Pet rabbits die - possible environmental cause? 
Author Message
 Pet rabbits die - possible environmental cause?

We've had what we consider to be a rather bizarre occurrence recently.  Over
the past couple of years, we have had two pairs of rabbits die in strange
sequence.  Both pairs died in about the same time in May.  One rabbit dies,
followed a week later by the second rabbit.  

Our rabbits are kept part of the year indoors (fall/winter in ba{*filter*}t), and
the other part outdoors (spring/summer).  They eat only rabbit pellets.  Since
they are unaltered male/female pairs, they are kept in separate cage areas.

Last time around, we had one rabbit autopsied by a vet - all she said
was that its intestines "had twisted" resulting in death.  Our concern is
that perhaps there is some environmental threat we have missed, ie something
with risk factors for humans.  The only possible lead we have at this point
is that a neighbor reports his well showed Temik contamination when retested
a few weeks ago.

We would be most appreciative to hear any ideas/thoughts anyone might have
concerning this problem.

                                        Thank you!

                                        Chris & Rick Spanbauer



Sat, 12 Nov 1994 01:25:03 GMT
 Pet rabbits die - possible environmental cause?
|> We've had what we consider to be a rather bizarre occurrence recently.  Over
|> the past couple of years, we have had two pairs of rabbits die in strange
|> sequence.  Both pairs died in about the same time in May.
|> ...
|> was that its intestines "had twisted" resulting in death.  Our concern is

Gut problems from hair ingested during the spring (warm weather) molt? The
timing seems right.

Our rabbits are losing fur by the hand-full and mouth-full right now
(our hands, their mouths).  So it's 6 papaya tablets per day (for them)
and the hair is passing just fine.

Good luck!
--
David & Laurie Stubbs                               +1 503 627 2627
Tektronix Software Technology Research Lab          +1 503 627 5502 fax



Sun, 13 Nov 1994 01:52:51 GMT
 Pet rabbits die - possible environmental cause?

Quote:

> Over the past couple of years, we have had two pairs of rabbits die...
> ...about the same time in May.

> Our rabbits are kept part of the year indoors (fall/winter in ba{*filter*}t), and
> the other part outdoors (spring/summer).  They eat only rabbit pellets.  Since
> they are unaltered male/female pairs, they are kept in separate cage areas.

>      ...a neighbor reports his well showed Temik contamination when retested
> a few weeks ago.

I don't know what Temik contamination is, but I would certainly check it
out if it presents a health hazard.

However, the rabbits most likely died from something like hairball,
stress, etc.  There were several things that weren't clear from this
posting.  Following is some information from which you might draw some
conclusions.

Hairball is especially common during the molt, which begins in the spring
and may continue for a very short time, or all the way until fall.  The
faster the rabbit sheds, the greater the danger of a hairball forming, and
the greater need to groom daily and give preventives such as papaya tablets
with an amylase enzyme.  Rabbits, unlike cats, can't vomit, so hairball is
deadly if not prevented or treated aggressively.  It can also cause the
"twisted intestine."

Two things that are almost essential to preventing hairball are hay and
exercise, and papaya tablets with an amylase enzyme can help a lot,
especially during the molt (mine get 2--4 daily year round, depending on
size and 4--12 during molts, depending on size, heaviness of molt, etc.)
If these rabbits had only pellets, they didn't have hay or papaya tablets.
And if they were kept in cages, they didn't have exercise.

Practically all rabbits "carry" pasteurella, but stress activates it.  It
can take any of dozens of forms--pneumonia, tumors, brain infections,
kidney failure, etc.  These rabbits may have experienced any of the
following stresses, any of which would weaken their ability to fight off
pasteurella or to survive any other bacterial or viral invasion (it
isn't clear from the original posting whether some of these apply):

     - the greatest stress is not being neutered/spayed (both sexes
       experience severe stresses when hormones are allowed to rage without
       breeding or sterilization);

     - lack of companionship (rabbits NEED touching, sleeping with a
       companion, snuggling with people, etc.);

     - boredom with cooking.net">food (they need grains and veggies and fruit for
       variety--psychological health--as well as for physical well-being)
       --don't listen to those who claim their pellets are perfectly
       balanced nutritionally!!  (Ask if they would like a permanent diet
       of a single cooking.net">food and if they think that science could provide a
       single such perfect food--there's been a lot more study of human
       nutrition that bunny nutrition.)

     - general boredom (no toys, no changes of diet, no companion to play
       with)

     - living in cages without exercise (as good for bunnies as it would be
       for dogs, cats, or people)

     - moving from a warm indoors to a cool outdoors (rabbits can tolerate
       severe cold far better than changes from warm to cool; house and
       outside should be fairly close in temperature before rabbits are
       moved in or out)

There are other possibilities, but these are the most likely.  Too bad you
didn't get autopsies on all of them by a vet that knows rabbits well.
That's the only way to be sure of what was going on...

If you plan to get more rabbits, do have them sterilized, give them a
litter box in their cage, make them part of the family, and get in touch
with the chapter of the House Rabbit Society nearest you (I'm in CO and
will be glad to help you locate one close to you or send you information
directly).

Nancy LaRoche (HRS)
att!drutx!njl



Mon, 14 Nov 1994 03:07:37 GMT
 Pet rabbits die - possible environmental cause?

Quote:

> I don't know what Temik contamination is, but I would certainly check it
> out if it presents a health hazard.

Temik is aldicarb, a fairly toxic systemic carbamate insecticide.  Dermal
LD50 in rabbits is 20mg/kg, {*filter*}LD50 is 1 mg/kg.  
Several people got pretty sick in CA a few years ago when they ate melons
that had been accidentally sprayed with temik.

Kay Klier   Biology Dept  UNI



Mon, 14 Nov 1994 11:16:26 GMT
 
 [ 4 post ] 

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