Rabbit with excesive water consumption/ Weight loss

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Hantero

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Hello everyone, this is my first official post here, I didn't know much about this community but it seems to be big rabbit community, so I was hoping someone could provide some insight since I'm a bit desperate.

I have a male mini lion lop which is 5 years old now, he is not neutered, he hasn't had many major problems in the past except for maybe two episodes of GI stasis in two different years, we believe it may have been due to hair accumulation in the stomach, as it was in the same period of the year.

Lately he has been losing weight and has started to drink and pee a lot, which is becoming a problem for his cleanliness. He has always weighed about 3.53lb, and now he is at 2.86lb. Also we notice in the past month that he has a case of alopecia, the hair on his back is falling off. We are already following the case with our vet, she is a specialist in exotic animals. We took samples of blood and urine twice in the past few months, in the first analysis his glucose levels were a bit low, and we suspected it could have been due to diabetes (which is rare in rabbits) so we took a second sample around two weeks ago, and all levels came back as normal. His kidney function seems to be ok aswell, as nothing came back from the blood tests. He hasn't had any significant changes in his behaviour, he is still quite active, specially during night time, his apetite seems to be normal, and we have also tried different types of hay to see if the greeness of the hay could have had an effect. All the hay that we feed him is very good quality, and he has a normal diet, pellets in the morning, hay all day, and greens in the afternoon, but no matter what, he keeps losing weight.

About a week ago we did an ultrasound scan on him to see if there was any evidence of tumours or anything abnormal. We didn't discover anything notorius, and it is also quite difficult to see much with this technique in rabbits, but we didn't see any signs of tumours, which is a relief, but left us with no answer yet...

Right now we are giving him a Panacur treatment for 25 days, to see if it has any effect, he is on his 10th day now. The vet said that if he has E.cuniculi he would respond well to the treatment, but we can also test him for that in the future. He doesn't have many symptoms that correspond with that anyway, only thing I've noticed is a small loss of balance, but it may be because of the weight loss.

Any help will be much appreciated, and sorry for the long post, I wanted to cover all I could.
 

Hantero

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Don't worry, it's a very specific matter. Thank you very much for your answer, hopefully they will have some advice.
 

JBun

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With weight loss and inreased thirst/urination, once kidney failure is ruled out, e. cuniculi would be another common cause. Did your vet also prescribe the nsaid meloxicam? It's commonly prescribed for EC to help reduce inflammation caused by the spores damaging the cells. The inflammation can lead to permanent cell damage, so it's important to try and reduce it.

Thymoma could be a possibility. It can lead to weight loss and fur loss particularly along the back. Increased thirst/urination isn't typically a sign of it though. I had an older rabbit that had a thymoma. His symptoms were fur loss and scaly skin along the back and hindquarters , weight loss, and increased respiratory effort.
MediRabbit (hair loss from thymoma)

I would also look at the possibility of it being parasites. They can certainly cause weight loss and other symptoms. Dental problems are possible as well. If a rabbit has dental issues causing it to be painful to eat, they will sometimes instead try and fill up with water, which will lead to weight loss and increased urination. Did your vet do a thorough dental exam? Toxins in the environment or food might be a possibility too.

Had you made any changes in the diet just prior to this occurring? What brand and type of pellets do you feed? There have been instances where batches of pellets from various manufacturers, have been mixed with an incorrect amount of vitamins or even sodium, and it can lead to serious health issues. A high sodium level can cause increased thirst / urination.

One other thing I'll mention, though it's not the typical reaction I've seen, is when I brought a new rabbit into my home. He was used to a primarily pellet diet, but at the time my 7 other rabbits were on a pellet free diet because of some of the group not being able to tolerate pellets. So when I got this new rabbit I started to transition him onto a pellet free diet. After a few weeks of being off pellets I noticed that he had lost weight and was drinking and peeing excessively. I was worried about it being kidney failure. Because of the weight loss I decided to put him back on pellets and was going to take him to the vet. But within a couple of days of being back on pellets the increased thirst /urination stopped and went back to normal. So I held off on the vet, and gradually his weight returned to normal.
I've had rabbits on a pellet free diet for years that were perfectly healthy on this diet. This was the only rabbit that's ever had a problem with it. All I could speculate as possibly causing the problem was he wouldn't ever use a salt lick. So could have had low blood sodium. Or maybe wasn't eating enough hay to fill up, even though he appeared to be eating it well.

