Natural Preventatives and Remedies for Rabbit Illnesses

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by MaggieJ, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Tracy has kindly offered to give us a sticky for this thread so that we can have one place to keep available natural remedies for rabbits when they are afflicted by illness or parasites.

    We have had threads in the past relating to pumpkin seeds as a natural wormer or using catnip on top of the cages to repel flies and mosquitoes, but this will save a lot of searching when we need to retrieve information and it will also heighten awareness of the possibilities.

    There are many reasons for avoiding standard medications for rabbits. I have allergies to antibiotics and therefore want a good source of drug-free meat. Someone else may be raising rabbits organically to sell to a niche market.

    Please be as specific as you can when posting a remedy: how much you use, how often and how long it took to work etc. And please fill in the subject line to make it easier to find.

    Preventative tips are at least as important than remedies and I hope we will see plenty of good ideas here.
     
  2. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Occasionally a rabbit may have a "bad poop day" without being actually sick. It may be occasioned by consuming too much of a food it is sensitive to (too many dandelions, too much clover or fresh alfalfa, too many garden vegetables or fruits may all be culprits) or there may be another cause. Often we just don't know the reason, but just don't want to see our bun's buns exhibiting signs of "poopy butt."

    If the stools are merely soft and sticky, a temporary change of diet can be beneficial. Remove the pellets and/or grain, feed grass hay and some of the plants I like to call "the regulators". These plants will aid in firming the stools but they are also part of a wholesome diet and will not cause constipation. No one wants to go from one extreme to the other.

    The four regulators that I am most familiar with are plantain, raspberry leaves, blackberry leaves and strawberry leaves. All these are useful plants for food as well and you don't need to worry about feeding too many. Most rabbits love them and will eat their "medicine" happily. A portion of any of these (or combination thereof) in additon to the grass hay and perhaps some kitchen rolled oats will usually solve the problem within a day or so. Sometimes sooner.

    On the other hand, if a rabbit is exhibiting watery stools rather than merely soft, a stronger medicine may be needed. The dietary restrictions should be the same, but shepherd's purse can be added to the regulator greens listed above. Shepherd's purse is an excellent medicinal, but it is strong and you don't want to feed too much. A small handful of "above ground parts" twice a day for three or four days should do the trick. As the symptoms abate, reduce the amount and then discontinue but feed the regulators and grass hay for another day or two. Rolled oats from your kitchen can be safely fed as well. Reintroduce grains or pellets slowly.

    If, for any reason, a rabbit does not respond to these methods it may be necessary to fall back on more conventional treatments. I am not well-versed in these and it falls beyond the scope of this thread. Bloat is a somewhat different problem and requires different treatment. I've never seen this among my rabbits and so am not at present able to suggest the best approach.
     

  3. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Symptoms, rabbit hiding in corner of cage. Swollen and distended abdomen and stomach area. Rabbit may be squeaking it's teeth due to pain.

    Caused by unfamiliar food, ingesting fur, or rabbit eating too much green food at one time.

    Simethicone, any brand infant gas relief drops can be used to treat bloat. Give a dropperful into the rabbits cheek a few drops at a time (allow the rabbit to swallow the drops) by lifting up a lip and dropping a few drops into the space between the teeth and cheek. Let go of the lip and allow the rabbit to swallow, repeat until dropper is empty. Give every couple hours until rabbit's belly is no longer swollen.
     
  4. Shade26000

    Shade26000 Well-Known Member

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    I've use olive oil to cure ear mites. I silmply poured a little in each ear and then rub the base of the ear a little to help get the oil moved around. Do this once a day untill all mites are gone. It should only take a few days. You can also use baby oil which is a little cheaper.
     
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  5. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Pony's recent problem with a poopy-butt kit is a reminder that we need to have natural remedies available in winter to save having to go digging in the ice and snow. I'd like to compile a list of what plants we would, ideally, dry to have on hand for winter use. Here's a start... please add any you know about.

