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New Hope for Faders


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 off.

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. 
Lactobacillus was used to treat human yeast infections, diaper rash, and inflamed intestines.
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 troubles.

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.

Best Wishes
Carol O'Sullivan

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 "
"Alternatives to Antibiotic Use for Growth Promotion in Animal Husbandry"

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.






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