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Baby bunny cannot keep balance or hop

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amh

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Forgive my ignorance but I do not have any other option but to beg for assistance on a rabbit forum as no wildlife rehabber has returned my calls. I know I am not supposed to be doing this, I know the mortality rate is over 90% and they rarely survive human "help" but if/when they die, at least I know they were fed/warm for the last few days of their short life.

I have two surviving baby cottontail rabbits approx 3 weeks old, not sure exactly how to tell their age. They both have the white markings on top of their heads but one mark is smaller than the other. Both about 4" long and eyes open when this happened last week. The nest/den was destroyed by the mower last Tuesday evening. I rebuilt it right away (after online search about what to do) with dead grass and the mom's fur I raked from the yard and put 3 living ones back inside (buried three dead ones on other side of garage) but the next morning the sticks had not moved and one was dead.

The two I have were very dehydrated, the skin on their necks did not bounce back when I checked the following morning.I brought them in and gave them Pedilyte Wed. am until I could get to the store. Starting Wed. eve, I have been giving them equal amounts of powdered KMR and powdered goat milk with a tablespoon of heavy whipping cream for more fat. I only feed them early morning and late evening,and again late but before bed if they want any. I tried a pet nurser and syringe but they do best with a rubber bulb syringe (like you use for babies). I sterilize after each feeding. I feed until belly feels full but is not distended. If they are done, I do not force it on them.

They are urinating and defecating on their own,diarrhea one time the first day and not sure which one. I have them in the master bedroom in a large box with heating pad on low in half the box (bedroom is cold) and I keep it covered with a towel unless I am feeding them. I also put in dead grass and paper towel shreds that I change daily.

I know they will probably not survive but cannot put them back outsideas we live in the country with lots of predators, they are not food! I have done feline rescue for orphaned kittens for many years, did a TNR feral cat program for a few yearsand I have also been a nurse for 20 years. If they make it, I will release them.At this point, they have both lived longer than I expected as I have had them for a full week and they IMO, are doing well.

Now my question: one is very active, kicking about, wiggling while trying to feed it, hopping about in the box and trying tojump out. The other is alive but lies on its side all the time and when I sit it up, it cannot keepbalance for very long.Over the last few days, it can now hold balance for a minute or two and moves forward if I make a "tunnel" with my hands. Once I put my hands down, it falls over.It can move all legs by itself and has no obvious injury.Eyes clear, nose/mouth pink and moist. It moves around in the box by scooting on its side, usually up against the sides of the box or the other bunny (they snuggle). Head does not appear tilted, it can move it in both directions and I do not see any discharge or mites in the ears.

I do not know why or what could be wrong because I have no bunny experience.
I cannot find a wildlife vet within 100 miles but found a rabbit vet within driving distance if you think they could help. Do you have any suggestions? I think (but what do I know) it may be neurological possibly from birth. If it is and it will not get any better, I will have it euthanized because I cannot keep a wild rabbit as a pet nor can I release it if it cannot fend for itself. I plan to release the one doing well in another week if I can get it to take water from a dish (no luck with that yet, it just makes a mess of it).

I looked in some of the other threads before posting but I do not know what I am looking for therefore the titles do me no good at all.

Thank you for any/all responses. I will check back in the morning before work.

amh



 

Maureen Las

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This sounds neurological but I, too would not know the origin. We used to have a wild life rehabber mod in this forum; he has not been active ,however,I will forward this post to him and hope that he responds

You soundlike a great care giver :)
 

amh

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Thank you for your help, I really appreciate it. Hopefully he will respond and give some furtervadvice. Have a great day.

amh
 

EileenH

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Did you try finding a rehabber through here?:
http://wildliferehabber.org/
Your profile says Southern, Indiana but there is no town called Southern. Being as I am from the East Coast, I can't help you much geographically. But I picked a zip code from generally Southern Indiana and found one 18 miles from one of the zip codes.

My initial thought was head trauma, and since you said there was a mower involved, is is very likely. Keep trying to find a rehabber who can take them, they need to be on some kind of anti-inflammatory, such as Metacam. Steroids will not be helpful at this point since it is past the point of acute trauma.

As far as age, don't pay attention to the white spot, that is not a good indicator of age. As far as feeding them, if their eyes are open, I would also offer them grass, oats, and a couple of pieces of apple. If they are 3 weeks of age, they should be eating on their own. KMR is a very antiquated formula that is rarely used anymore. It is a kitten formula, not a wildlife formula. Most rehabbers use a formula specifically for Eastern Cottontails.

In any event, keep trying to find a rehabber to take them, and if you need to, follow up with the vet you spoke of to see if they would be willing to help or, if they know a rehabber. Some rehabbers are not publicly listed, but have a network of people they work with.


 

ra7751

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I would agree with Eileen. Sounds like head trauma. Time is the best cure for that. Metacam would be good since it is anti-inflammatory. It can be used for a longer period of time in rabbits than in other species. KMR and/or Goat's Milk is not appropriate nutrition and the heavy cream is a huge no-no. That stuff is from a time that it was thought that rabbits and cats were similar and we know that is not so. If you can't get a specialized formula for cottontails, and you probably can't, the best formula you can get is the puppy powder as it more closely matches the nurtritional needs....note the "closely" which means the lesser of the evils. We have had some concerns with the puppy formulas the past few years with excessive copper...which is toxic. The best food you can offer them at this time is Spring Mix with a probiotic added. I would suspect the healthy one should be released immediately. Hope this helps.
 

amh

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I tried that site last week but it would not load except for the pic at the top. It is now working. There are two within 50 miles that take rabbits. One phone number disconnected and email came back. The other I will call tonight. If no luck then there are 2 more within 100 miles so they would be my next choice.

amh
 

EileenH

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I am wondering if the vet that you spoke of would be willing to help and at least to give you some Metacam for them. As Randy said, supportive care and time is all that can be done. I'd call and see, it's worth a try!
 

amh

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Thanks for the link, it did work and I contacted a rehabber way over in IL after I posted earlier. I will be taking both bunnies over to them on Sunday afternoon. I saw it several times over the past week but it never did load for me so glad you posted it and I tried it from this site.

I fed them some apple which they loved along with nice green wet clover as directed along with more formula mix. She said it was fine that I gave them what I could find but she has much better stuff available along with medicine to help the injured one get better faster. She is moving more this evening, even took one little hop by herself before I put her back in the box.

amh
 

Sweetie

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Glad you are helping those babies. Glad they will be with a rehabber. Yay to you for helping them along. Hope they will survive.

Great job!
 

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