Your soft, cuddly friend suddenly stops hopping around. You find him feeling lethargic and weak. Your continuous coaxing to make him play and eat goes in vain. This makes you wonder, if all is well with the bunny's health? There are a few diseases that commonly affect our cute pets. It is always a good idea for pet owners to learn about some of the most common rabbit illnesses. This will help one seek timely help and bring back your pet to its normal fluffy self.
Most Common Diseases Affecting Rabbits
Flystrike is a fatal disease that occurs if the rabbit is not kept in clean conditions. When the rabbit's fur is dirty with its droppings, it gives a chance for the flies to lay their eggs. Soon, the eggs turn into larvae within 24 hours of inoculation. These nasty larvae bury into the rabbit's skin and cause a lot of pain and discomfort to the animal. There is no choice left for the vet, but to suggest euthanasia to ease the pain.
2. Ear Mites
The long ears of rabbits are an easy target for ear mites. These mites burrow themselves in the rabbit ears and lay eggs. This causes appearance of scabs and crusty discharge in the ear. The rabbit continuously scratches its ears, due to discomfort, leading to these painful scabs. The treatment for ear mites is to add a few drops of olive oil or mineral oil into the rabbit ears. The treatment should be carried out continuously for 3 to 4 days. Repeat the same after about 10 days. Visit a veterinarian for some medical advice.
3. Sore Hocks
A rabbit with too small paws to carry its weight or fur on the paws that is too thin, suffers from sore hocks. In this condition, the area of the paws that comes in contact with the ground becomes rough. It forms sores that become infected with a bacterial infection. This leads to bleeding and difficulty to move around. Treatment is a bit tricky, especially if the condition has reached its advanced stage. The doctor may suggest antibacterial ointments to heal the open sores.
4. Wry Neck
A bacterial inner ear infection causes wry neck. This is a common rabbit disease that leads to loss of balance. Sometimes, the rabbit's head twists to one side due to the infection. The rabbit suffers from a loss of appetite and may suffer from paralysis of the hindlegs. The treatment is not very easy and may take a long time. If you find even the slightest symptoms of wry neck, take the pet immediately to a vet's clinic.
Myxomatosis is a viral disease that is caused by Myxoma virus. This virus is a type of pox virus that spreads by flea, mosquito, mites, lice and fly bites. It may even spread by direct rabbit to rabbit contact or by sharing of food dishes. This disease has varied symptoms that include conjunctivitis, high fever, loss of appetite as well as lethargy. Some pets may unfortunately die within 48 hours of developing symptoms. If the rabbit survives, the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, ears and mouth become inflamed. The rabbit suffers from shortness of breath with swelling on the face. As there is no specific treatment for this disease, euthanasia is preferred.
6. Sticky Bottom Syndrome
Sticky bottom syndrome is a condition when the rabbit starts producing many soft, dark, smelly droppings called ceacotrophs. Rabbits eat them up the minute they emerge from their anus. Thus, it is very rarely an owner will find these ceacotrophs. However, if you find them sticking to the rabbit's bottom, it means this condition is usually caused by a high protein diet or too low fiber diet. It may even occur in overweight and old rabbits who cannot reach their bottoms to clean themselves. The only way to correct this condition is by reducing the amount of fresh vegetables/fruit as well as dry food you give to your pet. You should feed the rabbit more hay to reduce sticky bottom syndrome. One should correct this problem as soon as possible, as it increases the risk of a fatal disease, flystrike in the rabbit.
This extremely contagious respiratory illness affects the eyes, ears as well as other organs of the rabbit. It is caused by a bacterial infection called Pasteurella multocida. The symptoms include watery nasal discharge and sneezing. This discharge appears as a thick, yellowish or whitish nasal discharge. The infected rabbit tends to make vocal sounds that sound like loud snuffling or snoring due to the thick nasal discharge. As the disease progresses, the rabbits develop conjunctivitis and ear infection due to the contagious nasal discharge. Some rabbits with ear infections suffer from head shaking, torticollis, disorientation, etc. Treatment involves antibiotic course for 14 to 30 days.
Just like cats and dogs, rabbits too require a lot of medical care and attention. We all love to see our pets healthy and active. A bit of alertness on our part, will help prevent any health condition from taking a grave turn.