed. When I got her, she was very active and inquisitive, hopping around, checking things out and even playing with her new toys. But yesterday evening I noticed a sudden change. All she wanted to do was lay around and she didn't get excited when I put lettuce in her pen.  She wasn't interested in coming out. I noticed her eye was very red and swollen, and weeping. It wasn't like that when I adopted her!

I took her to the vet this morning. They checked her teeth with an othoscope, stained her eye to look for scratches (which was difficult because of how swollen the tissues around the actual eyeball are), and they didn't find any overly sharp teeth, abcesses or any scratches on the cornea. So it was ruled to be conjunctivitis and they gave us Baytril, some antibiotic goop to put into her eye once every four hours and some Metacam.

It's alarming to me how listless she is. Like I said she isn't eating much. If I hold hay or lettuce up to her she eats it, but is not about it. I saw her eating some pellets this morning, but none since. She did poop a little at the vet's but not much, and none since. The vet did feel and listen to her gut and said it seemed okay, but I'm worried that she's going to get GI stasis eating this little. She isn't drinking a whole lot either, but if I put her bowl in front of her she takes a few laps.

Like I said before, I'm pretty worried. Can anyone offer any advice or share their experiences with rabbit conjunctivitis and/or swollen eyes and this type of lethargic behavior? Is there anything I can do to make her more comfortable?
Title: Re: Adopted a rabbit and now she's sick!
Post by: JessicasZooCrew on September 15, 2011, 08:05:03 PM
First - contact the rescue and let them know the situation.

In the 13 years of being a bunny slave, I have only dealt with "weepy" eye once, in an American Fuzzy Lop buck. It was clear within 2 weeks of treatment (just "eye goop" lol).

This is very strange, did the rescue give you some of the food they were using? Rabbits need to change feed gradually or it can stress their tummies. It's usually done like this - 1/4 food to 3/4 old for a week, 1/2 and 1/2 for a week, then 3/4 new and 1/4 old for a week, then straight new food but I usually oats for a week after that to help adjust.

You can try apple cider vinegar (I do 1 tsp per 16oz of water). A lot of breeders use it because it supposedly helps with breeding but studies have shown that it actually helps with digestion. I don't know about any of the other issues but if I have a rabbit not wanting to drink the acv seems to entice them.

As for food, how is her poop? Is it nice, firm round balls are mushy? If it's mushy, don't give anymore fruits or veggies - mostly give hay. The oats usually entice bunnies off of food to eat so include that with the pellets.

She also could be a little stressed, it's a new inviroment, new routine for her to get used to. The larger rabbit breeds usually are a tad more "laid back" and aren't as over the place as many of the dwarf or running breeds. My flemmies that I had or fostered in the past were usually pretty laid back. My rabbits eat mostly at night and are most active at night and sleep for much of the day.
Title: Re: Adopted a rabbit and now she's sick!
Post by: KaraokeKid on September 15, 2011, 08:13:58 PM
I did contact the rescue, but I got the teenaged daughter on the phone rather than the woman in charge. I explained the situation to her and all she said was, "That's weird." I did follow up by writing the woman who runs the rescue an email.

The rescue gave me a bunch of her food, which is the Purina Complete brand. I plan on switching her to Oxbow later, and was planning on mixing the food as you said.

Her poop isn't mushy, it is nice and round. I've just gone from "I hope I can bond with my bunny/she likes her toys" to "I hope my bunny isn't dying" so I guess I've hit the panic button a little too soon. This is my first rabbit.

Title: Re: Adopted a rabbit and now she's sick!
Post by: Eileen on September 16, 2011, 10:50:25 AM
First things first - is your vet an experienced rabbit vet? Most vets are not. The House Rabbit Society has a list of vets that are experienced with rabbits:

It could be the new environment, stress, but a rabbit that is listless - and is  he eating & pooping?  - is concerning. Rabbits can stop or slow eating for a variety of reasons but you have to get him back eating (but after re-reading your OP, you know about that, which is awesome!)

There is a rabbit forum that you should join: They have a whole ton of resources, care sheets, lots of knowledgeable people. Go over there & search "conjuctivitis", they have good resources there.
Title: Re: Adopted a rabbit and now she's sick!
Post by: KaraokeKid on September 20, 2011, 03:14:12 PM
Thank you, she's doing a lot better now. I went over to rabbitsonline also, thanks for the advice.
Title: Re: Adopted a rabbit and now she's sick!
Post by: *Kat* on September 20, 2011, 03:31:14 PM
what do you mean when you say lettuce?     What food does she receive daily?
Title: Re: Adopted a rabbit and now she's sick!
Post by: KaraokeKid on September 20, 2011, 03:56:40 PM
Daily she receives timothy hay, pellets (the rescue had her on Purina complete and I'm going to start switching her to Oxbow, but I don't want to start doing that until she has recovered and the rescue sent me home with a TON of the Purina stuff), and greens in the morning and evening such as romaine lettuce, parsley, cilantro, turnip greens, carrot tops, and small amounts of carrots and zucchini. Don't worry, I'm not feeding her ONLY lettuce. :o