The real scourge of professional rabbit breeding is the disease of rabbits, many of which threaten the extinction of the entire population. During a long selection, representatives of meat, fur and decorative breeds lost most of their immunity. Animals bred at home are characterized by increased soreness and often cannot resist dangerous viral infections that quickly spread through the rabbitry, infecting all its inhabitants.
Signs of a healthy domestic rabbit
Due to the high fecundity and fast rate of muscle mass gain, raising rabbits is a very profitable occupation, which most domestic farmers would be ready to do. The only and at the same time the main problem remains the increased soreness of these animals and the need to provide them with special care.
Along with providing pets with high-quality feed and soft bedding, the breeder should regularly examine the wards, revealing the slightest signs of disease. Healthy animal:
- has a smooth and shiny fur;
- it is mobile and not afraid of light;
- eyes shine and do not watery;
- there are no mucous discharge from the nose;
- fecal feces are small balls of dark brown or black;
- the average body temperature ranges from 38.5-39.5 degrees Celsius;
- respiratory rate is about 60 breaths per minute;
- heart rate 120-160 beats per minute.
Any deviations from the norm may indicate the animal’s health problems. We will talk about the most common diseases of rabbits, and their symptoms and treatment in this article.
Types of diseases and their symptoms
From the very first days after a female’s rounding, the owner should pay special attention to the health of the pets, conducting their daily external examination. If the babies are lying with their eyes closed, breathing difficult and often, or they drink a lot of water, this may be a sign of the onset of the development of the disease in rabbits.
If the problem becomes more serious, then the animals begin to profuse lacrimation, mucous membranes from the nose, the hair grows dull and begins to fall out in clumps, swelling and neoplasms appear on the head and body. In some cases, diarrhea and constipation are fixed, trembling, cramps and paralysis of the body appear, leading to inevitable death.
In the presence of similar signs of rabbit disease, their treatment may be different. It depends on the nature of the disease and its pathogens.
There are infectious diseases of rabbits, noncommunicable diseases, as well as invasive or parasitic pathologies.
Invasive diseases caused by parasites
Most often, rabbits suffer from invasive or parasitic diseases caused by helminths, ticks, lice and fungal infections.
The signs of such diseases can be easily identified by the onset of hair loss, the constant sensation of itching, tearing and the presence of intestinal disorders. Animals lose their appetite, become afraid of the light, and their hair loses its luster. Next, we will explain how rabbits get sick.
A dangerous disease is cysticercosis. An adult parasite or cestode lives in the body of dogs, and the larval form develops in the rabbit liver. The infected animal quickly loses its appetite, weakens and dies.
Treatment of rabbits for this disease is not possible. The only thing a farmer can do is isolate a sick animal by transferring it to a quarantine cage. Slaughtering such a pet is much more practical than curing, and after slaughter, the carcass is destroyed by burning.
That is why it is forbidden to keep dogs on a rabbit farm, with the exception of guard dogs. For the prevention of cysticercosis, 10% mebenvet granules are added to animal feed for 30-40 days.
Symptoms and treatment of dermatomycosis
A serious danger is represented by a rabbit disease such as dermatomycosis, which is caused by a fungus that affects the skin and is a thin thread invisible to the naked eye.
The symptomatology of the disease manifests itself in severe itching, especially in the head and ears, in rabbits hair begins to fall out in shreds. With one of the varieties of dermatomycosis. ringworm. the hair falls out over large areas of the body.
Due to the fact that the animal constantly combes the itchy place, it is covered with wounds and scabs, through which other dangerous infections can enter the rabbit’s body. If you do not start treatment in a timely manner, then your pet will feel depressed and will surely die.
For the treatment of dermatomycosis, antimycotic ointments Saprosan and Unisan are applied to the affected areas, as well as drugs that relieve itching.
Tick-borne intoxication of rabbits
To parasitic diseases of rabbits include infection of animals with blood-sucking insects. Combating lice, mosquitoes and mosquitoes is easy. This requires systematic hygiene and hygiene.
It is much more difficult to deal with ticks, which are divided into fur, subcutaneous and scabies. The first are large. They feed on the hair of a sick rabbit, causing it to fall out in the back and neck.
Subcutaneous ticks carry out their activity in the deep layers of the skin. They gnaw through the canals and secrete toxic products of their vital activity that poison the rabbit. A sick animal experiences constant itching and itches. It experiences stress and loss of appetite.
The most dangerous parasites are scabies mites, which also live in the subcutaneous layer, but lay their eggs on the skin. To do this, they gnaw through numerous channels, causing a strong itch in the rabbit.
If you notice signs of tick-borne infection, then you must begin to treat these diseases of rabbits and their symptoms. For this, the skin of the animal is treated with sulfuric lime or injections of the drug "Ivermectin" (200 μg per 1 kg of weight) are made.
Infectious diseases of fatal pathology
If widespread invasive ailments can be effectively controlled using medical treatment, then rabbits infected with infections are much more complicated. Rabbit breeding annually suffers serious losses due to the need to dispose of tens of thousands of infected animals.
Myxomatosis and viral hemorrhagic disease are the most dangerous diseases that cannot be cured of rabbits.
Myxomatosis virus is transmitted by blood-sucking insects, and is also transmitted by direct contact of animals with each other. Rabbits have swollen eyes and point tumors appear throughout the body. Natural death in 70-100% of patients occurs in 1-2 weeks. Survivors become carriers of the infection.
With HBV, the causative agent of the disease enters the cell with litter, feed and contaminated water. It can be carried on human clothing. There is symptomatic bleeding from the nose, mouth and anus, inflammation of the eyelids. Mortality reaches 100%.
