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Haley's back from the vet

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MyBoyHarper

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I decided to take Haley to the vet this morning after I woke up and her cage only had 3 tiny poopies, and that was it. My vet is really good with exotics, and has did surgery on two hamsters and my rat. He also neutered Harper and my guinea pig. He will be the one spaying Haley when she gets older as well.

Anyways he examined her really good, tested some things, and was absolutely appalled when I told him that she was weaned at only 3 1/2 to 4 weeks old, and that she was only currently 5 weeks old. He said at 3 and 1/2 to 4 weeks, she should've still been on straight mother's milk, and been introduced to pellets. At 5 weeks, she should still be on mother's milk AND pellets, and just be being introduced to hay.

However, Haley doesn't want to eat any of her pellets, she only wants the hay. But she does drink a LOT of water. He said that at her age, she is not getting any of her vital nutrients from straight hay. So, he told me to supplement her pellets and hay with Just Born kitten milk, which contains colostrum, for 2 weeks. I am also supposed to give her this stuff called Bene-Bac. Which is a very tiny little tube of good bacteria (like found it yogurt) made for kittens and rabbits which were weaned too early, or are in high stress situations. I'm supposed to give her 1 tube now, and 1 in 3 days.

He also wants her on laxatone for 10 days, 1cc 3x a day. He said her stomach doesn't feel like it has any blockages or problems, but food doesn't seem to be moving through there properly. He said this is most likely due to lack of nutrients, and the shock to her system from being taken off mother's milk and put straight onto pellets and hay much too early. Her system didn't adjust to the change.

Anyways, he said in 2 weeks when all this is over, she should be one big, happy, healthy bun bun. YAY for healthy bun buns!

Just for a cuteness factor, Haley did her first bunny flop this morning! Here's a picture of it:




 

BunnyLover

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I'm so glad you got her to a vet. I bet you're relieved now. She is so adorable in that picture! I bet you can't take your eyes off her.

Lissa
 

pamnock

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A few Calf Manna pellets would be a much better nutrient/milk substitute than attempting to bottle feed her due to dangers of aspiration.

She's a very healthy looking bunny, and I doubt early weaning is a factor in this case (bunnies can do quite well weaned at even 3 weeks). I see absolutely no reason to give kitten mild to a healthy 5 week old rabbit. Bunnies are out of the nest box and eating mom's pellets as early as 2 weeks of age, so are not completely on the dam's milk at this time, which begins to decrease in production at about 21 days.

She certainly doesn't need the colostrum, which kits receive in the mother's milk for only the first few days.

Stress is a primary factor at this age when the bunny is subjected to a new environment and new feed. Attempts at bonding her this early have most likely also been very stressful to her.

I'd add a few greens (slowly!)and give her some alfalfa hay as well as a few rolled oats. Once she is acclimated, she should go back to eating regular pellets without a problem and you can discontinue the alfalfa hay.

Unfortunately, many exotics vets are not well versed in rabbits.

Pam

 

MyBoyHarper

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*Holds head* Ugh, now I'm so confused! Pam, I so truly want to listen to your advice, but then my vet is so darn adament about his 'method of treatment' for her. I agreed with you yesterday when it was said not to give her milk. Now he is saying to absolutely do it, or she will become sick.

I did give her some earlier, she sucked down 9cc's before she decided she didn't want anymore.

So, from what you're saying, she doesn't need the milk? He said she is perfectly healthy right now, but in the future, her early weaning could lead to immune troubles and gastrointestinal problems. :shock:

I may just take your advice and cut out the milk completely.

What about the bacteria tubes? He, and a pharmacist, both said that it would be very beneficial to her, and help prevent any intestinal problems, by replacing the good bacteria that may have been lost due to early and incorrect weaning.

What do you think about the laxatone as well, to help get things moving along? Laxatone scares me because it is so gooey. I gave it to Harper when he had a blockage, and boy did he make a million poopies! LOL! But she is so young, what is your opinion on the laxatone?

