A friend of mine had trouble with faders, I didn't pay much attention to
it since lots of breeders of dwarf breeds have peanuts and faders. Her
rabbitry was always kept spotless and she didn't mess around when it
came to culling.
I hadn't had any real trouble with faders in my rabbitry, I had bred two
of her bucks to three of my does. Those kits were my first real trouble
with faders. All three does had litters for me in the past with no
problem and they had litters afterward with no problems. So after a bit
of research, I ruled out the likely hood of illness in favor of genetics
or weather condition. We'd had really fluctuating weather from really
hot to almost freezing within 24 hours, all summer long. I found even
though my rabbits are indoors the air pressure drop still throws them
I've had older faders in which Sulmet in the water or acid-pack 4-way
had worked well.
But these litters were very young. The first Kit started to have trouble at two
weeks and wasn't nursing very well so I fostered it. The others were
fine until they started eating hay at around 3 weeks.
I researched the web and found new research that suggested some faders
have inflamed intestines. The article said that for the first 10 days a
kits large intestine is sterile.
They treated the kits with a Probiotic (good gut bacteria) call
Lactobacillus was used to treat human yeast infections, diaper rash, and
Lactobacillus bacteria created an environment which may make it
unfavorable for bad bacteria to thrive in. Lactobacillus is a
bacteria that favors milk therefore it's not found in adult rabbits digestive
tract. Even when give to adult rabbits it still may help to favorably
alter the PH level back to normal and calm an irritated bowl.
So I tried the Lactobacillus treatment on these faders and found it did
make a very marked difference even after the first feeding. I'd given
them a mouthful of Lactobacillus in the morning and night (I gave a
third dose to the hopeless cases). Kits that refused to eat started to recover after one or two doses.
They made such a quick recovery that I made a big mistake when I stopped
giving them the Lactobacillus. They regressed back to their former
condition. I found that I had to continue to give the kits the doses of
Lactobacillus for a couple weeks until they out grew their digestive
I used a powdered freeze dried Lactobacillus made by Quintex. I bought
a bottle at an Ohio rabbit show for $6.00. I mixed it with a bit of
honey and warm water. I used a 1cc feeding syringe to give it to the
kits. They loved it. There is some controversy about some of the paste
probiotics not living up to their claimed amounts of good bacteria. The
Quintex powder came from the Labs that produce the good bacteria for
other companies and was likely a reliable good source of Lactobacillus.
The first kit die before I tried Lactobacillus, I was feeding the horse
probiotics with some success before switching to pure Lactobacillus and I
lost another one. The horse probiotics did contain Lactobacillus and
other Probiotics, but it wasn't until I started using the Lactobacillus
by Quintex that I felt that I was winning the fight.
When I stopped the treatment too soon, one kit faded too quickly to
recover a second time and I lost it. The research did suggest once a kit
looses a certain amount of body mass it was unlikely to recover. The
last three I continued to feed Lactobacillus for two weeks and they were
fine. I kept them until they where adults and they grew to normal 4
pound size and had no more digestive trouble. I still have one
left in my rabbitry and I plan on doing a test breeding to see if her
litter has any trouble.
Quintrex by Nutritional Research Assoc. inc.
South Whitley, indiana
Benebac and Pro-bac are mainly made of the probiotic Lactobacillus but I
really didn't want to feed the oily gel the Lactobacillus comes in.
I found one researcher that said Lactobacillus is not a helpful rabbit
bacteria because it's more a milk bacteria and questioned if any live
bacteria survive the stomach acid. However I found that article left
more questions unanswered than answered. It didn't go into how they
tested, when, how many products they tested, or what bacteria they did
find in a rabbit's digestive tract. It also only mentions the small
intestine and no mention of the Cecum which I found extremely strange.
Most Probiotics today claim to lower the PH levels and have methods to
allow enough live bacteria to live passed the stomach acid.
Some studies show that even though Lactobacillus is not present in adult
rabbits, this bacteria maybe extremely useful in soothing an inflamed intestine.
The altered PH level may help retard the growth of toxic (bad) bacteria
strains such as e-coli.
Favorable research has been done on kits that are "faders" who
are fed Lactobacillus.
I have to say I did find that advice extremely helpful.
If you do find
yourself with faders. You must choose which treatment to use.
One of the only restrictions of Probiotics is not to feed them while
you're treating an animal with sulfamethazine and trimethoprim potentiated
sulfa drugs (one brand name is Sulmet ). The
label on the sulfa drugs warns against this. It says probiotic therapy
can metabolize the medication.
You can start feeding probiotics the day after the last dose of
medication has been administered.
I could not find the article that originally helped me a year ago.
However I did find the article below with similar claims for those of
you who would like to read up on it yourselves.
I also included an article on Probiotics in this newsletter. It will
show different brands and at the end of the article I've provided links
to other articles on the web such as "
to Antibiotic Use for Growth Promotion
Below, Quote from Other article:
Unlike most mammals, baby rabbits have a
sterile lower intestine until they begin to eat solid food at the age of
3-4 weeks. It is during this time that their intestines are at their
most critical phase, and the babies need their mother's milk, which
changes pH and provides vital antibodies that help the baby gradually
adjust to his changing intestinal environment. Without mother's milk, a
baby starting to eat solid food is highly susceptible to enteritis
(inflammation of the intestinal lining), which can cause fatal diarrhea.
At the first sign of runny stool in a baby
rabbit, off to the vet! Treatment for diarrhea in baby rabbits will
probably include subcutaneous fluid thereapy, and administration of oral
probiotics. Lactobacillus acidophilus powder (NOT yogurt, which
can make the problem worse) suspended in clean drinking water and
carefully administered via syringe seems to help foster a healthy
intestinal environment and may even soothe intestinal inflammation. A
very small amount of a clay-based product such as Kaopectate can help
solidify the stool and stop the cycle.
The Mystery of Rabbit Poop
by Dana Krempels, Ph.D.