See if any of those ideas strike a cord with you, and sound like a possibility for your bun. I know it can be so difficult figuring out these things.


 

Hantero

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First of all thank you very much for taking the time for such an extense response, I really appreciate it.

With weight loss and inreased thirst/urination, once kidney failure is ruled out, e. cuniculi would be another common cause. Did your vet also prescribe the nsaid meloxicam? It's commonly prescribed for EC to help reduce inflammation caused by the spores damaging the cells. The inflammation can lead to permanent cell damage, so it's important to try and reduce it.
No, she didn't prescribe meloxicam. I would like to know though, if there is any inflamation in the organs, so I might ask her in our next visit. She didn't mention anything from the ultrasound results (though I don't know if it would be posible to evaluate this on an ultrasound). His current treatment is only fendebanzole as we don't exactly have Panacur here, though it's pretty much the same. E.cuniculi seems to be a plausible cause, but he doesn't have any head tilting and his eyes seem to be ok. Another thing I didn't mention is that he does a strange thing with his back legs as he starts running sometimes. He sort of extends them as he is starting to run, and then he just runs normal. Before I though it may have been due to him feeling a bit of discomfort for having his paws dirty (he gets them from urinating constantly), but I'm not so sure now. Anyways, the treatment with fendebanzole has been going on for 10 days now, and he hasn't improved his condition at the slightest.

Thymoma could be a possibility. It can lead to weight loss and fur loss particularly along the back. Increased thirst/urination isn't typically a sign of it though. I had an older rabbit that had a thymoma. His symptoms were fur loss and scaly skin along the back and hindquarters , weight loss, and increased respiratory effort.
MediRabbit (hair loss from thymoma)
I've been taking a look at this, but his skin seems normal, no sign of scaling, just fur loss. Also his breathing seems to be normal as far as I can tell, would need to check that at the vet.

I would also look at the possibility of it being parasites. They can certainly cause weight loss and other symptoms. Dental problems are possible as well. If a rabbit has dental issues causing it to be painful to eat, they will sometimes instead try and fill up with water, which will lead to weight loss and increased urination. Did your vet do a thorough dental exam? Toxins in the environment or food might be a possibility too.
As for dental exams, she usually checks his teeth, but not in depth. Maybe it would be a good idea to do an x-ray examination? Only thing I can tell is that he loves eating the stems on the hay lately, so the teeth don't seem to be giving him a hard time. He broke one of his incisives about two weeks ago, he loves jumping to places he can't reach, and as a result he got that. The teeth got broken almost at the gum line, but it has grown really fast, and now it has the same size as the other one. This hasn't stopped him from eating or try risky jumps again...

Had you made any changes in the diet just prior to this occurring? What brand and type of pellets do you feed? There have been instances where batches of pellets from various manufacturers, have been mixed with an incorrect amount of vitamins or even sodium, and it can lead to serious health issues. A high sodium level can cause increased thirst / urination.
We have always been very careful with his diet, as he has had intermittent soft cecotropes in the past, so any changes in the amount of pellets or greens has led to that. As he has grown old, this condition seems to appear only sporadically now. About 3 years ago we started to fed him Versele-Laga Cuni adult complete pellets (not sure if you have this brand in the US, they are from Belgium, we live in Spain and we have them here). It was recommended to us by another veterinarian, and they have been pretty good for him, but it might be a good idea to vary this now and see if it has any significant changes. This is the composition.

As for having him on a pellet free diet, I have always though about it, but always been too scared to do it. Closest thing we were from that, was giving him Fibafirst sticks from Supreme Petfoods, with a mix of Protexin Pro-Fibre, he actually loved the sticks, but eventually we moved back to the pellets.

Thanks again for your response.
 
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