Skinny doe

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

CharlieRae

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2018
Messages
87
Reaction score
20
Location
Wyoming
My doe gave birth yesterday, and I noticed a week or so ago she was pretty boney. I would feel her shoulder blades, hip bones, spine, ribs all prominently. I have been feeding her unlimited pellets, grass hay, 1/4 cp oatmeal and she gets a large handful of greens daily. But she is not gaining. Now that she has given birth I'm worried the babies are going to kill her. I don't know what to do to fatten her up! I've put her on alfalfa pellets and hay cubes as of Monday(10/8). (I mixed it in with her regular pellets to avoid tummy troubles.) She is eating well and drinking well. I closely monitor her intake. She is also peeing and pooping like normal. Although her last 3-4 days of pregnancy she was not eating her cecotropes and they were quite large.
Any advice?
 

JBun

Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2012
Messages
10,964
Reaction score
6,489
Location
Utah, , USA
With feeding unlimited pellets and hay, have you measured out the amount that she is actually consuming in a day and compared it with her weight? A non pregnant/non nursing 5 lb rabbit should be eating approximately 1/4-1/2 cup pellets and a pile of hay the size of their body, in a day. Generally about an ounce of dry food per pound of body weight. Though this will change now that she has kits, as the amount she will need to eat will at least triple, depending on how many kits she has. So she will be consuming quite a bit more than 1/2 cup pellets per 5 lb body weight as she starts nursing and the babies start growing. The amount she needs to be eating will gradually increase.

Also check the amount of water she is drinking in a day. If she drinks from a bottle, I would offer her a water dish as well, as rabbits tend to drink better from them, and the more water they are able to drink will affect the amount of food they eat as well.

If she isn't eating an adequate amount for her size, then she could have something like dental problems preventing her from eating enough. If she is eating enough for her body weight and starting to nurse, she could have something like parasites, or there are serious health issues that can cause weight loss; like hepatic coccidiosis, kidney and liver disease, and cancer. So if she is consuming plenty of food for her size and starting to nurse, then I would suggest taking her to an experienced rabbit vet to get a fecal float done to check for parasites, her teeth checked to rule out dental issues, and if those don't show anything being wrong you may need blood work and xrays done.
http://www.rabbitnetwork.org/education-resources/articles/rabbit-health-articles/weight-loss-in-rabbits/
https://rabbit.org/vet-listings/

In the meantime, getting her switched onto the alfalfa based pellets will help, not only with the increased protein, but also she will need the higher calcium content for nursing. I would also consider maybe adding in a bit of alfalfa hay to help with weight gain and calcium levels. It's important to ensure a nursing doe has adequate dietary calcium intake to prevent low blood calcium from occurring(very dangerous). I've also used black oil sunflower seeds to help with weight gain for my old rabbit that was losing weight.
 

CharlieRae

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2018
Messages
87
Reaction score
20
Location
Wyoming
With feeding unlimited pellets and hay, have you measured out the amount that she is actually consuming in a day and compared it with her weight? A non pregnant/non nursing 5 lb rabbit should be eating approximately 1/4-1/2 cup pellets and a pile of hay the size of their body, in a day. Generally about an ounce of dry food per pound of body weight. Though this will change now that she has kits, as the amount she will need to eat will at least triple, depending on how many kits she has. So she will be consuming quite a bit more than 1/2 cup pellets per 5 lb body weight as she starts nursing and the babies start growing. The amount she needs to be eating will gradually increase.

Also check the amount of water she is drinking in a day. If she drinks from a bottle, I would offer her a water dish as well, as rabbits tend to drink better from them, and the more water they are able to drink will affect the amount of food they eat as well.

If she isn't eating an adequate amount for her size, then she could have something like dental problems preventing her from eating enough. If she is eating enough for her body weight and starting to nurse, she could have something like parasites, or there are serious health issues that can cause weight loss; like hepatic coccidiosis, kidney and liver disease, and cancer. So if she is consuming plenty of food for her size and starting to nurse, then I would suggest taking her to an experienced rabbit vet to get a fecal float done to check for parasites, her teeth checked to rule out dental issues, and if those don't show anything being wrong you may need blood work and xrays done.
http://www.rabbitnetwork.org/education-resources/articles/rabbit-health-articles/weight-loss-in-rabbits/
https://rabbit.org/vet-listings/

In the meantime, getting her switched onto the alfalfa based pellets will help, not only with the increased protein, but also she will need the higher calcium content for nursing. I would also consider maybe adding in a bit of alfalfa hay to help with weight gain and calcium levels. It's important to ensure a nursing doe has adequate dietary calcium intake to prevent low blood calcium from occurring(very dangerous). I've also used black oil sunflower seeds to help with weight gain for my old rabbit that was losing weight.

Ok, thank you for all that information! I will start out by measuring her food and documenting the amount she is consuming per day. I could not find alfalfa hay, I bought the pressed alfalfa hay cubes, though. I also feed her unlimited grass hay. I have been giving her a small amount of BOSS a couple times a week. I don't have a rabbit-smart vet in my town, so I will make an appt with the vet in the next town over, but it's over an hr drive. I was trying to avoid that, I dont want to stress her out.
Is there anything I can give her myself to treat for parasites that wouldn't hurt her babies?
I've only had this girl not quite a month. She came to me pregnant, so I'm still trying to figure her out.
 

CharlieRae

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2018
Messages
87
Reaction score
20
Location
Wyoming
Also, I was feeding her 1/2 a cup a day of pellets and unlimited hay. Until I realized she was pregnant, which was about 2 weeks before she kindled. Then I increased her amount to a cup per day. Then when she started to feel boney I increased to unlimited.
I've had pregnant rabbits before. But none of them ever became skinny like this.
I have heard from a vet in the other town, and she is going to do a phone consult with me this evening to try and avoid stressing her out with a road trip. Heck, even if I have to just go drop off a stool sample I will. haha.
 

JBun

Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2012
Messages
10,964
Reaction score
6,489
Location
Utah, , USA
I would first determine the amount she is eating and if it is enough for a rabbit her size who is just starting to nurse, which would be slightly more than a non nursing doe, and less than a doe that has been nursing a week or more. If she isn't eating enough, the vet may need to take a look at her teeth to find out if it's the cause for the decreased food intake.

If she is eating enough for a nursing doe, then deworming would be the next thing I would look at. Fenbendazole(panacur, safeguard) is safe for pregnant animals, not sure about nursing ones. I would just ask your vet. Dose is usually 20mg/kg, once a day, and I would do the 5 days of treatment using the liquid dewormer(not the paste) for accurate dosing.
http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00Chem/ChComplex/Fenbendazole.htm
http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00dis/Parasitic/Pinworms_inf_lagomorphs.htm
 

Latest posts

Top