    Plantain: For safe introduction of young kits to greens, for poopy-butt.

    Raspberry leaves: Useful for promoting easy kindling. Feed during the last two weeks of pregnancy. Also useful for poopy-butt and a safe introductory green for young kits.

    Blackberry leaves: For poopy-butt and safe introductory green for young kits.

    Strawberry leaves: For poopy-butt.

    Willow twigs and leaves: Useful winter food, easily gathered and stored. Also a pain-reliever and possible natural coccidistat.

    Shepherd's Purse: MEDICINAL A strong medicine for diarrhea. Use sparingly.

    Mint: MEDICINAL. Useful for drying up milk supply. Safe as a food for dry does and bucks.

    Lavender buds: MEDICINAL. To bring on labour or expel placental material etc. in problem kindlings. Use with caution. sparingly. in extreme cases only.

    Okay, that's a start. Please add any you know of, especially ones you have used.

    We have blue skies and crows cawing here this morning. Spring is coming! :)
     
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  6. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Chickeninsta posted this in another thread in response to a question about eye infections... I thought it belongs here as well! Thanks, Chickenista!
     
  7. rrourk

    rrourk Member

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    Preventative for most ailments:

    We are using Raw Apple Cider Vinegar *not flavored* in our water on a daily basis. Dosage: my daughter started out using 1 tsp to 1 qt water, and now is up to 1 cup to 1 gallon water.

    Side note: my daughter's rabbitry really experienced a huge outbreak of fur mites, she said all she had to do was the ACV and GSE *grapefruit seed extract*. Dosage: the amount of ACV listed above and 10 drops GSE to 1 gallon water.

    Rena
     
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  8. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I can't take any credit for this idea but it's such a good one that I wanted to add it here before it gets forgotten. Beaniemom had a doe in extreme distress during kindling and SquashNut suggested giving her something with calcium in it - yogourt or half a Tums. :goodjob:

    "She looked really really bad," Beaniemom reported. "Panting and drooling and major tremors. I figured I would try the calcium and see if it helped at all. Since she looked like she was going down, you know? So I crushed one tablet with Pedialyte and basically shoved it down her throat. She seemed better about an hour later, so I went and fed and watered (slowly, since I managed to slice my foot open on one of the dogs bones) When I came back in she seemed better, no more panting and drooling at least. She started passing the kits about 10pm, passed 8 dead ones. They don't look abnormally big or anything, so I bet one got stuck and the rest died in the canal. She seems out of the woods now, just tired."
     
  9. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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  10. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here's a page of references about rabbit health issues. It is not geared specifically to natural remedies, but I think it has a place here anyway as a diagnostic aid or suggestions for treatments when natural remedies are not enough.

    http://homepage.mac.com/mattocks/morfz/rabrefs.html
     
  11. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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  12. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Uh... Heather2046. Did you mean that to be a thumbs up or is the "nice!!!!!" meant to be sarcastic? (Welcome to the forum anyway! :D )
     
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  13. twohunnyz

    twohunnyz Pacific Northwest

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    Mother's Herb Blend

    Combine: dried (all organic) raspberry leaf, nettle, and goats rue in equal parts, and half part milk thistle seed.
    Feed: 1 Tbs. per day at feeding time, to pregnant Does beginning one week before kindling through the first month.

    The Does love it! These herbs help ease kindling, offer nutrition and support lactation. Since starting this regimen, even the smallest Kits survive.
     
  14. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Super, Twohunnyz! I wonder if you could provide the botanical names for the herbs, so that we can all be sure we have the right ones. Common names vary so much from region to region. I know of at least two plants that are called milk thistle, perhaps more, and we just don't want to take any chances.

    I'd also be interested in your source for this blend, how you prepare it (do you grind the herb leaves or what?) and how you get the does to take it. Do you just put it into their food dish or what?

    Very glad you posted this... I find this kind of information fascinating.
     