Thanks so much Pam!
 

MyBabyBunnies

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I know both of my boys were entirely on solids by the age of 4 1/2 weeks. I got Mocha at 6-7 weeks and he is now 3 1/2years old. Iknow he was on solids completely at that age becausemy friend had a few accidental litters with Mocha and Spice being in those litters. I was around them all the time as babies.I've had a few breeders tell me that some of their does even wean the babies as young as 4 weeks and they have to separate them from the mom because she gets so fed up with them.

As for the colostrum, Pam is definitely right, even if she was with her mom, her mom would not be producing colostrum at all anymore. I have to agree with Pam, she doesn't need the milk. The small poops are most likely from the stress which is just amplified by her young age and I think leaving her be and giving her time to settle in will be the fastest method of improvement and as long as her stress levels are kept to a minimum, she should be fine. Can you put her cage off to te side in a low traffic area? Even cover her cage with a sheet to keep it quiet and calm for her.
 

MyBoyHarper

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I'll do that. I'm going to take her off the milk completely. Her cage is in the master bedroom, and no one is in there except for when they go to bed. Harper is in that same room, and he sleeps most of the day.

Pam, I had no idea what Calf Manna was, but I looked it up on the internet. Interesting stuff, and I'd love to get some, but I'm not sure if anywhere around here sells that. Not sure where to even begin to look.

Harper loves stuffed animals, so I went out and bought Haley this adorable little stuffed bunny that has a sofft rattle in it. I figured maybe she would like to snuggle with it. :D
 

pamnock

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I think the most important thing is to get as much information as possible, and make an informed decision based on what you are comfortable with. With that, I'll give you my opinions in response to your questions below. Keep in mind that I've raised thousands of baby bunnies over the years, and in some cases, circumstances required "early" weaning.

So, from what you're saying, she doesn't need the milk? He said she is perfectly healthy right now, but in the future, her early weaning could lead to immune troubles and gastrointestinal problems. For domestic rabbits (which are descended from European wild rabbits), 3-4 week weaning, is actually not "early". The bunnies systems are designed for the diet change at that time, so it is only our preference for practical reasons to wean bunnies at 6-8 weeks. We have found that they take the stress of being sold better at that time, and most breeders do not have the cage space to wean and separate bunnies at 3-4 weeks when they are too young to be sold. Weaning at 3-4 weeks does not lead to immune or gastro issues later in life. (This is the natural time that they would be weaned, and some studies have even found this to be the most beneficial time to wean). The bunny receives most of it's immunities from the colostrum the first few days of nursing.

I may just take your advice and cut out the milk completely. Do what youare comfortable with. I feel that there is no reason to risk aspiration of the fluid and the diet change at this time can do more harm than good because her digestive system had already adjusted to a diet of solids. For very young rabbits that are able to eat solids, I recommend milk pellets -- but I really don't think your bunny requires those due to her age and general health.

What about the bacteria tubes? He, and a pharmacist, both said that it would be very beneficial to her, and help prevent any intestinal problems, by replacing the good bacteria that may have been lost due to early and incorrect weaning. Doesn't hurt anything, but not proven scientifically to actually help. Bacterias and enzymes in digestive systems are very specialized and are propagated and adjusted by the foods we are eating. There is not scientific evidence that artificially given bacterias actually activate in the system.

What do you think about the laxatone as well, to help get things moving along? Laxatone scares me because it is so gooey. I gave it to Harper when he had a blockage, and boy did he make a million poopies! LOL! But she is so young, what is your opinion on the laxatone? Many people feel that petroleum based products such as laxatone should not be given to rabbits andmay actually make blockages worse(you are basically feeding your rabbit Vaseline).The most commonly recommended therapy is to hydrate the gut by starting the rabbit on an IV or by feeding moist foods if the rabbit will eat.

