Sick Bunny, scabs, swollen genitals? Don't know what's wrong :( Help please

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Snowballbun, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. Mar 16, 2010 #1

    Snowballbun

    Snowballbun

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    Hello all,

    I have been having problems with my bunny and I am really worried.

    1. Vet trip one : One trip to the vet was that her eye was red and she kept closing it and it was running with clear discharge. The vet prescribed neo poly gram eyedrops and Baytril in case it would spread to an upper respiratory infection.

    2. I came back 4 days later and her eye was not any better, so I took her to Vet trip # 2. The vet said she thinks because the meds weren't working that it might be something environmental, like an allergy. So, I took out the pine bedding and litter and am now using cell sorb litter. This worked for her eye. Her eye got better in 3-4 days, but she still kept sneezing.

    3. Trip # 3, I take bun bun to the vet because she keeps sneezing a ton! 10 times in a row, several times when I am in the room (and I am not even home all day). Also, she has little scabby things on her lip, right under her nose. The vet examined her private parts and they are red and swollen with the same scabby type thing on her vaginal area. Also, there was thick fluid that came out which she took a culture of. She looked under the microscope and it turns out it was thick urine with a lot of calcium.
    So, the vet wanted me to change her diet with less calcium. 1/8 a cup of pellets for a 2 1/2 pound 4 month old bunny. (She's a dwarf hotot) and to feed more veggies, and switch from alfalfa to Timothy Hay. So on Saturday, the same day when I took her, I gave her Timothy Hay. I am trying to switch her pellets because I bought bulk, but now am trying to transfer to pure timothy pellets. I thought baby buns were supposed to have unlimited pellets? I haven't really reduced the amount yet, but the veggies she seems to pick over the pellets. Also, she doesn't seem to like the Timothy Hay as much so I don't know what to do. The Vet said she would talk to another rabbit person to see about the scabs, if she transferred from her mouth to her parts or vice versa. Also, she gave her a medicated shampoo for the scabs called Hexadine, by Virbac.

    So does anyone have any idea about any of this or advice and help. This is my first rabbit and I have had so many issues already. My rabbit is also getting cranky, like grunting at me and boxing. I realize this could be hormones, but she is usually not like that, she's very sweet and I think it might be because she's in pain. Please help!
     
  2. Mar 16, 2010 #2

    tonyshuman

    tonyshuman

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    It sounds like she may have syphilis. Has your vet mentioned that? Is the vet one of the ones recommended on this website?

    It seems strange to me that the vet has given up on antibiotics after only trying Baytril. Many rabbit bacteria are resistant to Baytril, and there are many other antibiotics out there that will work better. Did you discuss any other possible antibiotics?

    The reason I say syphilis is that it's common in rabbits, they can carry it without showing symptoms and have a flare-up, and it often strikes the eye area and vaginal area with crusty, scabby lesions.

    I am not sure what's going on with the urine looking like sludge. She's too young to be worrying much about the pellets. It's possible that a crusty obstruction of the urethra, caused by the syphilis, led to a bladder infection as well.

    I guess what I want to say is that I'm not very confident in this vet, based on her treatment protocol. Check to see if she's in the rabbit-savvy vet listings we've compiled here.

    I am not a vet, but upon seeing the Baytril not work, I would have switched to a different antibiotic, not given up on antibiotics totally. With the scabs on the vaginal area and mouth, the first thing I would think is syphilis. Her treatment protocol just doesn't make sense to me.
     
  3. Mar 16, 2010 #3

    Snowballbun

    Snowballbun

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    This particular vet is not listed, but it is the same place that is on the house rabbit society's website, but a different vet than was listed. She said she didn't want to necessarily give it a different antibiotic because she didn't want to "wipe" its gut out with good bacteria. The first vet visit was to a doctor who was on the website and then the second two times was with another vet who treats rabbits because the first one is always so booked. I am also getting the feeling that this vet does not know what she is talking about....There are things I've read that she does not even know about. I have read a lot about probiotics and I mentioned this to her but she said she hasn't heard of any for rabbits?

    So you don't think this has anything to do with allergies, and is syphillis treatable or deadly? Should I get her to another vet asap?
     
