Syphilis in Rabbits

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Yaya8a

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I took my 6 month old doe in for an ear check up just to make sure she didn’t have ear mites as I had seen some yellow crusting in it. The vet said they weren’t ear mites and it was just my rabbit not properly cleaning it. Anyhow, she proceeded to do the check up and found that she had yellow crusting and small sores in the mouth. She told me it was syphilis, more common in bucks but also in does. I was shocked to find this out! She gave me a round of azithromycin for her to take for 10 days. Has anyone else’s bunnies been through this? I’m scared the antibiotics will affect her appetite. Also will I have to throughly desinfect her area to prevent re infection? Any input would help, thanks so much!
 
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John Wick

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Rabbit syphilis is very much treatable and In my experience with multiple vets, reinfection has never been raised as a concern. Syphilis is passed via birth or intimate contact with an infected rabbit (it's an STD); not via environment like you see with mites or something.

Azithromycin is a fine treatment (though typically penicillin injections are tried first; might be your vet's preference or something). If your rabbit's appetite is negatively impacted by azithromycin, injected penicillin is an alternative treatment. You can learn more about rabbit syphilis here, though warning there are graphic images: MediRabbit

Also, there is a treponema (syphilis) blood titer you can have done to confirm the presence of syphilis antibodies, if there are concerns of misdiagnosing.
 

Yaya8a

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Rabbit syphilis is very much treatable and In my experience with multiple vets, reinfection has never been raised as a concern. Syphilis is passed via birth or intimate contact with an infected rabbit (it's an STD); not via environment like you see with mites or something.

Azithromycin is a fine treatment (though typically penicillin injections are tried first; might be your vet's preference or something). If your rabbit's appetite is negatively impacted by azithromycin, injected penicillin is an alternative treatment. You can learn more about rabbit syphilis here, though warning there are graphic images: MediRabbit

Also, there is a treponema (syphilis) blood titer you can have done to confirm the presence of syphilis antibodies, if there are concerns of misdiagnosing.
Thank you so much for replying! The vet did mention about a medication that was injected (I’m assuming it’s the penicillin injections you mentioned) but she said that due to covid they were not readily available and she did not want to wait to begin treatment. So she prescribed the azithromycin to take for 10 days instead. After coming back from the vets my doe did eat a small amount of hay and I offered her favorite healthy treat and she took it. I did notice when I fed her the pellets (which she usually eats right up) she only ate a few. I’m wondering if it’s the stress of today’s visit or the medication is already starting to affect her appetite. I hope not! Tomorrow I will keep a close eye on how much hay she is eating and see if she will take her usual veggies. I’m just scared about her not eating since we all know that’s really not good for rabbits! Also worries me less that you say re infection doesn’t usually happen. I’m assuming she already had it from when I got her from the breeder, because since I’ve had her she has had no direct contact with any other rabbit.
 

JBun

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I've given azithromycin to my rabbits before. It was tolerated pretty well with only minor upset for one rabbit. The only problem I saw was the one rabbit did have some stomach cramping for a few hours after dosing, but it did clear up later in the day and he would eat normally after that. But do keep an eye on your buns eating and pooping. If eating slows down too much, but poop doesn't get mushy, you could ask your vet for some critical care food mix to supplement your rabbits eating while on the med.
 

Stanleys

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I took my 6 month old doe in for an ear check up just to make sure she didn’t have ear mites as I had seen some yellow crusting in it. The vet said they weren’t ear mites and it was just my rabbit not properly cleaning it. Anyhow, she proceeded to do the check up and found that she had yellow crusting and small sores in the mouth. She told me it was syphilis, more common in bucks but also in does. I was shocked to find this out! She gave me a round of azithromycin for her to take for 10 days. Has anyone else’s bunnies been through this? I’m scared the antibiotics will affect her appetite. Also will I have to throughly desinfect her area to prevent re infection? Any input would help, thanks so much!
One of my rabbits was diagnosed with syphilis once and had 5 antibiotic injections alternate days.We noticed it early and the treatment worked with no side effects
 

Yaya8a

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I've given azithromycin to my rabbits before. It was tolerated pretty well with only minor upset for one rabbit. The only problem I saw was the one rabbit did have some stomach cramping for a few hours after dosing, but it did clear up later in the day and he would eat normally after that. But do keep an eye on your buns eating and pooping. If eating slows down too much, but poop doesn't get mushy, you could ask your vet for some critical care food mix to supplement your rabbits eating while on the med.
Thanks for your input it helps! Today her appetite seemed to be a bit better. She ate her usual serving of pellets along with the veggies. The hard part is having her take the medication. She puts up a fight lol… I’m glad it’s only once a day.
 

Yaya8a

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One of my rabbits was diagnosed with syphilis once and had 5 antibiotic injections alternate days.We noticed it early and the treatment worked with no side effects
The vet I took her to said she prefers the injections but due to Covid currently they weren’t available or something along those lines. So she went with azithromycin, I hope it works just as good as the injections would. Probably easier too because my rabbit does not like taking the oral antibiotic lol..
 

JBun

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Funny how all rabbit can be different. My rabbits went nuts at med time, climbing all over each other to get to the syringe first. It was like bunny crack, they liked it so much. If your bun likes bananas or some other treat, you could smoother the end of the syringe with it to see if that helps.
 

Yaya8a

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Funny how all rabbit can be different. My rabbits went nuts at med time, climbing all over each other to get to the syringe first. It was like bunny crack, they liked it so much. If your bun likes bananas or some other treat, you could smoother the end of the syringe with it to see if that helps.
Hahaha oh my goodness! That’s too funny. At least they took it though. I will try some banana at the tip of syringe since she does love bananas. Thanks for the tip!
 
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