It's not unusual for rabbits to go through a period of stress and not eat muchwhen in a new home. Your rabbit will not suffer from a nutritional deficiency over these couple weeks when she is adjusting and just nibbling on hay. It won't be long before she starts to nibble on the pellets again.

For the best intestinal health, start introducing some small amounts of leafy greens (dandelion leaves work well). They will provide vitamins and minerals as well as adding moisture to the diet to keep the GI tract well hydrated. Bunny can also be tempted with small amounts of carrots and apples (don't overdo fruits).



Pam
 

pamnock

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MyBoyHarper wrote:
Pam, I had no idea what Calf Manna was, but I looked it up on the internet. Interesting stuff, and I'd love to get some, but I'm not sure if anywhere around here sells that. Not sure where to even begin to look.

Unless you are seeing a lag in growth, I don't think the calf manna is necessary as long as she starts eating other foods within the next couple weeks. Calf Manna is very high in protein, so has to be used sparingly. We occasionally give it to does with large litters or occasional babies that aren't thriving.

Pam
 

pamnock

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A study done bya department of animal production in Spain saw no health issues in kits weaned at 21 days.

There was also a study done on the benefits of vitamin E to the intestinal lining. I'm a big fan of Nutri Cal (which contains vitamin E). I think it would be an excellent supplement for Haley at this time as it is high in calories and nutrition. Only a tiny bit is necessary.

Pam
 

tamsin

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Bene-bac sounds like pro-biotic which helps with the gut bacteria.... I'd definately give that. She's right on the edge of when you'd susbstitue the milk and just leave her on just solids.

It's not neccesarily a bad thing she's mostly eating hay. A change in diet in bunnies weaned too early is one of the big problem causes. Although the hay won't be enough to give her all the nutrients she needs it's also least likely to upset her tummy.

I'd maybe try a little of the milk and watch her poop closely. Put it in a bowl/water bottle though, whichever she usually drinks from. Definately don't bottle feed. As others have said there is a risk of her inhaling it with that.
 

Pipp

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pamnock wrote:
For the best intestinal health, start introducing some small amounts of leafy greens (dandelion leaves work well). They will provide vitamins and minerals as well as adding moisture to the diet to keep the GI tract well hydrated. Bunny can also be tempted with small amounts of carrots and apples (don't overdo fruits).

Pam
This makes sense to me, it always did, but aside from the problems withdiet changes, why is it alwaysrecommended that kits don't get greens until they're six months old? I can see making sure that hay and grasses becomes the staple,but a total dry diet of just hay and pellets just doesn't seem right, especially if there's GI tract issues that could use hydration.

sas :?
 

MyBoyHarper

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Okay, first off, a huge thank you to EVERYONE who gave suggestions here. Pam, your long post was so informative, and made me feel completely at ease. Haley is getting no more milk, and no laxatone. I am going to continue with the unlimited alfalfa hay and pellets, and leave her alone for few days. No taking her out of her cage to play or anything, so that she can get settled and calm down.

In fact, all of you made me think about something, and it made total sense with what y'all were saying. I got Haley Thursday. She did not hardly poopy at all, if any that day and night. I left her alone Thursday night and most of Friday. All day Friday, she filled her cage with big poopies, so much so, that I had to go outside and clean the whole darn thing! Then, last night, she did the meeting with Harper, got real stressed out again, and voila, no poopies again.

So, she is definitely going to be left alone for a while. I am also going to introduce holding her slowly. A few minutes, 3-4 times a day, and then slowly work it up from there. That way she won't stress being taken out her cage several times for long periods of time.

I don't have any dandelion at the moment, butI will head over to Whole Foods tomorrow and get some for her. Pam, what about carrot tops? I have some in the frig for Harper, is that cool to give her a sprig or two? Any other veggie suggestions that would be okay to give her in moderation?