If you find the first signs of infection of rabbits with myxomatosis or HBV, then you must immediately isolate these animals so that other inhabitants of your rabbitry do not become infected.
The treatment of such diseases by specialists has not yet been developed, therefore sick animals are subject to slaughter and immediate disposal. Their carcasses need to be burned, as rabbit meat becomes unfit for human consumption.
Both viruses are highly resilient and often have to destroy the entire livestock of the farm, burning along with the carcasses even the cells in which the animals were kept.
The only effective way of protection is to prevent infection by timely vaccination. For this, at the age of one and a half months, an associated vaccine against myxomatosis and HBV is introduced into the body of rabbit males and females. She can vaccinate babies, as well as adult animals, including pregnant and lactating rabbits.
Remember that such a vaccine does not cure an already infected animal, but only produces antibodies that can resist infection.
Read more in the article “Using the Associated Vaccine for Rabbits.”
Pasteurellosis and infectious stomatitis
There are other contagious diseases that spread rapidly among rabbitry inhabitants and can lead to high deaths among your pets.
The main signs of pasteurellosis are a sharp increase in body temperature, the appearance of secretions from the nose and rapid breathing. The infection carried by small rodents, birds, and humans quickly spreads throughout the rabbit’s body, causing it to die as early as 3 days after infection.
A disease such as infectious stomatitis is characterized by the appearance of a white coating on the rabbit tongue, which is sick. Sores and profuse salivation appear in the mouth. Lack of appetite, lethargy, and persistent diarrhea can be fatal.
The best way to prevent infection is to prevent rabbit disease with vaccines containing attenuated strains of the virus. How to do them correctly can be found in the article "When and what vaccinations to rabbits."
Non-Infectious Rabbit Disease
Non-communicable diseases are a separate group of diseases that are not infectious and are not transmitted when rabbits come into contact with each other. They are less dangerous than the previous two groups, but also can cause serious harm to the health of your pets.
Rabbits of any age can suffer from conjunctivitis. Manifestations of this disease are increased lacrimation, swelling and souring of the eyes from the developed pus.
Conjunctivitis accompanies almost all infectious diseases, but often there are cases of a non-infectious nature of this disease.
If rabbits are kept in group cells or they use a hard litter, then they periodically injure their eyes, which begin to watery and become filled with pus. With mechanical damage, as a rule, only one eye begins to water.
You cannot start such a disease, because the body weakened by conjunctivitis does not resist other infections that constantly attack it. First of all, you need to get rid of pus by wiping the sore eye with a gauze swab soaked in a solution of furacilin. For treatment, 2-3 times a day, “Tsipromed”, “Gentamicin”, children’s “Albucid” and tetracycline ointment are used.
In adult rabbits, meat breeds often develop subdermatitis, accompanied by the formation of ulcers and fistulas on the plantar surfaces of their legs. Pathology refers to non-communicable diseases.
The main reason for the formation of this disease is the farmer’s non-compliance with sanitary and hygienic standards, as well as constant dampness and elevated temperature in rabbitry.
Wounds that appear should be treated with 10% lead or zinc ointment. If the wounds are covered with a crust, then it must be removed, stopping the bleeding with iodine. For treatment, Vishnevsky ointment, Tetracycline and Oxytetracycline are used.
Since the treatment is long, many rabbit breeders prefer to send such animals for slaughter. If the slaughter took place at the initial stage of the disease, then the carcass, with the exception of the affected areas, can be eaten. Otherwise, it is best to burn it, after removing the skin, the use of which restrictions do not apply.
Rabbits can suffer from respiratory diseases. If the temperature is not observed in rabbitry, drafts are present, and the air is filled with ammonia fumes and dust, then animals can suffer from bronchitis, rhinitis, pleurisy, or catarrh of the lungs.
The causes of these diseases are the non-observance of the temperature regime in rabbitry, the presence of drafts, the presence of dust, fluff and smoke in the air, as well as the increased ammonia content in the cells, which are rarely cleaned.
Rabbits breathe heavily and very often, they begin to sneeze, and mucus is released from the nose. When listening with a phonendoscope, characteristic wheezing and whistling are heard in the chest of a sick animal.
Clean, ventilate and disinfect rabbitry. For treatment, a solution of furatsilin is used, which contains from 15 to 20 thousand units of the Penicillin antibiotic.
With the advanced stage of bronchitis, intramuscular injections of Penicillin are prescribed, and Norsulfazole or Sulfadimezin is added to the feed. The dosage is determined by the veterinarian taking into account the weight of the rabbit and the stage of the disease.
Heat stroke and frostbite
In hot periods of the year, care must be taken to ensure that the rabbitry premises do not overheat, it must be well ventilated. If the animal’s body overheats for a long time, then the rabbit may receive heat stroke.
Animals become lethargic and lose their appetite. They lie for a long time on their side or stomach. Often this is accompanied by convulsions and leads to death. A similar condition manifests itself as a result of prolonged exposure of the rabbits to the sun, when animals receive a sun stroke.
The animal should be immediately transferred to a cool place. Ice can be brought to his ears for a few minutes. In order not to provoke frostbite, bringing ice to the rabbit’s body is not recommended. It’s best to just pour cool water over it.
If the condition of the rabbit is severe, it is recommended to inject 1-2 ml of a 20% caffeine solution intramuscularly.
With hypothermia, rabbits often develop frostbite. Bubbles with a clear liquid appear on the body, which burst forming poorly healing wounds, open for the penetration of various infections. It is required to clean everything from pus and crusts, and then treat it with the anti-inflammatory ointments indicated above.
Rabbits also suffer from congenital diseases, diseases of the digestive, circulatory and musculoskeletal systems. All of them are noncommunicable diseases.
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