  4. Mar 16, 2010 #4

    tonyshuman

    tonyshuman

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    Well, there are other antibiotics than Baytril that can be given to rabbits without wiping out their GI bacteria. There are also two probiotics that are great for bunnies: Bene-Bac (found in pet stores) and Probios (found in farm stores). Things like acidophilus capsules can also be used for bunnies.

    The treatment for syphillis is injectible penicillin. It's a fairly simple treatment, although many vets don't know that rabbits can tolerate penicillin. They cannot have it orally, but when injected it is fine. It can be pretty bad. I would get her to a vet soon, as syphilis can cause swelling down there, leading to problems passing urine or feces. I know naturestee had a baby bunny with syphilis that had lots of pain while pooing.

    I would get a different vet if possible. This one just doesn't seem up-to-date.
     
  5. Mar 17, 2010 #5

    pamnock

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  6. Mar 24, 2010 #6

    Snowballbun

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    Here's the update:
    I took my bun bun to a different vet to get another opinion. This vet said it could possibly be different things but that blood tests may not be accurate because they could show that the rabbit is a carrier and not necessarily infected. He said she has some symptoms of e cuniculi, pasteurella, and syphilis. The other doc thought it wasn't an upper respiratory.

    So they did an examination and an x-ray to make sure she did not have any sludge and the x-ray was fine. So he prescribed:
    1. baytril oral antibiotics .40 ml twice a day(I believe higher than her other round of baytril),

    2. Meloxicam .24 ml twice a day which is an anti-inflammatory in case she is in pain (since her genitals are swollen) and the scabbies on her face. She has also been moody and grunting and boxing me a lot lately when I try to pick her up which makes me think she might be in pain. (Also I don't think she likes all these meds!)

    3. She also has Avix soother plus cream to put on her face and genitals twice a day.

    4. And a probiotic Benebac every 24 hours. 1/8 inch of paste. YAY This vet knew about probiotics for rabbits and I've heard you guys mention it several times, and I get a lot of my information from all of you :)

    Ok, so this was last week that I took her in and then I came home today and her eye was runny again! She had the runny eye a little over a month ago which was when the vet prescribed baytril and neo poly gram eye drops. I don't know why her runny eye is coming back! It seems like it's turning dark pink again too. We had gotten rid of the pine bedding which seemed to help the eye, but if it was the bedding then I don't see how it would have come back a month later.

    Also, during all of this she has been sneezing a lot as well. I know you guys said syphilis, and I did read about it and it said that syphilis can cause sneezing as well. The vet said that if the scabbies got worse, then they would try penicillin shots. But....her meds seem to be working as her scabs seem to be healing and her parts are not as inflamed as before. So I am totally stumped!! I'm waiting for a call back from the vet about the eye part. My poor baby bun bun, I've been sick worrying about her. Not to mention all the money it's costing as well.

    She seems to be not sneezing as much, but is still sneezing.
    Any ideas?? I appreciate your answers so much.
     
  7. Mar 24, 2010 #7

    tonyshuman

    tonyshuman

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    Okey dokey. A few things. The meloxicam is good, and we've looked into that cream before and it seems ok. The probiotic is great.

    I am not sure that the Baytril will help. Pasturella is a bacterium that causes upper respiratory infections, but it could also be causing a skin infection in this case, which is I think what the vet is doing. It's not going to treat syphillis, however. The penicillin shots would do that.

    I think it's hard to tell if she's getting better because of the Baytril or because of the salve. It may be best to just go with the penicillin.
     
  8. Mar 24, 2010 #8

    devilishblueyes

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    pamnock wrote:
    The symptoms you mentioned do fit syphillis very well according to the article. What the one vet told you about wiping out the good bacteria is true. Rabbits have "good bacteria" and "bad bacteria". Good bacteria can help aid in digestion and the uptake of nutrients in the digestive system. Bad bacteria can make your rabbit sick. Pennicillin G which the article says is the only cure is a VERY strong antibiotic. It basically will kill all the good and bad bacteria in your rabbit. Normally after treating a rabbit with Pennicillin G the rabbit should be fed some yogurt to help promote the growth of good bacteria again.
     
