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Healthy Baby Continental Giant Rabbits playing[/caption]Continental Giant Rabbits have a tendency to be very healthy, robust and full of life. However, they are rabbits and as such, there are certain health problems that could affect them. The most common issues in giant rabbit breeds are sore hocks, ear mites, fur mites, and gut-mobility problems such as bloat. Follow along as we take a look at these illnesses and discuss the best treatments and methods of prevention.
Sore hocks are fairly preventable, which of course is always the best option. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, as the old cliche goes. Most giant breeds who live on solid-bottom floors do not have problems with sore hocks; tho it is possible to happen. Thankfully tho, this is one problem that is also easy to treat.
SYMPTOMS: On the bottom of the feet, if you notice missing fur or bare reddish skin, then you have caught the problem early. At this stage, you will probably only need to ensure their floor is dry and clean, and if they are on wire, you will need provide a solid, resting mat. If the sore hocks are more severe, you will see inflamed, red, calloused spots, which may or may not have turned into an open wound or abscess. In either case, you will need to treat.
TREAT: Clean the area (iodine solution works great). If there is an open wound, after cleaning, apply a topical antibiotic cream, such as Neosporin. Other common treatments involve applying “Blue-Kote” ointment or “Old Fashion Black Salve”. If there is an abscess, you will need to drain that infection out. This will need to be done at least once a day, consistently. If it is a fairly large sized abscess, it helps to also give Pen-G injections (aka “Dura-Pen”, subQ, 1cc per 10 pounds body weight) once a day for 3-5 days. It will also help to wrap the area.
Ear Mites, once again, is easier to prevent than to cure. But with diligence, it can easily be taken care of. However, they are contagious little rascals, disinfection is very important and quarantine measures should be put into action.
SYMPTOMS: This is one of the easiest health problems to diagnose. The skin in the ears will look flaky and may be a yellowish or brown color. If the infestation is bad, there may be sores present as well.
TREAT: With cotton balls or a clean cloth, moderately apply oil (mineral oil, veggie oil, or even baby-oil), covering all area of skin in the ears. Gently wipe the inside of the ears to remove what is possible, but do not “pick out” the ‘flakes’ or sores. As the mites die, they will easily fall off. Continue daily treatment with oil until infestation is gone and ears are clean.
The pesky parasites are another easily found and treated problem. Take notice though, as these are parasites, they are considered as one of the contagions passed around. Therefore, thorough cleaning and disenfection is required, as well as the use of quarantine.
SYMPTOMS: Quite simply, fur mites usually start at the shoulder area, then spread down the body and sometimes the stomach regions. They look like tiny flecks of white dandruff. As the infestation builds, you may notice blotches of thicker, more condensed ‘dry skin’ areas.
TREAT: For Fur Mite eradication, use a small amount of Ivermectin Topical Solution – pour a small amount onto your (gloved) hand, and thoroughly rub thru the fur, from base of neck, across shoulders, and back to tail. If other area’s are effective, cover those as well. If you don’t have Ivermectin available, Listerine mouthwash will work equally as well. This treatment will need to be daily, for 5-7 days; retreat again as often as needed.
Gut-mobility & GI problems are a whole different ballgame! These requires FAST ACTION – or they can quickly become fatal. If at any time you notice your rabbit sitting still, not acting normal, not eating or drinking – do not delay in looking for other problems. Has bunny lost weight? Do his eyes appear dull or life-less? Does he rock back and forth? Can he hop normally? Does he have diarrhea or fecal matter stuck to his rear end area? Are there any feces in his pen that looks like it has been strung to together? Is he grinding his teeth? Is his stomach swollen? All of these are life-threatening symptoms. All of these symptoms could be indicators of multiple problems: Enteritis, Wool Block, GI Stasis, Coccidiosis, and any number of other parasitic infestations. Note: all of the above can present with a swelled stomach (Bloat). However, what most fail to understand is that “bloat” is only a symptom – its not the main “problem.” Figuring out the real problem is not easy. If the problem isn’t quickly & correctly diagnosed, then be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best!
SYMPTOMS: You will see the feces that is “strung together”, having somewhat the appearance of a beaded necklace. If you do not see this strung-together fecal matter, however, then you already have a mess on your hands. The best suggestion is to get your rabbit to a vet immediately, if at all possible.
TREAT: This is also one of the easiest GI problems to fix, if caught early. To do so, get Chewable Papaya Tablets (in the vitamin section at your local stores). Crush approximately 15-20 of these tablets into a fine powder. Mix 1 teaspoon of the crushed Papaya tablets into a thin, watery paste. Immediately syringe-feed 3-6cc to your rabbit. Take the remaining Papaya powder and add half of it into the drinking water. Then add the remaining half into the feed – or smash it onto the surface of a Banana and feed that. Repeat as as often as necessary. Rabbits can not “over-dose” on Papaya. For good measure, you can also add electrolytes and probiotics into the syringe-doses.
STYMPTOMS: IF Enteritis is your problem, your first clue is a bloated stomach. Furthermore, usually there will be slimy or mucous presence in the feces. *Beware: High Fatality Rate
TREAT: Mix 1/2 cup LUKE-WARM water with 3 scoops of Probiotic Powder, 12 drops of Infant Gas Drops, 3 scoops of Electrolyte Powder (such as “Bounce Back). Mix all together and syringe-feed 8-12cc into your rabbit, no less than 2x a day. Remove all pellet feed, and offer fresh, clean hay. You can also try to entice your bunny into eating with Cilantro, Celery, Romaine Lettuce, Kale, or other watery-green leafy type veggie. Bunny will also need to be kept warm (if ears feel cooler than normal, his body temp is too low) by placing a warm compress or heating pad (on LOW) under a towel next to or underneath of him and reduce any stress inducing factors if possible. Typically, by the 3rd day, the rabbit will either start improving – or he probably will not survive. Otherwise, the only way to be certain if the problem is parasitic is by Vet analysis via fecal testing or necropsy.
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