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Covend

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Hi all we have a litter of 5 rabbits aged 4 weeks. All but 1 are doing well. The runt is only 96g and although it hops around with its siblings, is less than half of their size. He appears to be eating alfaalfa and hay as well as some pellets. His eyes are tiny and have what we assumed was nest eye . as he's jersey wolley/mini lop he is fluffy around them. This has meant he struggles with the fur going into his eyes and sticking them closed. We have tried wiping with warm cloths, chamomile tea and honey and then the vets gave us Conptal which he's been on twice daily for 5 days but without much change. So my questions, should we be concerned re his weight ? Or will he just be a small bunny. And does it take a while for eyes to get better or should we be back at the vet? I should note he was born the same size as the other kits but was born outside the nest on the lawn in winter and has struggled to put weight on ever since. I suspect he missed a feed or two.
 

JBun

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It's possible he sustained some sort of cellular damage from the cold exposure at birth(if it was cold at the time), possibly damage to his heart, and this is affecting his growth and overall health.

There are two instances I saw an undersized kit successsfully treated and it caught up in size and health to it's siblings. First was a baby rabbit I got that was at least half of the size of her siblings, was a bit skinny, and had a pot belly. A change of diet when I got her, to a high quality pellet and free fed hay, somehow corrected whatever was wrong. The pot belly went away and she actually grew to be bigger than most of her siblings. I can't say for sure, but I suspect it was the poor quality feed she was on before coming to me, that was causing her problems, and/or she may have possibly had hepatic coccidiosis.

The other time was someone I know had one kit that was undersized, half the size of it's siblings. Just not thriving. The owner decided to give the bunny a 10 day course of fenbendazole for deworming, and it worked. Afterwards the fkit started doing better and gaining more weight, so that he eventually started catching up in size to his siblings. So in this case(and possibly mine) it was an intestinal parasite load causing the failure to thrive.

So parasites are a possible cause. Maybe you could have a fecal test done to check for that. But if it's a genetic cause, or possible cell damage from hypothermia, then I'm not sure what can be done. Unless maybe having the heart checked by a specialist, or having a blood test done to check liver and kidney function. But I think the kit is so small still, that it might be difficult to do much testing until it's bigger.

With the eyes, you may need more of a lubricating eye ointment, that stays on and protects the eye better than eye drops, especially if the cornea is being rubbed by fur, eyelashes, or the eyelid. If there's infection present(sticky white discharge, white clouding of the cornea), I would expect to see some improvement by 5 days, so you may need a different antibiotic than what's in those eye drops. You may also need your vet to get a closer look at the eyelids to see if surgery might be needed to fix whatever defect is going on with the eyes and causing the ongoing rubbing and irritation. Otherwise they eyes could possibly sustain permanent damage to them.

 

Covend

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It's possible he sustained some sort of cellular damage from the cold exposure at birth(if it was cold at the time), possibly damage to his heart, and this is affecting his growth and overall health.

There are two instances I saw an undersized kit successsfully treated and it caught up in size and health to it's siblings. First was a baby rabbit I got that was at least half of the size of her siblings, was a bit skinny, and had a pot belly. A change of diet when I got her, to a high quality pellet and free fed hay, somehow corrected whatever was wrong. The pot belly went away and she actually grew to be bigger than most of her siblings. I can't say for sure, but I suspect it was the poor quality feed she was on before coming to me, that was causing her problems, and/or she may have possibly had hepatic coccidiosis.

The other time was someone I know had one kit that was undersized, half the size of it's siblings. Just not thriving. The owner decided to give the bunny a 10 day course of fenbendazole for deworming, and it worked. Afterwards the fkit started doing better and gaining more weight, so that he eventually started catching up in size to his siblings. So in this case(and possibly mine) it was an intestinal parasite load causing the failure to thrive.

So parasites are a possible cause. Maybe you could have a fecal test done to check for that. But if it's a genetic cause, or possible cell damage from hypothermia, then I'm not sure what can be done. Unless maybe having the heart checked by a specialist, or having a blood test done to check liver and kidney function. But I think the kit is so small still, that it might be difficult to do much testing until it's bigger.

