Zeus has bladder sludge

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TinysMom

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I'm really worried about Zeus. He appeared to be straining to pee a bit ago - and when he did pee - it came out almost like a little pile of toothpaste. I looked around his area and I can now see white spots where he's been peeing...so that tells me there has been some calcium buildup.

As many may remember - I lost Tiny to something like this - his urine was even worse - it came out like caulk which was firmer than what Zeus has.

Now - it can't be the water - because he is on bottled water. He gets veggies almost every day (usually spring mix and carrot) - and he has some Purina rabbit feed. He gets some hay - usually whatever I have - timothy or coastal or once in a while I'll have alfalfa...but not often. (Maybe twice a year?)

I'm trying to decide whether to do a sub-q injection tonight (I can get the dose) - but he is NOT going to be happy at all.

I'd appreciate any suggestions of things I can do at home. I'm going to call the vet in the morning but the odds are good that she may not be there as I remember she was going on vacation very soon. I do have Baytril here if they recommend it and could give that.

I think the worst part of all this is the fears from having seen this before (only a worse case) and remembering how horrid it was. I don't want Zeus to pick up on my stress.


 

Amy27

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I would do the sub q's. It will push more of that sludge out. Also, my vet told me no to worry to much about calcium in the urine, it doesn't always mean there is sludge in the bladder. They urinate out all the excess calcium so as long as Zeus is urinating out all the excess it may be okay. Though when you say he is straining to urinate, that is the first symptom my two rabbits show when they have sludge or stones.

Soaking the veggies, if he gets any will also help. I soak mine for an hour. You could also flavor some water to get him to drink more.

I would encourage you to check out the last 2 pages of my thread on sludge/stones with Chase and Little Bunny. Claire really gave some great info on how much calcium is in the things we feed. There is calcium in everything! Once you add it all up, it can be a lot. Claire figured it based on the pellets I feed, Oxbow Organic Rabbit and they would get their daily calcium needs met from the pellets a lone. And then I feed veggies and hay. I know there is still a lot of different opinions on whether diet really has anything to do with it. But after reading an article Claire sent me, I think it can. The article basically explained that there is only so much calcium that can be expelled each time they urinate. So if they don't urinate enough to expell the excess calcium, it will sit in the bladder. I quoted in my thread too. I think it is all in the last two pages.

I am trying to think of some other things I did at home that may help. Oh with the flavored water, I even blended up some greens and made a slurry to try and get them to drink more if you don't have any flavoring.

Keep us updated.

ETA: On the baytril, I don't know much about it but wanted to mention I never used it with either of my animals for sludge or stones. Though their urine had been checked for infection and they didn't have one. I did use some pain meds as sometimes it is uncomfortable/painful to urinate.

ETA again thought of something else. My vet showed me how to massage the bladder. Not to expell urine but that calcium deposits sit at the bottom of the bladder which makes it harder to expell when they do urinate. But if you don't know how to do that it wouldn't help. She also told me lots of activity and running up and down the stairs will help get the calcium deposits moving around the bladder so when he urinates, more comes out.

 

TinysMom

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I looked up the sub-q's for his weight and we did a 35cc subq injection. Robin did the shot while I tried to hold him.

It was heartbreaking - Zeus is NOT a vocal bunny but at the end - he was whimpering and crying. (We'd get about 5 cc in him and he'd jump and the needle would come out).

Technically - for his weight he should have had about 44 cc as a jumpstart...but I had 35 cc syringe!

He won't look at me or go near me right now - or even touch his veggies. He's just sitting and sulking. I'm hoping that when I go to bed tonight - I can convince him to come near me.

I will try to find your thread and read through it. I am just so frustrated - one of the reasons he is on bottled water is that he did this once before (but not nearly as bad).

I think that tomorrow I will try to get him to go outside and run around and play. Perhaps that will help to get the calcium deposits moving around the bladder.

Judging from his area of the room - I'd say he's been having this problem for maybe 3 days....at most.
 

tonyshuman

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Poor guy. The sub-Q's were the way to go. It might be good to look at reducing his pellets--only 2 oz of most pellets has enough calcium for a bunny for a whole day! Also, it might be good at some point to have a blood panel and urinalysis done. I know the vet's pretty far away, but these things might help you decide if it makes sense to go on some of the drugs like Lasix and potassium citrate.
 

Amy27

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One way I tried to judge the amount of calcium in the urine was to wash the litter box everyday with vinager and that gets all the white calcium off the bottom and then the next day I could look and see how much calcium deposits were in the bottom of the litter box.