  9. Mar 24, 2010 #9

    Pipp

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    devilishblueyes wrote:
    Yogurt is pretty old school. I don't think it's as bad as many make it out to be, but some bunnies are lactose intolerant, I believe especially as they age, and more importantly yogurt contains a lot of natural sugars which will feed the bad bacteria.

    Thus a safer bet is a probiotic like acidophilus (found in human stores) or bene-bac (at farm and pet stores).


    sas :clover:
     
  10. Mar 24, 2010 #10

    tonyshuman

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    devilishblueyes wrote:
    In fact, penicillin will only destroy the good bacteria in the GI tract if given orally. Typically, to treat syphilis, it is given via subcutaneous injection. Thus it doesn't get to the GI tract in large quantities and the good bacteria there are safe. Although we do recommend having a bunny on probiotics while on any kind of antibiotic therapy, it's not absolutely necessary, and we never recommend yogurt as a probiotic. The lactose and other sugars in yogurt are hard on a rabbit's stomach and promote the growth of bad bacteria, leading to cecal dysbiosis, like what Pipp said.

    To recap, penicillin is safe if given via injection, not orally. Probiotics are good for bunnies to take while on an antibiotic therapy, but yogurt is not recommended as a probiotic. We recommend Bene-Bac and Probios, which contain probiotics to promote the growth of the beneficial bacteria in the GI tract.

    Devilishblueyes, the information you're quoting is widely spread, but unfortunately a bit out of date. Over the last 20 years, rabbit medicine has changed drastically and many vets, books, and websites have not kept up with the changes. Some of the biggest recent changes in rabbit medicine have been the recognition that -cillin antibiotics are safe to give to rabbits via a non-oral route, and that cow's milk products upset the balance of beneficial bacteria in a rabbit's GI tract.
     
  11. Mar 24, 2010 #11

    Snowballbun

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    I did get an article from the vet that said yogurt or dairy products should never be fed to rabbits, and it was from that medirabbit.com website.

    So do you think the rabbit could have pasteurella? She does not have any pus type stuff. The watery eye appears to be clear. Her (conjunctivea?) I think the rim around her eye is turning pink again. The sneezing is resulting in no discharge if there is any, it is clear. So do we think that the scabs on her lips would be healing from the meloxicam that she's receiving and that it is not syphilis? Her fur there is starting to grow back. Or do we think that the syphilis is affecting the eye? Her genital area seems to be a little better, but still protruding and sore.

    The vet seemed to think if the scabs got worse, then he might try penicillin. But her eye was not bothering her the last time I took her to the vet.

    I am scared for her to get penicillin injections if they are harsh on her. The vet wanted to use that as a last resort I think? But there are so many weird symptoms???
     
  12. Mar 24, 2010 #12

    Snowballbun

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    I think the vet said that penicillin can give them digestion problems like diahrrhea and that would have to be treated as a separate issue?
     
  13. Mar 24, 2010 #13

    tonyshuman

    tonyshuman

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    Sorry I don't have a ton of time to discuss your concerns. I know from experience with several bunnies on the forum here, and bunnies in the shelter that I volunteer at that when injected, penicilin doesn't cause many gut disturbances. It is toxic if given orally, so you do want to be careful not to get any of the drug on the skin, and make sure that after the injection is given, the drug doesn't leak out. The vet probably wanted to wait because it means you have to do injections at home because the proper protocol is every other day.

    Here's an article from a study that shows how well penicillin works in bunnies if injected:
    http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~jwmoore/bicillin/bicillin.htm

    The scabs may be healing due to the salve, that's what I think. The meloxicam is just going to make the pain less, and it's a bit anti-inflammatory, but not enough to heal scabs.

    I think that it would be good to do a course of penicillin because if it's syphilis, the penicillin will treat it. If it's an upper respiratory infection, the penicillin will also probably treat it. Many upper respiratory infections are caused by the bacterium pasturella, but there are also other bacteria that can cause these infections.

    It's hard to tell what's going on exactly. That's why a treatment that could potentially cure both possible causes is a good idea, in my book. If the penicillin doesn't work, you'll know it's not syphilis and that it's an upper respiratory infection that's resistant to penicillin--and then you can try a different antibiotic.
     
