My Benjamin is not doing well, and I don't know why

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by gentle giants, Jan 7, 2006.

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  1. Jan 7, 2006 #1

    gentle giants

    gentle giants

    gentle giants

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    This is an ongoing problem, he has been very slowly going downhill for several months, and I don't know what to do. It started this summer, he was just a little "off", not himself. You all know what I mean, when a pet just--isn't right. I just figured it was because of the heat. Well, when the weather cooled off and he wasn't getting better, I took him to a local vet. We don't really have any rabbit vets around here, the closest one is something like two hours away.

    Anyway, the vet I took him to did a fecal sample, said there was a lot of bacteria in his poo, and put him on antibiotics for a little over a week. He seemed to improve slightly while he was on the meds, but went back to being lethargic again after he finished them. Because of him not moving around much at all, he started to get too fat. So I (slightly) reduced his pellet ration.

    He started losing weight, rapidly enough that I brought his feed back to normal. Now, however, he is still losing weight, and has gotten to the point that I can easily feel his backbone and ribs. Some days it seems his appetite is fine, some days he hardly eats at all. He has no energy at all, he just sits in one corner of his cage all the time and does nothing. He doesn't even get up to greet me when I come in anymore.
    I am thinking of trying another vet in the area that seems to know a little more about rabbits. (The one I took Big Mama to seemed fairly knowledgable. But it will be a few days before I can get him anywhere,does this sound at all familiar to anyone? A friend of mine said maybe his thyroid isn't working right? Any help would be really, really great. I don't want to lose this guy, he is my giant teddy bear.
    :(
     
  2. Jan 7, 2006 #2

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

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    Hi Gentlegiants it really sounds like your bunny is sick. I really don't know what it could be, however it is important that you get him to an experienced vet who could do bloodwork on him. Does he eat hay and greens? Are his poops normal?
     
  3. Jan 7, 2006 #3

    SAS

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    Yeah, my baby seemed a little 'off' for weeks (quiet, not getting into trouble too often for my liking, and on-and-off appetite). She got really sick at one point because she stopped drinking (which is way more important than eating), but some Pedialyte (again, something suggested by somebody on a net group) really pulled her out of that.A couple of vet visits later, with no answers, somebody suggested having her knocked out and her teeth more thoroughly checked, and they foundspurs on her very back molars. (My bunny-savvyvet didn't think that was it, because she wasn't drooling).

    Her fecal test was clear, though.

    I know they have to ID the bug and experiment with the antibiotics, I'd think that's the first step.

    And if he's losing weight and lethargic, then Nutrical will be a good thing. (Start with tiny bits and work your way up, and don't keep him on it too long). Its a high-calorie supplement for cats and dogs, but if can be used in a pinch for rabbits with those kind of issues.

    It may be that he needs a fullblood work-up -- they'll knock him out for 30 minutes or so and take blood -- and they'd check his teeth, etc at the same time. But you doneed a bunny savvyvet and as muchfeedback as you can get. Something's not right.

    Good luck with him.

    SAS
     
  4. Jan 7, 2006 #4

    TinysMom

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    I just want to add that you might want to give him "Critical Care" by Oxbow along with the Nutrical since it is made for rabbits & reptiles (or something like that). I bought mine on Ebay and it gets used a lot around here if a rabbit seems a bit down.

    Anyway - the directions are on the container - I forget exactly what they are. I tend to mix it with either baby food or pedialyte when I use it.

    Peg
     
  5. Jan 7, 2006 #5

    gentle giants

    gentle giants

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    That is something I forgot to mention. He won't eat his hay anymore! I am still providing it of course, just in case he feels like a nibble, but as far as I can tell, he's not even touching it. Teeth are something I hadn't thought of, I will have to ask about that when I can get him to the vet again. Oh, and the hay hasn't been changed, either, I'm still getting it from the same source and everything.

    Is Nutrical something they have to eat, or do you dose them with it? His appetite is not good, and I have been trying to get him to eat something called Show Bloom, it's supposed to be a "complete nutrients and minerals supplement" or something to that effect. He won't eat that, either, though.
    His poops seem normal.
     
  6. Jan 7, 2006 #6

    SAS

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    gentle giants wrote:
    Not eatinghay is a good indicator of teeth problems, although a lot of buns will stop eating hay first no matter what the problem is. Will he eat a grated carrot more readily than a whole carrot?

    If he's not eating hay, he should be getting daily pumpkin.Calories and moisture will help, as will the fibre.

    Nutical comes in a little tube, you give them a short ribbon of it. It's not formulated for herbivores, so they most often don't like it.

    If your bun is a pumpkin fan, it makes it easier to sneak in meds and supplements. Somebody tipped me off to a bit of daily pumpkin as a treat.

    I got mine eating out of a syringe. I started witha little flavoured Pedialyte (andpumpkin) and the syringe became her friend. It was treat time wheneverI pulled it out. :)

    SAS

     
  7. Jan 7, 2006 #7

    Maureen Las

    Maureen Las

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    I have a mini-lop that had teeth problems and would only eat pellets until I discovered it. My rabbit, Beau did not look sick but only "not comfortable". It took me a long time to discover that his peg teeth were growing inso weird that he had problems grooming himself and eating hay.
    Benjamin could have a tooth problem. I've used Critical Care mixed with Pedialyte and if he is cooperative it may help him feel better until you can get him to the vet. You can order Critical Care online by looking up Oxbow hay
     
  8. Jan 7, 2006 #8

    SAS

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    Yeah, good question, is he eating his pellets? Other than on the off days when she wouldn't eat much of anything, she'd always eat a few pellets (which is why I didn't bother with Critical Care, but if he's not eating pellets, I agree that's a must).

