Common rabbit diseases and how to treat them
Diseases are dangerous in animal production, it affects not only the animals but the productivity and growth of the farm, therefore, accurate measures needs to be taken by every farmer to ensure a disease free farm.
Rabbits, though have high resistivity to diseases but are greatly affected by disease if not properly managed.
There are several rabbit diseases that are capable of causing huge harm to your rabbits.
Observing your rabbits daily for signs of diseases is a very critical task you can’t afford to overlook. This is because rabbits don’t show signs of diseases.
They are prey animals and as such try to hide any sign of weakness. You, therefore, have to be very observant of your rabbits.
Once a rabbit is no longer as active as normal, or is no longer eating, as usual, something is wrong. You have to observe the rabbit properly for any of the following common rabbit diseases.
Common rabbit diseases
Common rabbit diseases includes
- Snuffles: This is one of the commonest rabbit diseases, this is an infection of the upper respiratory tract of rabbits. It can be caused by exposure to cold, dusty feed, poor quality feed, and the introduction of infected animals into your herd.
Symptoms include sneezing, mucoid discharge from the nose and mucous near the eyes. Treatment: Snuffles can be cured by giving antibiotics (L.A)
- Mange: This is caused by mites. Symptoms include a patch of dandruff on a rabbit’s coat, usually at the back of the neck, around the tail area, fingers, and toes.
The mange can settle anywhere. The fur will pull away wherever dandruff settles. This will bring discomfort to the animal and can lead to death.
Treatment: Ivermectin injection.
Note: Be extra careful when injecting Ivermectin. Weigh your animal properly and administer the adequate dose, never too much.
Normally, the dosage is 1ml to 50kg of the animal. Do your maths properly.
- Ear canker: A brownish crust inside the ear of the rabbits. Caused by mites also. Rabbits will keep shaking their heads and continuously scratch the ear. Ear canker can lead to other ear infections that can cause loss of hearing in your rabbits. It is contagious, just like mange.
Treatment: Ivermectin injection.
Note: You can also use engine oil. A few drops inside the ear. A few drops…don’t baptize them with engine oil.
- Coccidiosis: This is a very serious one. It is caused by a protozoan parasite (Eimeria sp).
Symptoms are a rough coat, dullness/depression, decreased appetite, dehydration, loss of weight and (profuse) diarrhoea.
There are two types: hepatic and intestinal coccidiosis.
Don’t worry about the details.
What you should know is that they are both very bad for your rabbits.
It is very difficult to cure. Here, you should take that prevention is better than cure adage very seriously.
Prevention: Give coccidiostats and anticoccidiosis to your rabbits frequently. They are not expensive and are sold in vet shops and most animal feed stores around you.
- Sore hocks: This can be caused by injuries to the animal’s feet on the floor of the cage. The animal will refuse to move around or may try to sit on its feeder to relieve its feet of its weight. Usually, the feet bleed or have sores.
Treatment: Give antibiotics (L.A) and place a flat smooth material (like carton or newspaper) in the rabbit’s cage until the feet heal.
You might have to clean the cage more often to prevent the buildup of germs on the new flooring material.
- Paralysis: This can be caused by a shock to your animal.
Avoid loud noise around your rabbit house and prevent rodents and reptiles from entering your rabbit hutch.
It is a 50-50 case. Once your rabbit is paralysed, it might not make it again.
You should just pot it.
Others Rabbit Diseases include
- Neck tilt
- Overgrown teeth
- Rabbit fever (can be zoonotic), etc.
Generally, be very observant. If you’re careless, your rabbits will show signs of sickness when it is almost too late to do anything. Prevention is better.
General tips to prevent disease and reduce mortality
- Make sure the rabbit house is not too cold or too hot.
- Don’t feed dusty feed. Wet the feed with some water before feeding them.
- Give anticoccidiosis regularly.
- Don’t introduce animals from other farms into your herd without first quarantining them for some days to be sure of their health.
- Give multivitamins regularly and whenever you give medication.
- Feed plants with a medicinal value like Bitterleaf and Tridax procumbens to prevent coccidiosis and bacterial infection.
As a rabbit farmer, frequent inspection is a habit you must cultivate because it is a good way to detect any form of rabbit disease at its early stage, it is easier to manage any rabbit disease at the early stage than when it has escalated.
It is also desirable to establish a regular work routine. Care should be taken not to frighten the rabbits with sudden unaccustomed movement or noise, but without placing too much emphasis on quietness.
Premises and equipment should be regularly cleaned and thoroughly dried before restocking. Thorough disinfection should be carried out at suitable times to reduce the danger of continuing infection.
The good thing is, you can always do your best to ensure a disease free farm, because, that’s the best way to promote the health of your rabbits as well as keep a healthy farm.
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