RABBIT OWNER'S MEDICINE CHEST
Home and Prescription Remedies for the good health of your precious pet.
I am not a vet and only offer what works for me with my rabbits in the last 25 years.
Barbi Brown's Bunnies
Recommends the following supplies be kept on hand for you bunny:
FOR THE PET OWNER AND BREEDERS:
Simethicone Drops - Anti-gas treatment intended for human infants give immediate relief to your bunny when he is suffering from gas buildup or diarrhea caused by change in diet. It comes in a convenient graduated dropper bottle for easy dosing and can be found wherever baby aspirin is sold. One dropper full 2 or 3 times a day will have your bunny bouncing and back to the dinner table in no time. It is available in grocery and drug stores where they sell baby aspirin.
Meat Tenderizer - Yes, that's right! Put 1/4 teaspoon of plain meat tenderizer (found in any grocery store) in your bunnies drinking water every day when he is shedding his coat. The Bromelain (papaya enzyme) in the tenderizer will dissolve the gooey substance that bonds ingested hair safely and quickly. Much more effective than Papaya tablets.
Tea - For reducing excess bacteria in bladder and gut. Any kind of tea, herb, Black or Orange Pekoe or green teas are fine. Make tea as you would for yourself to drink iced tea and put in your rabbits drinking water once a week. Also makes a wonderful eye wash and treatment for a wet dewlap. A tea soak is also very helpful for hutch burn (urine scald). The rabbits will also enjoy eating the wet tea leaves. Try our Tender Tummies Tonic: Tea bags contain a blend of willow and mallow to relieve pain and stomach upset. Available through our catalog.
Hydrogen Peroxide - for cleaning wounds and preening glands. The preening glands are located on either side of the genital openings on both bucks and does. A musk oil is emitted from these glands and if rabbits do not groom themselves well (especially fat rabbits) the oil becomes rancid and has a putrid odor. Dipping a Q-Tip in peroxide and wiping the hardened oil will keep your bunny feeling and smelling fresh.
Vinegar - Any type is wonderful for cleaning cages, dishes and trays. Vinegar will remove the most stubborn hard water and calcium build ups. Also acts as a mild disinfectant. Also treats wet dewlap by reducing the pH preventing the overgrowth of the bacteria Pseudomonas.
Wet dewlap or "green chin" is caused by Pseudomonas.
Pseudomonas growth on wet fur can be controlled by trimming excess wet fur and spraying vinegar or Vanodine Disinfectant on the area twice a day for a week.
For more complete disinfectant use Vanodine.
Piperazine/Wazine Wormer - Sold for use in Dogs, Cats, and Horses. Available at most pet or feed stores. We recommend worming every three months as a preventative measure especially if you rabbit spends time in the back yard or is exposed to dogs and cats which may be shedding pin worms. We us 17% solution at the rate of 4 drops per pound and give it with a dropper directly by mouth rather than diluting in water.
Mineral Oil - For treatment of ear mites. Rabbits who are allowed to play in the yard are likely to pick up ear mites. Hay can also be a carrier of mites. Your bunny may shake his head or scratch his ears a lot when harboring ear mites. Ear mites appear dark orange or red to very black in the ears and are often mistaken for wax. A little mineral oil (not salad oil which turns rancid) can be put in a small spray bottle and sprayed in the ear twice daily for 3 days. An eye dropper can also be used. Massage the ear after putting the drops in to be sure it works it way down the ear. The bunny will shake his head and may shake the oil out if you don't massage the ear first. Ivermectin is also very effective in treating ear and fur mites.
Mineral oil is also helpful to relive GI stasis in early stages. 1/10 cc per pound of body weight given daily for 2 to 3 days will usually get the gut moving again.
Natural Remedies from your home and garden:
Weeping Willow leaves, bark and branches are an excellent source of roughage, iron, a natural form of analgesic and a big help in the treatment of diarrhea. We feed Willow from Spring until the trees loose their leaves in fall. Then we cut back the trees and cut up the branches in 8 to 10 inch long sticks and feed the sticks all winter until the leaves return in the spring. Bunnies love it and regular trimming keeps the trees healthy.
Mint of all kinds is a favorite treat for you bunny and aids in the relief of stomach distress and diarrhea. You can plant in planters in the house and harvest it all year long. The more you cut, the faster it grows. Do not feed to nursing does.