    The hay went first, then greens... and then carrot (her treat veggie),which is when I got worried. For some reason she'd eat cauliflower, but that was pretty much it for the veggies -- other than the pumpkin, which was the lifesaverI think.

    SAS
     
  9. Jan 7, 2006 #9

    Maureen Las

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    Beau would pick at greens and wouldn't eat hay. His peg teeth were growing upward so they looked like a handlebar mustache....it freaked me out when I discovered it...I got him to the vet the same day..they just have to be routinely clipped which I do myself.
    It is probably a genetic defect. After that was taken care of he got a little bump underneath his lower jaw. He was on antibiotics for 2 weeks and after that he was the best I had ever seen him!
     
  10. Jan 7, 2006 #10

    gentle giants

    gentle giants

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    I will have to get some pumpkin and try getting that down him. I haven't tried a carrot yet, he was eating shredded wheat ok, that is all my bunnies fav treat. He isn't eating his pellets very well now, it seems his appetite is slowly going down the drain. I am really hoping it is his teeth. It doesn't seem to be hereditary, I have one of his daughters and Dyky has one of his sons, and I know my Sally is in great health, and as far as I know Rupert (Dyky boy) is fine too.
     
  11. Jan 7, 2006 #11

    gentle giants

    gentle giants

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    Is there any way I could look and tell if it is his teeth myself? Just so I would know, to ease my mind and to tell the vet what to look for. I will be back on first thing in the am, but I have to get to bed. Thank you all for the help/ideas you have given me already.
     
  12. Jan 7, 2006 #12

    Maureen Las

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    I used to live right outside Chicago and know several good vets there...you could probably examine his teeth yourself and see if you see anything obvious...it probably is a good idea to get more food and fluids in him
     
  13. Jan 7, 2006 #13

    SAS

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    gentle giants wrote:
    Yes, hope it's something easily fixed. But I still don't like putting too much attention on the teeth if he came up with bugs in his fecal exam. If the initial treatment of antibiotics helped, I'd still give that acloser look, too. I don't know enough about it to know whether the protocol is to try different meds based on the fecal test, or to go directly tobloodwork, butif you do the latter,as noted the dental exam can be done at the same time.A bunny-savvy vet (with an open mind) seems to be the best bet.

    Let us know how it's goes. :pray:

    SAS

     
  14. Jan 7, 2006 #14

    seniorcats

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    http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&C=217&A=472&S=0



    The Veterinary Partner web site has one of the mostinformative articles on rabbit dental health. It does sound as though your rabbit has a dental problem (anorexia, selective eating, etc.).If you are able to locate avet who treats rabbits on a regular basis or a vet who specializes in dentistry, s/he may have a special instrument to examine your rabbit's entire mouth, including the back teeth, without using anesthesia. Of course the name of the instrument escapes me but it's a very thin wand with a miniature camera on the end. The camera projects a very clear image onto a mini high resolution TV . This way your vet can assess oral health without having to use any anesthesia.

    Our vet uses this instrument during yearly check ups. The cost of our check up, including the dental exam, is $35.00 so it isn't expensive.You can usehttp://www.rabbit.org to try and find a rabbit vet orhttp://www.vcaspecialtyvets.com/Specialties/Dentistry/Dentistry.asp

    to find a vet specializing in dentistry.

     
  15. Jan 7, 2006 #15

    SAS

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    gentle giants wrote:
    My vet with a scope couldn't see the spurs, apparently the very back set is very hard to see. But I've got a dwarf, I couldn't even see anymolars!) ;)

    Gotta be a lot easier in a Giant.
     
  16. Jan 7, 2006 #16

    SAS

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    seniorcats wrote:
    I had heard about this and couldn't find a vet in my area that had one, but it sure would have been my preference. I checked around to make sure I had a vet using the most up to date sedation meds, but my bun never comes out of it well, she was miserable for days, if not weeks,after her procedure.

    Herproblem didn't clear up right away, either. She was slow to get back to eating regularly again to the point where I took her back to the vet.
    Diagnosiswas SBS. :embarrassed: (Spoiled Bunny Syndrome).

    She got used to the pumpkin, banana and grated carrot, why would she go back to hay and greens?:ponder:

    We fixed THAT problem right quick.;)



    Any feedback on the buggy feces?


    SAS

     
  17. Jan 7, 2006 #17

    naturestee

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    gentle giants wrote:
    You can tell if it's the front teeth, but even with giants you need a scope or an x-ray to get a good look at the molars.

    It really sounds like tooth problems, but if your vet can't find anything you could ask about blood tests and urinalysis to look for other problems. They would pick up things like bladder/kidney infections, liver problems, anemia, etc. Blood tests at my vet are maybe $20.
     
  18. Jan 7, 2006 #18

    Maureen Las

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    Maybe coccidiosis ...but with that there is generally diarrhea
     
  19. Jan 7, 2006 #19

    naturestee

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    angieluv wrote:
    The thing with coccidia is that most rabbits carry the bacteria, and it's only a problem when it has a big population growth, which can be triggered by other health problems or stresses. Some vets see coccidia in fecal tests and assume a serious infection, even if it's a normal low population level.
     
  20. Jan 7, 2006 #20

    seniorcats

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    Ok, found another article about dental care that says an otoscope may not be enough to tell if there are problems with the teeth. It's fine for annual exams but if dental problems are suspected, the rabbit may need to be put under.

    http://www.houserabbit.co.uk/rwf/articles/dental_disease.htm

    Of course, it may not be a dental problem if he had bacteria issues before. How long was he on the antibiotic and did he have a recheck to make sure the problem was gone?
     

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