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Two of my new does are experiencing whitish discharge from their noses, so I suspect Pasteurella. I got them free from someone on craigslist and their living conditions were deplorable. The wire floor of their hutch was functioning as a solid floor because it was so heavily matted with fur and feces. They're currently in quarantine. I know a lot of people just recommend culling, but is treatment an option? My husband would rather treat, if we can. Some preliminary research points to Baytril as treatment, but it looks like we need an Rx for it (and I'm not taking a meat rabbit to the vet). Are there any other options?
 

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There is no way to successfully treat Pasteurella, and trust me it's not for lack of people trying. Most people that even try are those who own them as pets and you may get some remission for a while until the next relapse and/or MASSIVE bodily abscesses. If they are JUST pets, then this is not irresponsible because you're not raising litters on them (high stress, thus more relapse) and you're not selling or producing more diseased stock to infect others. The risk of transmission to other rabbits is extremely high if you cease treatment, and the problem is that rabbits, being hind gut fermentors, should NOT be on permanent antibiotics (well, IMO, no animal should either because this leads to bacterial resistance selection and decrease in natural biomes on/in animals).

I wouldn't try to 'save' them even with extremely valuable show stock - it's nice that you rescued them and relieved them from their horrible home, but if you're raising these animals, you're not doing anyone - including the rabbits - a favor by trying to treat them.
 
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I completely side with mygoat here. The eradication of snuffles carriers in the rabbit world is an ongoing uphill battle. Now and forever, if you keep those rabbits you risk infecting someone else's stock. It's not worth it. They are prey. Eat them or use them as dog food.
 

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I would cull also. When I first started breeding rabbits, my purebred buck got pasteurella so I took him to the vet (waste of money). He said that antibiotics would help with symptoms but the buck would probably be a carrier even if he got better. I gave him away as a pet, and the new owner did treat him with antibiotics- he got better but then died 6 months later. If it happens again I will cull immediately.
 

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Are carriers safe to eat?

What should I do with 3 week old kits if the mother is coughing? Do discharge yet. No other doe available.
 

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Are carriers safe to eat?

What should I do with 3 week old kits if the mother is coughing? Do discharge yet. No other doe available.
The kits most likely have it or carry it...raise them to eating size if you can... then put them in the freezer....Practice STRICT quarantine protocol.
 

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I wouldn't bother with antibiotics. Time and time again people spend a ton treating and it just comes back when least expected. There is now a vaccine for rabbits >6 weeks of age called BunnyVac. I have always culled for snuffles in the past (to the decimation of my herd at one point), but from what I am seeing, other rabbitries are finding the shot effective, even in some cases for infected stock. It would be more than worth the $1 per rabbit per year for the peace of mind I would get personally and sounds like it may be worth a try if the only other option is loss of livestock.
 

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It is quite common to have respiratory symptoms from a dirty cage that have nothing to do with pastuerella. I would give them about a week to recover. Although I've found usually just within 48hrs most of it will clear up. If it doesn't go away on it's own quickly or they get worse then I cull. Netherlands seem to be far more sensitive to dirty cages and respiratory irritation then the larger commercial breeds I had.
 

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I wouldn't bother with antibiotics. Time and time again people spend a ton treating and it just comes back when least expected. There is now a vaccine for rabbits >6 weeks of age called BunnyVac. I have always culled for snuffles in the past (to the decimation of my herd at one point), but from what I am seeing, other rabbitries are finding the shot effective, even in some cases for infected stock. It would be more than worth the $1 per rabbit per year for the peace of mind I would get personally and sounds like it may be worth a try if the only other option is loss of livestock.
Thanks for pointing out the vaccine...would not have known about it otherwise. I will be investing in it I believe.
 

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Be very careful with the vaccine. I have mixed opinions about it leaning towards the negative. Number one, I dont think there has been enough testing. Second, I personally know people who are giving it to known snuffles rabbits in an effort to permanently surpress the disease. This is very very wrong.

I think in the long run, this vaccine only will serve to weaken the nationwide 'herd immunity'. Prior to this vaccine, if a rabbit had snuffles, you bonk it. Done. Now people are keeping them. That only serves to keep weaker immuned system animals in the gene pool. Not a good thing.

I bought a doe last year from someone not knowing it had been vaccinated. On the back of the pedigree when I got it was written the date of vaccination. About 2 months after I got her she suddenly had snuffles. I have no idea why or where it came from as I had no other sick animals in my barn. That proves to me the ineffectivness of it. So I wonder..did this does parents have it and were vaccinated to supress symptoms?

Nope, I wont purchase rabbits from a vaccinated herd. Not now, not ever. :soap:
 

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O.K.--just to educate a little but I will not get into some big debate...unless you have a SPF herd ( specific pathogen free )--meaning TESTED free, don't go to shows, never bring new rabbits in, or buy breeding stock, your rabbits most likely have P. multocida. colonized in their sinuses already....
It is when the rabbit gets ill or stressed that it turns into full blown "snuffles"--and I hate that term as "snuffles" can be caused by a myriad of things including dust in your barn. Chickens, pigs, birds, and humans can carry it in, and be infected... Yes, a rabbit sneezing and snotting near yours or within 3 feet of yours blowing snot can infect your rabbit....and yes you should cull or at least quarantine permanently all those that show symptoms...there is a ton of scientific information available on the internet. We thankfully have had no problems with "snuffles" although we have had 2 cases of pneumonia which cleared within 2 days..no snot, no sneezing. Which we believe was caused by sweeping the barn daily and kicking up all the dust off the concrete--now everything is shop vac'ed up..even the floors, and also the cages as needed to get loose hair off and dust.--we are that careful.. this can also be caused from poor sanitation and poor ventilation. We personally Vanodyne and bleach everything--even carriers after each use, food and water dishes at least every week (with daily rinsing). Trays are stripped every 3 days, washed and dried and then refilled with a small amount of shavings...hanging cages are cleaned underneath every 3 days, and we use barn lime before adding new shavings.
We too have thought about vaccinating--the reason why we didnt even start is due to the fact that once you start vaccinating your herd you can never quit--they continue to need the vaccination on a yearly basis..
We have lived in terror and dread of getting this in our barn due to showing heavily...due to a recent seminar, asking a lot of questions from this Dr. in animal science, and doing a TON of research...we are much more relieved to know that it is controllable to a certain extent (culling) if we ever have a rabbit with full blown symptoms. I truly lived in fear of it wiping out my precious herd...now not nearly so much. I'm sure at least some of our rabbits have been exposed due to extensive showing. Here are some great articles
and there are many more available--look for scientific articles.