Thank you again everyone for all the wonderful suggestions! This raising a young bunny thing is new to me. Harper was 5 months old already when he was rescued, so the situation was a little bit different. He was already on pellets and hay, and was old enough to be put on veggies and neutered within a few weeks. Having to do things in moderation and stuff for a baby is a new concept to me. Glad I have you guys for all the wonderful advice! :D

:hug:Hugs to all you awesome freakin' people!

BTW, anyone notice that Haley is pretty much healthy as can be, but it's her human mommy here who is the one that is a flippin' worry wart! :craziness
 

pamnock

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Pipp wrote:

This makes sense to me, it always did, but aside from the problems withdiet changes, why is it alwaysrecommended that kits don't get greens until they're six months old? I can see making sure that hay and grasses becomes the staple,but a total dry diet of just hay and pellets just doesn't seem right, especially if there's GI tract issues that could use hydration.

sas :?

Very good point to bring up! The sudden change in diet can cause fatal bloat and most new bunnies owners do not realize that only moderate amounts can be given. In many cases, they've given handfuls of lush spring grass to the bunny and killed it. Someone had bought a pet bunny from me years ago and fed it an entire leafy green carrot top -- it died foaming green from the mouth.

For this reason, breeders have found it far more prudent to simply say "NO GREENS!".

Even our very tiny bunnies have no problems with eating limited amounts of dandelion greens. Kits whose dams have been on greens have no problems starting on a diet of greens.

Moderation is the key. There is absolutely no reason to wait until 6 months to slowly introduce greens.

I agree that a diet including greens is far more healthy. The dry commercial pellet diet is simply a convenient way to provide a balanced diet.

Pam
 

tamsin

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This makes sense to me, it always did, but aside from the problems with diet changes, why is it always recommended that kits don't get greens until they're six months old? I can see making sure that hay and grasses becomes the staple, but a total dry diet of just hay and pellets just doesn't seem right, especially if there's GI tract issues that could use hydration.
I think it's probably a result of misinformation via petshops. Rabbit's coming through them often aren't the healthiest to start with, their diet is often changed when the arrive at the petshop and again when they go home. The new owner thinks rabbits = lettuce and give's them lots of greens. That results in a sick rabbit and greens got the blame.

I totally agree there is no point in waiting until a rabbit is six months old. If the breeder fed greens to the mum and they start nibbling as soon as they start on solids then no reason not to continue.

I suggest being more cautious if you don't know what diet the bun grew up on and it's just been through the stress of two home/diet changes. Best to give it a week or so to settle in before changing the diet more and then introduce things gradually.

Greens are great from the vitamin point of view but they are all excellent for enrichment. There are loads of fun things to do with them. 'Plant' a carrot in a flower pot and you're buns will have great fun digging it up again :D
 

pamnock

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MyBoyHarper wrote:
I don't have any dandelion at the moment, butI will head over to Whole Foods tomorrow and get some for her. Pam, what about carrot tops? I have some in the frig for Harper, is that cool to give her a sprig or two? Any other veggie suggestions that would be okay to give her in moderation?

The carrot tops are fine -- but only a very small amount! Grated carrot or apple (inlimited amounts) will also add moisture to her GI tract and encourage her to eat.

I've always found the dandelion leaves to be best though -- they also contain complex B vitamins which help to stimulate the appetite.

Pam
 

tamsin

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Dandelions are diuretic (make them urinate more) so I wouldn't say great for hydration. They sure are yummy though... well atleast that's what my bunnies tell me ;)
 

pamnock

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Most fruits, vegetables and greens that we feed rabbits havediureticproperties: potatoes, beans, spinach, radish, turnip,endive, salad greens (including romaine lettuce), apples, carrots, asparagus as well as the dandelion leaves.

In moderation, there is no concern of dehydration.

However, ashas been often noted, these foods given in excess canresult in fatal diarrhea anddehydration. (The effects of which we see when large amounts of iceberg lettuce or other diuretic foods are given.)



Pam
 

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