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Pregnancy Toxaemia & Ketosis in Rabbits

Nutritionally deprived anorexic, overweight, pseudo-pregnant or lactating rabbits that result in sudden death during pregnancy or a short time after kindle. Rabbits that have a history of toxaemia/ketosis are susceptible also.

Holland Lop Doe#2 Salsabrosa that died during first week of nursing her kits.

We had 2 Holland Lop doe’s die on our farm from Toxaemia/Ketosis. Doe#2 Salsabrosa is the most recent occurring just yesterday on our farm and I do all the feeding and raising of our rabbits. What I can say is that doe#2 Salsabrosa was not a good eater during her pregnancy and had access to pellets and hay throughout. The last week of her pregnancy I started her on a scoop of Manna Pro To stimulate milk production. The doe seemed only to be eating her hay and they normally love the supplement. This concerned me. After parturition and during the first week of lactating/nursing her kits i did not observe her eating improve. I kept hay available thinking she would at least have something she liked eating available. She still was not eating pellets or Manna Pro. I then noticed her behavior change as she sat right near her water bottle. She wasn‘t drinking and she was showing neurological signs of dehydration and unsteadiness. As I picked her up she felt bony showing she lost a lot of weight in just a few days. Her 5 kits were active showing they were hungry. I immediately fostered her kits out to another doe and got out my hydration fluid therapy supplies for hand feeding the doe.

After I fed the doe fluids I looked up Pregnancy Toxaemia/Ketosis on the web for information about treatment. I learned that fluid therapy intake could possibly turnabout an affected rabbit if intervention was early enough. Hospitalization is recommended. This is taking place on a Saturday after our vets office has closed. I administer an antibiotic of Sulfa. I had my Vitamin Electrolytes powder out and mixed it with water. I dug out my critical care. I opened a can of Goats milk and syringed a healthy serving as much as she would take using a small 1 ml syringe. Doe#2 Salsabrosa perked up but was not out of the woods. She had neurological signs with unsteady gait and waiting by her water bottle or parked with her nose up against the Aivituvin cage wall. Later she move up into dark shelter of the hutch and I could hear teeth grinding.

The following day she had loose poopy butt from goats milk so I washed, cleaned and patted her dry. I syringed her as much water/electrolytes as she would take. It was Sunday and we left for lunch and shopping errands in town. When we returned and she had passed.

Looking at this situation in retrospect I at first thought gastric stasis or possibly that she had retained a kit from parturition at kindle. We employ a deworming protocol on our farm and both the buck & doe were dewormed prior to breeding. Then it dawned on me that the first rabbit doe#1 Millie who we had die at the first week of nursing was more that likely a pregnancy toxaemia/ketosis as well. Looking through the pedigree of doe#2 Salsabrosa I find that doe#1 Millie is the grand dam.

Doe#1 Millie a Holland Lop who died of possible Toxaemia/ketosis.

When doe#1 Millie died it was sudden with no warning and at the first week of lactating/nursing her kits after parturition. We found her dead in her cage in the early morning. She is the grand-dam to our doe#2 Salsabrosa who died of pregnancy toxaemia/ketosis the first week of lactation and nursing her kits.

The age of doe#2 at the time of death was 7 months 13 days old and her first litter. The age of doe#1 at the time of death was 1yr 1month old and her first litter.

We currently do not plan to cull the bloodline due to the coincidence of Toxaemia in both the grand-dam and grand-daughter. I think we can improve the line by breeding to other bucks & does. We have a full brother to doe#2 Salsabrosa and his name is Mambo. We have 5 kits in doe#2 Salsabrosa’s current litter that have been fostered to another Holland Lop dam. I just can not justify destroying a bloodline when it can be bred out. In both doe#1 & doe#2 the kits survive. As long as you have a foster dam lactating/nursing that can raise the babies why cull?

The important thing here is knowing what you’re dealing with so you can monitor the pregnant doe with proper accommodations to nutrition, weight and supplements. Knowing it may be necessary to take the dam to a vet for fluid therapy will help save your doe. Making sure you have other possible lactating/nursing dams the same stage of kit development is of major importance so you can foster a litter to anther dam.

Mountain Brook Salsabrosa & Mountain Brook Natsume Holland Lop litter.

Thank you for following our blog and reading new posts. We hope everyone grows with us as we breed and raise Holland Lop rabbits.

Wade Boelter

Mountain Brook Farm and Rabbitry

Collinsville, Alabama

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