Rabbit Herd Health
I made up this outline to distribute at a presentation I gave on Rabbit Herd Health at the Michigan 4-H Livestock Camp.  This describes how we manage our rabbit herd here at Rose Arbor and is based on the most up to date information from my own research, veterinary resources and the experience of many other rabbit breeders. ~ Dori
1. Good Management/Prevention
A. Sanitation
1. Maintain clean cages.  Remove manure, hair accumulation, disinfect cages.  Vanodine or Nolvasan is preferable to bleach because of corrosion to metal.
2. Clean and disinfect nestboxes after use.  Inspect nestboxes in use daily.  Remove dead kits and replace soiled or wet bedding material from nest and replace with fresh straw.
B. Feed/Water
1. Fresh feed from reputable manufacturer.  Do not switch feeds.  Fresh water daily from clean containers-wash and disinfect with Vanodine or household bleach regularly.
C. Disease Identification, Isolation, Treatment/Culling, Disinfection
2. Diseases/Infections
A. Respiratory
1. Identify symptoms-sneezing, nasal discharge
2. Isolate affected rabbits (and new stock, if possible) 4 weeks 
3. Selective treatment-economic factor (pet or livestock?)
a. difficulty of isolating infective organisms, difficulty in curing Pasteurella
b. It is ill advised to treat animals with persistent nasal discharge, white or colored discharge or chest congestion/wheezing. Prognosis is poor and transmitting the disease to other rabbits is a high risk. Cull these animals!
4. Cull/sanitize cages
B. Digestive
1. Identify symptoms: diarrhea, no appetite, no feces
2. Increase fiber, remove pellets, feed hay
3. Seek veterinary assistance based on value of animal.
4. Supportive treatment: infant simethicone drops and abdominal massage to relieve gas and break up impactions, Propulsid may be useful to increase gut motility.
C. Abcesses
1. Identify abcess
2. Seek assistance to open and drain abcess, flush with hydrogen peroxide
3. Keep wound clean, administer antibiotic injections.
4. Monitor for recurrence/cull if recurs
D. Sore Hocks
1. Check animals frequently
2. Breed animals with well furred feet
3. Provide solid rests for susceptible animals
4. Antibiotic ointment for affected areas.
5. Sanitation-keep cage floors clean
E. Coccidia
1. Can cause enteritis in young animals, also causes poor condition and liver damage in older animals
1. Preventive treatment to herd at least twice annually
a. Corid (amprolium) in water-well accepted by rabbits
b. Albon or sulfaquinoxaline-sulfa drugs, taste may cause rabbits to decrease water intake
F. Vent Disease (Rabbit Syphilis)
1. Genitals (vent) and surrounding skin may become crusty, scabby or pimply.
2. Treatment with penicillin.  Use long acting penicillin (penicillin with benzathine) 1/10 to 1/4 cc per pound of rabbit.  Give subcutaneous injection, followed by another injection 3 days later.  Persistent cases may need injections for up to 3 weeks.
3. Treat all exposed animals (sire/dam/offspring)
4. Do not use animals for show or breeding until treatment is complete and symptoms are gone.
G. Wry Neck
1. Tilting of head can have multiple Causes (e. cuniculi, pasteurella multocida)
2. Early treatment may help, steroids, antibiotics, ivermectin
H. Eye Infections
1. Nest Box Eye
a. clean with warm damp wash cloth
b. apply opthalmic antibiotic ointment
2. Crusty Eyes in mature rabbits
a. multiple causes
b. can try antibiotic ointment, isolation, treat with ivermectin, if symptoms return, cull.
3. Parasites
A. Internal Parasites
1. Preventive treatment every 3-4 months
2. Products: Ivomec injectable for cattle, given orally .01 (1/100)  cc/pound, deworming spray-on recipe:
Commercially available mixture of Ivomec, propylene glycol and water mixed in a spray bottle: 2-4 squirts (2 for small breeds, 3-4 for larger breeds) misted on animal.  Ivermectin products take care of internal and external parasites.  Piperazine in drinking water--follow manufacturers' directions.  Piperazine will not kill mites.
B. Fur Mites/Ear Mites
1. Treat along with internal parasites by using ivermectin
2. Mite infestations can also be treated topically with flea powder or ear mite medication.
4. Injuries
A. Cuts/Scrapes
1. Clean with hydrogen peroxide or Vanodine
2. Apply antibiotic ointment
3. Seek veterinary assistance for severe wounds (punctures, deep cuts)
B. Broken Legs
1. Keep rabbit quiet in a carrier padded with hay or a towel.
2. Seek veterinary assistance in setting leg or euthanize animal.
C. Back Injuries
1. Keep rabbit quiet in a padded carrier
2. Seek veterinary assistance for pet animal or consider culling.
3. Rabbits have an amazing nervous system.  Some can recover from spinal paralysis as swelling goes down and in some cases nerves regenerate.  May take days, weeks or even months to recover.  Steroids may help reduce inflammation, limit damage.
D. Broken/Bleeding Toenails
1. Apply Kwik Stop or other styptic medication to bleeding nail, remove broken pieces, if still attached with clippers.  Cornstarch or flour can be used to help clot blood if no medicated product is available.
2. Prevent by keeping nails trimmed and avoid cutting too short (nicking vein in toenail.)
E. Broken teeth
1. Clip teeth as evenly as possible, monitor new growth for trimming.  Cull rabbits with genetic malocclusion.