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Chronically Ill Flemie - what now?!?!?

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doodlebugger

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Our chronically ill Flemish Giant just had another round of dental work because of a spur and broken teeth. His last round was about 2-2 1/2 months ago which is when we found out he likely has bad genetics causing lifetime dental issues. He had to be treated with a different antibiotic last time because he had a snorty sound, but he had no infection in his lungs - the only place it came from was his throat. The antibiotics worked and the sound went away. He seemed fine until he stopped eating pellets and hay and was only eating greens - causing him to have strange poops. So, we rushed him to the vet who said she needed to take care of him that same day and she did the surgery. Poor thing had broken teeth and a spur causing him pain. She gave him an anti inflammatory and a shot of penicillin. We brought him back on Wednesday for a second round of penicillin and everything seemed fine. Wednesday afternoon he was wore out from the drive, but still had tons of energy and was eating and drinking fine. Thursday morning he sneezed off and on, and I didn't think anything of it because sometimes when he drinks his water from a bowl (he has a bottle, but at night we give him a bowl because he seems to drink more and we are afraid of running out) he sneezes. But this kept up off and on throughout the day. I checked his nose and there is a very little amount of white discharge when he is sneezing. I'm worried....but when he got his penicillin shot on Wednesday and the vet checked him, she said everything looked and sounded fine.

My question - do you think this is Pasturella - the way it is presenting now? Would penicillin not help keep it at bay?

Until we know for sure - what should I be doing? We have four other rabbits in the house but not in the same room as him. Should he be quaranteened further? Should we keep everyone from touching him (we have a high functioning autistic son who pets him and then pets our other rabbits)? I'm scared to death that if he has it, that it might be too late since I don't know how long it takes for the symptoms to show up after exposure. I can't afford to take all the rabbits to the vet......

Can it be spread to humans and dogs? We have a small house dog that is around this rabbit frequently.

The funny thing is that he is eating normally, sleeping normally, drinking normally, and using the bathroom normally. The only abnormal thing is these occasional sneezing fits, but I suspect from what I am reading, this can get worse if left untreated. :(

Waiting on a call back from our vet to see what we shall do next. :waiting:
 

JBun

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It could be the bacteria causing the URI isn't sensitive to penicillin. You could maybe talk to your vet about doing a culture and sensitivity test to find out what bacteria it is and what antibiotics would work best. If it is pasteurella, I'm not sure if it's contagious to humans or dogs, but I know it's extremely contagious to other rabbits, but with all your rabbits in the house, I don't know how possible it is to quarantine. I guess just do the best that you can.

http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Respiratory/Bacterial/URI.htm
http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/sneezing.html
http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/culture.html
 

NorthernAutumn

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From my understanding, rabbits rarely act as disease vectors transferring zoonoses to other non-rodent creatures, except in the case of immunosuppressed humans. However, they can easily receive infection and zoonoses from other species.

Pasteurella multocida: "Rabbits can transmit bacteria through bites and scratches. One of the common agents involved is Pasteurella multocida, a bacterium that resides in the oral cavity and upper respiratory tract of rabbits. Human infection is generally characterized by local inflammation with occasional abscess formation and ascending infection. Wounds can be readily treated with oral antibiotics." (http://or.ucsf.edu/ehs/9399-DSY/13873)

"The bacteria Pasteurella multocida (one of the possible causes of snuffles, a chronic respiratory illness causing sneezing and nasal discharge) lurks in the mouth and nasal passages of many rabbits. Theoretically, this could lead to a Pasteurella wound infection if a rabbit bites a human, but in reality it is quite unusual for rabbit bites to become infected at all. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, bites from omnivorous or carnivorous animals are far more likely to become infected than those from a vegetarian bunny: cat bites are notoriously high risk for becoming infected, due to bacteria such as Pasteurella. Secondly, rabbits’ teeth are chisel-shaped, and rabbit bite wounds are wider at the top than the bottom, which encourages healthy healing. Nevertheless, it is always sensible to thoroughly clean any bite or scratch with soap and water as soon as possible, and ensure that tetanus immunisations are up to date." (http://www.houserabbit.co.uk/resources/content/info-sheets/rabbits_health.htm)

If you think that you will be exposed to significant bites and scratches from your rabbit (transmission pathway of pasturella), then some safe handling practices are advisable. Immunosuppressed people should not be handling your bunny at this time.

This document suggests some safe handling practices which you may wish to adopt during your bunny's illness: http://www.acc.vt.edu/pages/training/ohs/downloads/rabbit.pdf
I would suggest that you change your clothing and wash your hands and forearms thoroughly before dealing with your other animals. Not sure if your home has a central air circulation system - may be wise to keep the door to the sick bun's room closed, with a fan blowing out the window (rather than drawing the air into the rest of the house.


****
(Zoonoses links: http://or.ucsf.edu/ehs/9399-DSY/13873, http://www.acc.vt.edu/pages/training/ohs/downloads/rabbit.pdf)
***"

(Miss JBun, nice post - check your inbox, please)
 

doodlebugger

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Thanks. Our rabbit savvy vet gave him meds because she felt that it was some sort of URI, but didn't want to do a culture yet because he does have dental issues and they are growing up into his sinuses (our poor baby). The dental issues are genetic, and he has had multiple surgeries, so I kind of tend to agree with her. She saw one of our other buns who has a very mild URI and treated him as well. The rest of the buns are doing fine. We had a change in weather, had to use a different brand of Timothy hay, and so she said it could be any of those issues that brought it on.

We are taking precautions however to ensure that everyone is isolated, that we are all washing hands, sterilizing cages/bowls/bottles/litter boxes, and we are changing clothes if we handle any of the rabbits closely. Just the thought of snuffles freaks me out! But the vet really didn't feel that is what it was. She has been spot on with nearly everything so far, and I trust her, so I am just going to wait this out. One thing she did say is that we can spread bacteria between all of us - the rabbits and the humans. So, she said that if we are sick, that we should take the same precautions as if the rabbit was sick - washing hands before handling, changing clothes, etc.
 

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