https://www.arba.net/district/8/articleofthemonth.html

http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/exo...acterial_and_mycotic_diseases_of_rabbits.html
 

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I know there is usually a lot of emotion when this topic starts to get going, but I think we are in an era where we can make educated decisions that may not only benefit our herd, but may benefit other rabbit breeders. Please bear with my long post, but I think a lot of rabbit breeders believe (and I thought this myself for many years) that a strong immune system prevents or can fight off snuffles. Operating under this assumption, I think the unfortunate reality is that we are breeding generation after generation of carriers. When a snotty rabbit appears- we as breeders most often don't culture it. We kill it and when there is no more snot, we think the problem is resolved. The evidence for this not being the case is that after more than 30 years of cull the sick mentality, rabbit breeders are still dealing with snot and upper respiratory symptoms regularly. There are threads upon threads about it in rabbit forums as we all know.

P. multocidais just a gram-negative bacteria, like typhoid fever. You don't have to have a weakened immune system to get an infection. It doesn't help, but bacteria are opportunistic and if they happen to get into your sinus cavity, then you can get a sinus infection even if you were otherwise strong and healthy. How many of us have had to take antibiotics because we had an infection? I know I have. The thing is that breeders (myself included again) tend to rationalize why a rabbit was having respiratory symptoms such as dust, pollen, a weather change, etc. It seems certain, though, that many if not most rabbits are colonized with this bacteria. That is why a random rabbitry may suddenly have a problem with snuffles where one didn't exist before when no new rabbits were brought in and no shows were attended. All that happened is that colonized rabbit(s) experienced stress of some sort (keeping in mind they already have the infection) and became symptomatic (such as thick nasal discharge). Typhoid fever is a good example in humans for why culling those with symptoms just doesn't work. Typhoid Mary is a pretty famous lady- she was a carrier with no symptoms that is believed to have infected 53 people until she was isolated from the public. Fortunately for all of us, a vaccine was developed. Of course there have been refinements since, but the typhoid fever vaccine is still in use today in the United States for those going to countries where typhoid fever is still a problem.

Do I think there could be more clinical trials for the vaccine? Yes. However, the data from the study that was collected did support the vaccine in a significant way, which is far superior than breeders stating they cull the sick and the problem is resolved without any actual science to back the claim. Over the past 8 months or so, several breeders have come forward stating they have had good results with the vaccine in their herd, including a breeder who had unvaccinated rabbits become ill after the county fair and her vaccinated stock remained unchanged and outwardly healthy.

As for a vaccinated rabbit developing snuffles- there are several bacterium that have been associated with this disease. The vaccine is for P. multocida and not all of the rest such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and Bordetella bronchiseptica to name a few that there is no protection for. In other words, just because a rabbit has BunnyVac does not mean it is protected from every form of upper respiratory infection just like how a dog can still get kennel cough even with the vaccine. I personally am going to try vaccinating my herd and any offspring produced- it is exceedingly inexpensive ($1-$2/rabbit) even by my standards and I want to support the research and development that contributes to scientific advances for rabbits.

As always, I encourage everyone to do their own homework. I don't have any affiliation with the vaccine developer. I have, however, dealt with snuffles in the past and have always culled the offender. I would love to see a day like we have with our other livestock when a shot can prevent the loss of our animals.
 

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HendricksHearth--What a wonderful and informative post!!!! I completely agree with all of your statements-although I am wary of even posting on this subject due to the arguing in the past. Your second paragraph is what most rabbit people don't understand...it is a bacterium and it can cause symptoms from several causes.
As far as the vaccine, I was ready to order it until I was verbally "attacked" by another breeder for even thinking of it...so the decision is tabled for now...
But to let others know also--symptoms of Pasturella can also be wry neck, skin patches of missing fur, and sores, not just nasal discharge. Thank you again for adding your thoughts to the thread.
 

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I have chosen to vaccinate my herd because the rabbits are regularly shown. However, this has not changed how I manage my herd. This summer, I purchased some new rabbits and vaccinated them before they entered my barn. One of the does was bred about a month later, and when her kits were 2 weeks old, she started sneezing and had a small amount of snot. She was dispatched a couple of weeks later, and all of her kits will be dispatched soon. Sneezing and snot results in dispatching, vaccinated or not. I like the vaccine because it gives me some control over how and when my crew is exposed, and appears to provide some protection when they are exposed again at shows. So far, it has been worth it to me.

The maker of the vaccine states it will not work in rabbits that have already been exposed, though it may lessen their symptoms. I believe the new rabbit was an asymptomatic carrier, and her symptoms appeared during the stress of nursing.
 

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HH please post, whenever it comes about what is happening in your herd. I am interested in your results.
I'd be happy to! I vaccinated everyone last week and so far no issues whatsoever- everyone is their usual silly selves. I will try to remember to update again after the herd gets their booster vaccine in December, too.
 
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