  15. twohunnyz

    twohunnyz Pacific Northwest

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    Sure, Maggie! Goats Rue- Galega officinale; Milk Thistle- Silybum marianum. Actually, your natural rabbit feed thread inspired me to do extensive research! Most of it is on our website, the herbs specifically at http://twohunnyzrabbitry.webs.com/herbinformation.htm. One of my sources is http://www.galensgarden.co.uk/index.php

    As for 'getting' the Does to eat it, once they got a taste I have to be careful they don't take a finger! I just sprinkle 1 Tbs. over their food, once a day. I am not growing these items myself yet, I purchase bulk organic cut leaf from Mountain Rose Herbs.
     
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  16. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wow, Twohunnyz, I just hopped over to your website. Amazing. So far I have just sipped from the glass, so to speak, but it's enough to bring me back later to enjoy the rest. I like your style and I am very glad to have you with us.

    Thanks for providing the botanical names. It was the milk thistle that concerned me, particularly, since many people in North America call sow thistle (Sonchus spp.) that and may not even be aware of Silybum marianum. Not that there is a thing wrong with sow thistle - it's among the best for natural feeding - but I had a feeling that was not what you had in mind.

    I rather thought I detected a Galen's Garden influence. I like that site a lot too. The way they encourage people to grow their own herbs and forage instead of simply buying their mixes is so refreshing in a commercial site. I know they sell seeds as well, but they must make a lot more on their blends and cut dried herbs.

    I'm not surprised that the does like the flavour of your blend, but I was wondering how you get the herbs to combine uniformly unless you grind them... and I'd have thought ground herbs would tend to get "lost" before they can vacuum them up. Or do you just mix the whole dried leaves? I also notice on your website that you suggest a dose of "one large pinch daily" and here you are suggesting about 1 Tablespoon. I assume there is a range, which you adjust according to the size of the rabbit and that this accounts for the discrepancy. Or perhaps you have decided, over time, that the larger dose is more useful?

    Fortunately with most herbs, they are food as well as medicine and dosage is not critical, but but I am rather detail-oriented, in spite of my own slap-dash measurements for the supplements I use for the buns... a "glug" of apple cider vinegar per gallon of water or a "nice spoonful" of blackstrap molasses per "bread bag" of grain. :nono: Note to self: Stop doing that!
     
  17. twohunnyz

    twohunnyz Pacific Northwest

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    LOL! I appreciate details, too, crave them in fact! I apologize for the confusing discrepancy. Actually, for my fingers, a large pinch does equal approximately 1 Tbs. Yes, I measured. See, me too! LOL Our rabbit breeds are large, though, so for the smaller breeds definitely adjust the dosage down, like maybe 1 tsp.

    I honestly don't sweat whether the herbs are combined uniformly. I basically measure them into a gallon glass jar and mix thoroughly. I then have a small tin that I fill and keep in the barn with the feed (this gets used up fairly quickly with at least two Does at a time with litters). The main portion is kept more temperature controlled in the house. The seeds obviously want to settle to the bottom, so I give it (the tin) a shake to keep them mixed in, as well as re-stirring the jar before I refill the tin. That's it. Clear as mud, eh? LOL

    Being that we still feed pellets :::grumble, grumble::: the herbs sit right on top of their daily ration and they gobble those up first... and quick. As soon as they get even a whiff of the herbs, they actually wait for them!

    I really appreciate your compliments about our website. Natural animal husbandry is a passion of mine. I feel very strongly about sharing what I learn to benefit anyone also interested. As you seem to also! ;)
     
  18. twohunnyz

    twohunnyz Pacific Northwest

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    Oops, one more thing. The herbs are left in their cut-leaf stage, not ground. That would indeed make them too fine and wastefully fall through the feeder. :)
     
  19. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ah, I see we are "kindred spirits", as our Anne of Green Gables liked to say. :)

    Thanks for the details... it's all crystal clear now.
     
  20. twohunnyz

    twohunnyz Pacific Northwest

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    If you are an Anne fan, too, then we must be kindred spirits! :)