Mysterious fryer deaths

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by annie716, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. annie716

    annie716 Well-Known Member

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    In my previous years of rabbit raising I did not encounter this problem so I'm really puzzled and would appreciate any reponse on possible causes. I've been away from rabbits for awhile so it could be something new and I found out tonight another raiser in my area has had the same problem. I've lost 4 or 5 fryers from 10 to 14 wks of age. They appear to be perfectly healthy then the next day will be sitting with their nose tilted slightly upward then be dead in a few hours or the next day. They have no other symptoms. We butchered a few weeks ago and I couldn't find anything wrong internally with those so I'm really stumped. When I noticed the first one I thought it might be wry neck but the condition didn't progress the fryer was dead the next morning. My neighbor had the same thing happen, he mixed terramicyn (?) in the water bottle for a doe that had the same condition and said she drank for an hour then appeared to be improved the next day and is still alive. This is okay but I'd rather know what the cause is to avoid altogether. I also don't know what the withdrawl time would be for the meat after medication? Well, thanks in advance if you have any ideas.
     
  2. doodlemom

    doodlemom Well-Known Member

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    Wow that's scary! I'm going to be watching this thread.I'd be devestated if that happened here especialy in that age group.
     

  3. annie716

    annie716 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I didn't think to much of the first one and it's been about a month & then another one the other night, then I was talking to my neighbor tonight and he told me his experience so now I'm even more concerned, plus I'm going to start shipping soon & want to make sure this isn't something serious.
     
  4. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Really sorry you are having this problem... It is bad enough losing newborn kits but losing older ones to something so mysterious and symptomless is much harder.

    Are your rabbits related to your neighbours' rabbits? Any chance it is an inherited problem? I would think the safest thing to do would be to send the dead rabbit for a professional necropsy if it happens again.

    Good luck with the rest of them, and be sure to post when you get an answer.
     
  5. Hilda

    Hilda Well-Known Member

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  6. annie716

    annie716 Well-Known Member

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    Lost 2 more today, will see if vet can take a look, I'm not sure about the neighbors being related, he did get some from me but other places too and had some when he started, I guess we never got to that which ones he had the problems with. I was hoping the rabbitproduction chat was going on last night & they might have some clues but it wasn't. I'm going to try the Texas connection site this weekend too. One thing we might have in common is the feed but I have a younger litter of 9 (6or8wks) that haven't had any problems and none of the adults either. I'll keep checking back in the mean time maybe someone will know.
    Thankfully Hilda we're not in a highly populated area so haven't had to deal with the animal rights issues much. Just friends that think I'm some kind of ogre because I raise & butcher my own meat!
     
  7. doodlemom

    doodlemom Well-Known Member

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    Do you have a local university that maybe would take an intrest in getting to the root of the problem? I've never tried that , but I remeber hearing on campus when I attended our university actually did stuff like that.
     
  8. doodlemom

    doodlemom Well-Known Member

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  9. Bernadette

    Bernadette Enjoying Polish Rabbits

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    There was a problem here in Canada last summer that was traced back to feed, and it had something to do with a specific kind of mould that was on some of the 'grasses' that went into it. Some people had problem with this same mould on straw and various hays that they fed direct to the rabbits. Apparently, in small quantities this mould didn't hurt, but it was some kind of cumulative thing and when they reached their maximum tolerance - they were sick and then they were dead. I'll have a hunt around - perhaps there's something published by the University of Guelph about this. I know that some of the big rabbit producers in southern Ontario lost a lot of rabbits.

    Aha - here it is. http://www.ocrga.ca/ontario_farmer.html
     
  10. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Bernadette, aflatoxin (sp?) poisoning? A bunch of dogs died this spring after some dog food turned up with fungus-contaminated corn.

    Annie, were the fryers having trouble breathing before they died? Have you had any problems recently with little nasties like snuffles, abscesses, etc.? What brand of feed are you using?

    Hmm, if a doe with the same symtoms survived after being treated with antibiotics, perhaps that indicates a bacterial infection...I'm just shooting in the dark though...this has to be the weirdest bunny deaths I've heard of yet. :shrug:

    I'm gonna second the suggestion to get a necropsy done. :(
     
  11. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Have you dressed out any that died? I'd do so and see if you see something, like abnormal liver or lungs. Might give you something to talk about with the vet, anyway.

    Jennifer
     
  12. annie716

    annie716 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link Bernadette, that was very interesting. I have not had any health problems with the exception of a couple of sore hocks, none of the adults have had any problems. I don't know for sure if they have problems breathing but it is a possibility since the sit with nose slightly tilted upward before death. I'm thinking something in the feed makes sense, we didn't butcher any that died but many from the same litters & pens and they were fine inside. I know we have had some problems with some surface mold on our hay this year, just dusty spots that we can't identify maybe from the high humidity after it was put in the barn, if that is the culprit it may be in the pellets too, the fryers have had some hay also but not that. The pellets are a local mill mix so it's possible his ingredients could contain the toxins too. I guess I'll start with the grain test and open up the one that was dead tonight in the morning. Thanks for all the responses.
     
  13. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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  14. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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  15. annie716

    annie716 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the links Rabbitgal, I talked to our bunny runner last night & he knew about the Canada problem & suggested I use the terrimycin 1/2 tsp. per gal in the water, he's had some problems too and thinks it is the feed. He's switched brands several times as the batches are inconsistent. He said he finally went back to Tractor Supply Manna Pro brand as this seem to always be the same. I started with that but it's soooo expensive, I think though that the first 2 I lost were on that feed. I have a litter I just weaned a couple of wks ago with no problems so far so I'll try the terr on them & see what happens. Thanks for everyone's help, I'll keep ya posted.
     
  16. Elinore

    Elinore Member

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    HI everyone. I was reminded recently of this group, (thank you MaggieJ) and new to the Rabbit forum, and have been reading through the posts all day, and found this thread quite interesting. I hope i did this correct.

    I had lost more than 1/2 my stock back in February rather abruptly. There were no indications that anything was wrong, one day the rabbits were eating and fine, next day dead. I banged my head on the wall trying to figure it out, and all i could come up with was a feed change. My local feed store was out of rabbit food, so we ended up getting purina rabbit chow from another source. That is what i blamed it on, and my DH thought i was insane. Then i come across an article that led me to this link....


    http://www.ocrga.ca/

    :shrug: Elinore
     
  17. Prbob53

    Prbob53 prbob53

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    I had something similar happen to 6 fryers approx. 7wks old, and one new doe 8months oldl Fine one day, and dead the next. The doe was grinding her teeth a couple of hours before she died. Her intestines were full of air and watery stuff. According to all i could find on the internet, it looked like muccoid enteritis. Stress from moving, change in feed and strangers in the rabbitry could cause this. My wife said the night before she heard dogs barking around my cages. That is what i think caused my problems.. Stress can cause lots of problems with rabbits. Good Luck, Phil