Blackberry leaves or Tea - Another remedy for diarrhea and upset tummies.
Cranberry juice and "Craisins" - Great treat and treatment for urinary tract infections and rabbits prone to hutch burn. Plus they love them any time! They are very high in sugar so feed them sparingly.
MAGIC REJUVENATOR: Our version of Critical Care with the added benefits of Willow for natural pain relief and mallow for soothing the gut. Just sprinkle on feed or in water or make into a paste ball and feed as a treat. For stubborn critters I make a paste and stand their front feet in it and they lick it off. It can be diluted further to syringe feed although I prefer having the rabbit eat it voluntarily. Helps reduce transport shock as well. $5.00 per package. See our catalog
TENDER TUMMIES TONIC: We have produced these handy tea bags to makes 32 oz. of Tonic to sooth upset guts from illness or prolonged antibiotic therapy, kindling stress or recovering GI Stasis. Contains willow for natural pain relief and mallow for gut restoration. Great to reduce transport shock. $3 for 2 large tea bags. See our catalog
NFZ Powder -Nitrofurazone Powder is a pink eye medicine for use in dogs, cats, sheep, goats and cattle that is the best treatment I have found for eye infections. Ointments and creams seem to attract more dust and dirt to the irritated eye but this powder seems to offer almost instant relief. It is available at pet and feed stores and is cheap insurance. It can also be used for treatment of open wounds.
TOE NAIL TRIMMERS - There are as many different types of nail trimmers as there are rabbits! The guillotine style used for dogs will work but seem clumsy to me. I prefer the scissor type used for bird claws or for very young bunnies I like the kitten claw trimmers. But my all time favorites are ordinary little wire cutters. They are small and easy to handle and generally very sharp. They will also work to trim teeth of malocclusioned animals. (We have these for sale now too.)
KWIK-STOP - A product sold in most pet stores (and here) to stop bleeding of toe nail cut too short. Styptic pencil sold in drug stores works just as well. A paste made of wood ash and water or black pepper and water will work in a pinch.
VITAMIN E - I keep 1,000 mg Vitamin E on hand at all times. It is the quickest and safest way to get toxins out of your rabbit's system. I have actually saved rabbits that had been poisoned by redwood and Dieffenbachia with Vitamin E. Just snip the tip off a gel cap and squirt into your bunny's mouth. They love the taste and it works. Any time you suspect your bunny has gotten into something and don't know what, try Vitamin E.
ACTIVATED CHARCOAL - Another wonderful lifesaver for poisoning.
Just mix with water and get your bunny to drink it. Vitamin E is easier to
administer but the combination is unbeatable.
ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES FOR THE BREEDER TO KEEP ON HAND:
Lactated Ringers - Must be purchased from your Vet but I think every Rabbitry should keep some on hand. A sterile solution of Lactated Ringers injected under the skin can mean life or death for a dehydrated rabbit. You will need a 30 cc syringe and large gauge needles to administer. Have your vet show you the proper technique. It is simple to do once you know how.
Antibiotics: While I do not advocate indiscriminate use of drugs, when therapy is required you rarely have time to go get it. Many antibiotics are not well tolerated by rabbits and the wrong choice can cost your rabbit it's life. Keep in mind that unless you disinfect the cage and surrounding area, no medication will be completely effective. The antibiotic of my choice is
Penicillin with Benzathene sold under the trade names of DURA-Pen, Han Pen B or Pen BP. It is a long lasting (48 hour) treatment that kills both gram negative and gram positive bacteria and is well tolerated without upsetting the natural flora of the gut. It is available without prescription at feed stores that carry cattle supplies. It is designed for use in cattle only and use in rabbits is considered "off-label" so your vet may choose not to use it for rabbits. I use a dosage of 1/10cc per pound injected under the skin at the back of the neck but let your own vet be your guide. I find it the best choice for abscesses, mastitis and vent disease.
OXY-TETRACYCLINE is a broad spectrum antibiotic that is very effective for use with rabbits. Also sold as Bio-Mycin, LA200 and other similar trade names. If Pen If if Pen B fails, we opt for Oxy-Tet. We use this for respiratory infections.
Be particularly careful of oral antibiotic use with rabbits. They can kill the required "good bacteria" in the gut resulting in life threatening diarrhea.
