Metabolic disorders

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Flashy

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Just wondered if anyone had come across metabolic disorders in rabbits, and if there was any info or suggestions or anything at all relating to it.

I've just had this presented to me but have never come across it so feel like I'm feeling about in the dark. I have not yet researched although I do intend to. Right now I need to shake my migraine though, hence asking before doing that.

Thanks in advance.
 

ra7751

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Actually metabolic issues are very common but misdiagnosed. If you check many of my previous posts, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) is something I have mentioned often. The name is very misleading since this condition can affect any body system. One particular organ or system can suffer metabolism issues....bones are primary. In rabbits, the kidney and liver are also very suspect to metabolic issues. We have seen brittle bones, violent seizures, organ failure and even death, In people, most metabolic issues are inherited. In animals, MBD is usually diet related. Testing for the particular metabolic issue can be challenging and sometimes, especially in animals, almost impossible.Rabbits are prone to Vitamin D and calcium deficiencies. This is due to the incorrect idea that calcium should be eliminated from a rabbit's diet. Since many of our rabbits are indoor rabbits and eat an artificial diet, there is also a Vitamin D issue. Vitamin D is acquired by either exposure to unfiltered sunlight or dietary supplements. A proper diet is essential. While it is possible to overcome some metabolic issues, in severe cases it may not be possible for a full resolution.

If you suspect metabolic issues, a full CBC and urinalysismay be of help but should be interpreted by a very experienced vet. Most small animal vets do not consider MBD since it is rarely seen in cats and dogs due to fortified food but it is something we see often in wildlife and exotics.

Randy
 

Flashy

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Hi Randy,

Thanks very much for the reply :)

In this instance the rabbit is having toruble regulating her temperature and is either over hot or colder, and we can find no evidence of any sort of other issue that would cause a raised temperature (such as infection).

She has stunted growth and until she came to me was not thriving at all (her fur was sparse, dandruffy skin- but no mites). She is also all out of proportion. My vet feels she has fundamental flaws in how she is formed inside and feels that she has some sort of issue associated with her liver.

Tests are virtually impossible because she is so tiny.

Unrelated to this, but related to her stunted growth and awful face shape, she has horrendous dental problems at a very young age.
 

ra7751

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This statement will be very controversial among the old school rabbit people (and many vets)....but it might help to increase calcium intake. On many mammals we give calcium injections but they are extremely painful....might not be a good idea with a rabbit. Make sure your pellets contain Vitamin D supplements and take the rabbit outside if possible. About 20 minutes of unfiltered sunlight should produce sufficent Vitamin D. It is also possible to do an oral supplement of Vitamin D and calcium....just as with anything else, it's also possible to get too much of a good thing so if you supplement the diet....there is a very fine line between too much and too little. Also if you do increase calcium via dietary means, monitor hydration carefully and offer supplemental hydration if necessary in order to keep the excess calcium moving thru the renal system.

Randy
 

Flashy

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Thanks Randy :)

She lives outside which covers one issue. I'm starting to think that its not a surprise that even in the bright sun she will always choose to lay in the bright sunlight, not in any shade provided.

The pellets have a good vit D content too, which is also good.

What concerns me is the kidney stuff. I know you will disagree highly with this, but she is on long term painkillers for dental problems- 2 drops of Metacam a day. That will probably be indefinitely because of the state of her mouth. We can't get her off any pain meds. She is very young and weighs very little and so there is no other pain med that is feasible for her.

She does drink a complete trough full of water every day, but it was about three times this amount when she was not on painkillers (she was, at that point, drinking more than my adult groups of trios, despite being half the size of one of those rabbits, so it was a huge intake). Now she just drinks about enough for two of my regular nethies, I reckon. Hopefully hydration will not be a problem.

We don't expect her to live a long life, so I vote for quality over quantity at any rate and will do whatever we feel she needs to be happy today.

Thank you :)
 

ra7751

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Yea....Metacam is a bit stressful on the liver and kidneys. But as you know, this is one of those cases of the lesser of the evils. I don't like to see any species on long term NSAIDs when there are other options that are safer....but you do run into things like this that quality of life for the relatively short term trumps the long term potential damage to the liver and kidneys. I do break my own rules from time to time in situations where I know that a particular animal will not have a long term life and as you are doing, I choose to make them as comfortable as possible for as long as possible. In this case, I think you are making the right decision. Sounds like this little guy has had a rough go....give him as good a life as you can whatever that may involve.

Randy
 

Flashy

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Thak you Randy, that's really, really nice :) You actually might have just made my day.

Thank you for all your input and advice.
 

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