With the eyes, you may need more of a lubricating eye ointment, that stays on and protects the eye better than eye drops, especially if the cornea is being rubbed by fur, eyelashes, or the eyelid. If there's infection present(sticky white discharge, white clouding of the cornea), I would expect to see some improvement by 5 days, so you may need a different antibiotic than what's in those eye drops. You may also need your vet to get a closer look at the eyelids to see if surgery might be needed to fix whatever defect is going on with the eyes and causing the ongoing rubbing and irritation. Otherwise they eyes could possibly sustain permanent damage to them.

That's very helpful. Thanks!
 

Covend

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That's very helpful. Yes it was very cold when he was born as it's winter here and we weren't expecting a litter so he wasnt found for some time and I am surprised he survived at all. Will check in with the vet and see how he goes . Thanks for the advice !
 

FlopsyBunnies4

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I once had a little runt. She was from a litter of eight holland lops. She was very adventurous in the beginning and my guess is she missed a couple feedings. Around 2-3 weeks she was half the size of her siblings. I gave her supplementary feedings and when they started eating solid food I gave her a lot of oats and she had quite the appetite. She eventually caught up to her siblings and has been doing great ever since at 1.5 years old now.

Here’s a photo of what she looked like then at I believe 3 weeks:
 

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Orrin

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We had a runt who is now all grown up. Her mom kept her litter of nine hidden until they were five weeks old; so, when we finally found this little rascal she was very wobbly and weak. The other eight had crowded her away from the dinner table for all that time.

Now, she is a robust and chonky bundle of friendship. She tends to go into stasis far too easily; but, we've found the right balance of foods and she hasn't needed to see the vet in nearly a year. Blue is coming up on her fourth birthday this summer.

She's our sweetheart; we invested all of our emotions into her while tenderly hand-feeding and nursing her to health. We love Blue, dearly. :)SAM_5787.JPG
 
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It's possible he sustained some sort of cellular damage from the cold exposure at birth(if it was cold at the time), possibly damage to his heart, and this is affecting his growth and overall health.

There are two instances I saw an undersized kit successsfully treated and it caught up in size and health to it's siblings. First was a baby rabbit I got that was at least half of the size of her siblings, was a bit skinny, and had a pot belly. A change of diet when I got her, to a high quality pellet and free fed hay, somehow corrected whatever was wrong. The pot belly went away and she actually grew to be bigger than most of her siblings. I can't say for sure, but I suspect it was the poor quality feed she was on before coming to me, that was causing her problems, and/or she may have possibly had hepatic coccidiosis.

The other time was someone I know had one kit that was undersized, half the size of it's siblings. Just not thriving. The owner decided to give the bunny a 10 day course of fenbendazole for deworming, and it worked. Afterwards the fkit started doing better and gaining more weight, so that he eventually started catching up in size to his siblings. So in this case(and possibly mine) it was an intestinal parasite load causing the failure to thrive.

So parasites are a possible cause. Maybe you could have a fecal test done to check for that. But if it's a genetic cause, or possible cell damage from hypothermia, then I'm not sure what can be done. Unless maybe having the heart checked by a specialist, or having a blood test done to check liver and kidney function. But I think the kit is so small still, that it might be difficult to do much testing until it's bigger.

With the eyes, you may need more of a lubricating eye ointment, that stays on and protects the eye better than eye drops, especially if the cornea is being rubbed by fur, eyelashes, or the eyelid. If there's infection present(sticky white discharge, white clouding of the cornea), I would expect to see some improvement by 5 days, so you may need a different antibiotic than what's in those eye drops. You may also need your vet to get a closer look at the eyelids to see if surgery might be needed to fix whatever defect is going on with the eyes and causing the ongoing rubbing and irritation. Otherwise they eyes could possibly sustain permanent damage to them.

Could they cut the hair around the eyes short?
 
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