I think any fluids are good. That is 35 cc more he is going to urinate out to get that sludge out. You did good! I understand how upsetting it is giving sub q's. I hated it too. Though usually a treat at my house makes the rabbit forget all about it.

Here is my thread on Chase http://www.rabbitsonline.net/view_topic.php?id=43493&forum_id=16

Chase went awhile sludge free too. Then I added in some high calcium veggies in her diet. Then the sludge came back for Chase and Little Bunny got sludge. When Claire posted about the amount of calcium they need I was blown away but how much more I was feeding them then they needed. I think they weren't urinating enough to get out all the excess I was feeding them. So I still feed stuff with calcium. I am just trying to keep it closer to their the daily amount they need instead of feeding all the exccess they don't need.

I know how frustrating this is. If you need to vent feel free to PM me.
 

Amy27

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As Claire mentioned the Lasix (we posted at the same time didn't see it before)I just wanted to say it has been a life saver for me. It is also inexpensive and easy to give. I get the pill form. The pills are small enough you can wrap one up in a crasin and my rabbits think they are getting a treat.
 

missyscove

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Most animals (like us) regulate their calcium with vitamin D, but rabbits just absorb all the calcium free calcium they get and urinate out the excess.
They don't absorb calcium oxalate though, which is what's found in a lot of veggies. Also, veggies are mostly water - it's the pellet that is the main concern with the calcium.

I would keep pushing the water, add flavor if you can. You really want to do your best just to dilute it.

I'll be keeping Zeus in my thoughts.
 

tonyshuman

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Thanks for that, Christina. I have been really confused on the calcium oxalate thing. So if a veggie has oxalates, they balance out the calcium in it, so that isn't absorbed?
 

missyscove

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"Rabbits have an unusual calcium metabolism, absorbing
calcium without vitamin D facilitation and activation
of calcium-binding proteins in the gut (McNitt et
al., 1996; Jenkins, 1999), resulting in excess calcium
being excreted in the urine. In most mammals, less than
2% of dietary Ca is excreted in the urine, but in rabbits
it is much higher. In one study cited by Jenkins (1999),
the fractional excretion of Ca was 44% when animals
were fed a “typical” commercial diet. Because rabbits
can absorb Ca without the facilitation of vitamin D, a
mechanism is needed to regulate serum Ca levels. Parathyroid
hormone and calcitonin are thought to prevent
serum Ca levels from becoming dangerously high due to
dietary influence. Diets high in calcium (alfalfa-based)
mayresult in kidney damage for animals at maintenance
levels (Cheeke, 1994) because homeostatic mechanisms
are not as effective as in other species. Prolonged high
dietary calcium will result in calcification of soft tissues
such as aorta and kidney (Cheeke, 1994) and formation
of kidney stones. This calcification is intensified if rabbits
are supplemented with vitamin D, as is often found with
commercial rabbit pellets."
http://www.asas.org/jas/jas0942.pdf

My understanding is that calcium oxalate prevents the intestinal absorption of calcium because the oxalate binds to the calcium. However, I also know that in humans, kidney stones are commonly composed of calcium oxalate and I also know that it is the toxin in poisonous plants like "dumbcane", though there's certainly a difference between a little spinach and a little dumbcane.
That said, the fact that rabbits don't need the vit. D for Ca absorption means that other species may not be the best model for rabbits.

I'd love to look into the whole process more, personally, preferably some time after my finals are over, as I find animal nutrition fascinating, but I think I've hijacked this thread.
 

tonyshuman

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:threadhijacked:
Yeah I'd love to too--I was just thinking earlier today I'd like to do all the research and write a paper on it, but I can't just do that for fun and I don't have classes to write papers for anymore. Can't believe I miss that! Maybe you can get a summer research credit for writing a big review paper on the subject during the summer break? ;)

Usually rabbit kidney stones are calcium carbonate.
 

TinysMom

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missyscove wrote:
I'd love to look into the whole process more, personally, preferably some time after my finals are over, as I find animal nutrition fascinating, but I think I've hijacked this thread.
Hijack away.....its fine with me!!
 

missyscove

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tonyshuman wrote:
:threadhijacked:
Yeah I'd love to too--I was just thinking earlier today I'd like to do all the research and write a paper on it, but I can't just do that for fun and I don't have classes to write papers for anymore. Can't believe I miss that! Maybe you can get a summer research credit for writing a big review paper on the subject during the summer break? ;)

Usually rabbit kidney stones are calcium carbonate.
I'd love to do some kind of rabbit research project, but I don't know of anyone here doing research with rabbits that I could get involved in.

Come live in the library with me?
 
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