  14. Mar 24, 2010 #14

    Snowballbun

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    Hmm ok, Thank you very much. If you get a chance, let me know what you think the eye part could be. You have been a very good help.
     
  15. Mar 24, 2010 #15

    tonyshuman

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  16. Mar 27, 2010 #16

    Snowballbun

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    So I'm taking my rabbit back to the vet tomorrow. I'm guessing he may want to try the penicillin shots. Are there any other possible safe antibiotics to suggest to the vet? Besides Baytril? Cuz like you said, what if the penicillin ends up not working? I am concerned about her eye because it does not seem to be getting better from her eye drops. It is still red and running a lot. This is making me so depressed. Today I was holding my bunny crying (especially her wet matted fur by her eye makes her look even more sick.)I just want her to get better. Luckily, she still is eating and appears to still be active when I put her in her pen. Also, if the vet wants to do blood tests, like before they possibly suggested the cuniculi and pasteurella blood screenings...would that even be worth the money or no? Because it could just show that she is a carrier? A while back when the other vet tested the urine that came out, she did not see a bunch of white blood cells in the urine--just calcium crystals. However, I read somewhere that with some of these sicknesses, other levels in the blood could be elevated. Would it be beneficial to get a general blood screening or to just try the penicillin and see if it works? (If that's what he wants to do)

    Another thing I worry about is my bunny hating me. We have to shove all this medicine down her throat twice a day. And it takes me to hold her wrapped in a towel and my mom to wipe the cream and use the syringes in her mouth for the other ones. I hope the rabbit is not going to think it's being abused. It tries to run away when it realizes it's going to get medicine, other than that she is fine being held. She just has been giving me a harder time about being picked up in general lately. Usually once I have her though she will cuddle with me just fine.
     
  17. Mar 27, 2010 #17

    Pipp

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    If the Vet suggests any other protocol other than injectable penicillin, find another Vet.

    No tests. If it doesn't work, THEN test. Diagnostics isn't just determining what it is, it rules out what it isn't.

    The chances are excellent its syphilis/vent disease, and as TH's said, even if its not, the antibiotic that works on syphilis -- injected penicillin -- will probably cure any other infection he might have. It won't hurt.

    And its cheap. For them to do more than that, you're being gouged.

    Reread this thread, print out the articles in the links provided and show them to your Vet.

    ETA: Oh, and giving them a shot is a lot faster, easier and better tolerated by the rabbit. (I think its every two days). And it will probably clear up the eye issue as well -- which may be part of the syphilis regardless.


    sas :expressionless:
     
  18. Mar 27, 2010 #18

    Snowballbun

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    Thank you, this makes me feel a little better and a little more hopeful. I don't know what I would do without everyone's expertise knowledge and support. Here's another question. Should I go back to the pet store and tell him to be careful about the breeder he gets rabbits from? And also, unless the breeder may not be aware that some of his rabbits are sick. He knows my rabbit has been sick, but if it turns out to be syphilis, it must mean she was exposed as a baby (probably from birth) or other baby rabbits. The owner said the breeder brings a bunch of babies and he usually picks one or two. This is being that I only have one rabbit. This is my first bunny. Do most bunnies end up getting sick some time or another?
     
  19. Mar 28, 2010 #19

    Maureen Las

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    Pipp wrote:
    If this vet is hesitant to treat a rabbit with syphylis with injectable penicillin then the vet is not experienced with rabbits or syphyllis .

    if she is afraid to give injections thenI definitely would find another vet who is more comfortable with this even if you have to travel.
    I have a rabbit on maintenanceINJECTABLE penicillin and give it every other day subqutaneously . My rabbit handles it fine..no gut issues at all.

    I will try to find the medirabbit printout on syphllis.I believe the type of pencillin used for this is benzathine pen G


    http://www.helium.com/items/1390994-rabbit-syphilis-symptoms-and-treatment

    http://homepage.mac.com/exoticdvm/mammal/PhotoAlbum72.html

    they recommend using procaine pen G here but I still think that I'm right about the benzathine G . I cannot find a medi-rabbit article on this?? nor canI spell the word sypyllis twice the same way. LOL
     
  20. Mar 28, 2010 #20

    Maureen Las

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