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Discussion Starter #1
I have had several rabbits die lately. They were in different cages. I had a very large New Zealand/Californian. She was very healthy. I did a necropsy in her. She had watery fluid in her diaphragm. Another one had lost a lot of fur on her back, same breed, and ears. It looked like maybe she had mites. She lost use of her back legs. The other just stopped moving and died, same breed but smaller rabbit. I usually have very healthy rabbits. I don't want to lose anymore. I have quite a few rabbits in different cages. They live in a building and had automatic heated water system. They are on pellets, hay and occasional fruit or veggies in small amounts.
 

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Were you feeding a Purina brand rabbit food? They had a recall recently
https://www.delish.com/food-news/a31226384/purina-animal-food-recall-february-2020/
http://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/purina-animal-nutrition-voluntarily-recalling-select-lot-codes-purinarrabbit-feed-purinar-turkey

How old are the rabbits?
You say heated water system, their drinking water is heated? Did you check the water system to make sure there were no failures? Were they eating and drinking normally? Did their poop look normal?
 

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You say heated water system, their drinking water is heated?
The OP is in Alaska.
They make heat tape to use in automatic watering systems to prevent freezing.

I have had several rabbits die lately.
Unless they have had close contact with some wild animals, it's highly unlikely they have Rabies.

You can freeze a carcass or just the severed head and send it to a Veterinary lab for testing.

Rabies virus won't survive long outside a warm body, and requires direct contact with bodily fluids like tears and saliva through bites or cuts.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Bearfootfarm is correct on the water system. It's set up to keep water from freezing. The one that lost use of legs and hair loss ate and drank really well. The day before both of the others died they stopped drinking and eating. None of them were close to each other.
 

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The only thing I can think of offhand is Tularemia.
It doesn't require close contact and lots of animals can be carriers.
You might want to consider contacting your local Vet or your state's Vet lab and asking their advice.
https://dec.alaska.gov/eh/vet/
Dr. Robert Gerlach
State Veterinarian
907-375-8215
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How could they have gotten Tularemia? They haven't been in contact with outside animals. They have been in the same living conditions, which are good, for awhile. Any help is appreciated.
 

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How could they have gotten Tularemia? They haven't been in contact with outside animals.
It can be airborne, and some insects can be carriers.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tularemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20378635
  • Insect bites. Although a number of insects carry tularemia, ticks and deer flies are most likely to transmit the disease to humans. Tick bites cause a large percentage of cases of ulceroglandular tularemia.
  • Exposure to sick or dead animals. Ulceroglandular tularemia can also result from handling or being bitten by an infected animal, most often a rabbit or hare. Bacteria enter the skin through small cuts and abrasions or a bite, and an ulcer forms at the wound site. The ocular form of tularemia can occur when you rub your eyes after touching an infected animal.
  • Airborne bacteria. Bacteria in the soil can become airborne during gardening, construction or other activities that disturb the earth. Inhaling the bacteria can lead to pneumonic tularemia. Laboratory workers who work with tularemia also are at risk of airborne infection.
  • Contaminated food or water. Although uncommon, it's possible to get tularemia from eating undercooked meat of an infected animal or drinking contaminated water. The signs include vomiting, diarrhea and other digestive problems
 
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