Baytril has become the drug of choice for most vets because of it's safety in use with rabbits but I find it limited in value to certain types of illnesses. The other draw back is that it tends to put the rabbit off feed during it's use although it does not cause diarrhea. It is especially effective in uterine infections. Baytril is only available from your vet.
Oxytocin or Pitocin - Used to induce labor and to encourage milk let down. It will also stop post partum hemorrhage. Again this is available by prescription only and should be administered with great care. If administered improperly it can cause the uterus to rupture. Have your vet instruct you in it's proper use. The natural alternative to the drug which I recommend as the first line of treatment is a nice warm bath! The warm water helps relax the doe. A gentle massage of the back and stomach will help the doe go into labor or release a kit stuck in the birth canal. When the doe is removed from the bath and towel dried let her run around a warm bathroom until she delivers.
Ivomec - 1% Solution for cattle. This is used for treatment of fur mites and many internal parasites. I treat all rabbits orally (although it is an injectable solution) every 3 months. New animals brought into the barn are treated at once and dosage is repeated in 10 days. I am convinced of it's effectiveness in preventing and treating fur mites and encephalitazoon cuniculi (the parasite responsible for Wry Neck). I use a dosage of 1/10cc per pound of body weight but many breeders use less with reported success.
Ointments - Neosporin, Nitrofurazone ointment, and Preparation H (hemorrhoid treatment) are all very effective for treating sore hocks caused by rusty wire or sagging floors in cages. Short furred breeds like Rex and Mini Rex and the heavy breeds like French Lops, Checkered Giants, and Flemish Giants are more prone to sore hocks than other breeds but it can happen to any of them.
I find the best treatment for SORE HOCKS is to apply a generous amount of NFZ ointment or powder or Vanodine covered by sterile gauze pad and then wrapped (figure 8 fashion) with strip gauze and taped in place with paper tape or masking tape (much cheaper than sterile paper tape). Recently we started using baby socks which are easy to put on and hold in place with a small amount of vet wrap (a self sticking stretch type bandage available where horse supplies are sold) above the hock. Be sure to wrap the gauze and tape up over the hock joint on the back feet to prevent the dressing from being pulled off. Some rabbits will chew the dressing off but most are so happy to have some pain relief that they leave it alone. Change the dressing every 2 to 3 days or sooner if soiled or wet. If the hock is abscessed, I also give DURA-Pen to clear the infection. Spraying the wound with Vanodine aids healing and reduces complications.
We so carry a product called Pad Heal that is used for the feet when they first start to run but before the skin is broken. Pad Heal makes the skin soft and supple so it doesn't break open.
Vanodine - An Iodine based biocide that kills everything except the rabbit! I have used this product for years and wouldn't be without it. It is strong enough to kill Pasteurella, Rabies and Tuberculosis but gentle enough to spray in infected eyes or put in the drinking water. It can be used in vaporizers or just misted in the air. Use it to clean crocks and water bottles. Disinfect cages and more. It is very concentrated and a 16 ounce bottle will last a very long time. I carry a spray bottle with me to rabbit shows and spray the judging coops before placing my rabbits in them. Available in both V-18 and FAM-30. (FAM stands for Foot and Mouth). This is also very helpful in treatment of fungus that rabbits frequently get on feet and ears. Vanodine is no longer available for sale in the U.S. But we now have an Iodine Sanitizer available that nearly identical to Vanodine V-18.
Order from Barbi Brown's Bunnies. Pathogens Vanodine will kill.
Read all about it. Fam 30 in the Rabbitry Fam 30 in the Rabbit Showroom Use with Dogs
BIOSOL liquid - A Neomycin Sulfate liquid marketed for use in scours in cattle and goats. It works in the gut and is very effective in treating infectious mucoid enteritis. Available at most feed stores and also sold under the name of Dri-Tail in pet stores. The Dri-Tail is a very diluted form of BIOSOL.
Sulfaquinoxaline, Sulmet or Corid powder is used to treat coccidiosis by many breeders but should be used with great care as there can be many side effects from using sulfa. Withdrawal times must be strictly adhered to for rabbits intended for human consumption.
FLEA CONTROL : Revolution is safe for rabbits. There is one Advantage that is safe for rabbits but is not readily available.
I'm sure I have forgotten something so if you find some missing items that should be on the list, let me know!
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