Friday, May 1, 2015

Bad Tidings


Things aren't looking very bright for my Creme d'Argent breeding project.

Wednesday morning Babette kindled 6 beautiful kits (on the wire, of course). They were cold but very much alive, so I warmed them and placed them in the nest box. They were getting fed and looked great, so I thought all was well.


Yesterday morning however, I noticed her face and paws plastered with snot.

I panicked and set to work setting up a quarantine area. (Note: it's good to have a quarantine cage set up before you need it.)

The hubby was out of town, of course, so that made things especially difficult with a wayward toddler in tow. After a couple of hours I managed to get a cage and tarp set up on the opposite side of the yard and move her and her babies into it.


Interesting side note: she hadn't pulled very much fur for her initial nest, but temperatures have been pretty mild - day temps in the upper 60's and night temps in the upper 50's. Last night it dropped into the 40's, and this morning she had pulled more hair and piled it on her kits. Good little mama.

I'm not certain at this point whether or not it is truly Pasteurella, but the sheer volume of snot and the suddenness of its appearance tell my gut that it may be.

Either way, I will be keeping a close eye on everyone else in the rabbitry, especially since she was right next to Cardamom and her 7 kits.

So this is where we are: I'll allow Babette to raise her litter, and once they're weaned she will have to go into the crock pot. It breaks my heart. She is such a gorgeous little rabbit. But a gorgeous rabbit is useless if she is a sick one.

I haven't introduced any new stock since I acquired her last year, so if it is the big "P" she already had it and the stress of kindling brought it out of hiding.

Worst case scenario, I lose all my rabbits.

Best case scenario, none of her kits take ill and most of those kits are nice, healthy does that can carry on the breed.

I'm trying not to have expectations either way, so we will just have to wait and see.

It's very nerve-wracking, however; especially after dealing with Pasteurella once before. Ironically it was my original foundation doe that came down with it shortly after I acquired her.

It may just be that I am done with this line of rabbits. I can either take a healthy doe from Acer's last litter and back cross her to Cremes, or go about finding new stock.

The latter isn't really a viable option right now, as that would involve another long trip with a toddler. Besides, I really don't think it wise to go out and get new rabbits right now, at least not until after we are settled in to our new place.

For now I 'll just work with what I have, and hopefully the worst case scenario doesn't play out.

Fingers crossed.



8 comments:

  1. How frustrating! I hope you're able to keep some of the kits, though.

    It is a long shot, but keep an eye on Babette. It could have been hay dust or even pollen. If she shows no more symptoms, you may wish to keep her around (in quarantine) for a little while and see how things play out. Fingers crossed for the best.

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    1. Thanks. Hopefully it is just allergies, but it's so hard to know for sure. :(

      It would be AWESOME if all six were does! I doubt it of course, but it would be nice. :)

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  2. Hopefully things go well! However, if I were you.....LOL.....I'd just keep crossing your healthy NZR's back into your Creme buck until you are back to Creme fur and type.....unless you are looking to show and sell pedigreed Creme's. Of course that's from my perspective of just meat rabbits!

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    1. That is actually my back up plan. :) I was considering doing that anyway to see if I can improve the body type and litter size on my Cremes. In 3 generations they will technically be considered "pure" anyhow. :)

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  3. Oh gosh, I'm so sorry. Having gone through this and lost a LOT of my rabbits, I feel your pain. I am not trying to push anything and you have to do what is best for your herd, but I think the P vaccine is the only reason I still have rabbits after having lost so many before to this disease. If you can vaccinate the kits at 6 weeks, you might be able to protect them before their natural immunity wears off. Vaccinating the other adults quickly could also potential save them from infection if they were exposed when the doe started blowing snot. There is a FB group on it where the guy that developed the vaccine and other breeders answers everyone's questions if you are looking for more information. I'm sorry that you are having to go through this and I have my fingers crossed for you and your rabbits. *hug*

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    1. Thanks. :) I'm still trying to decide how I feel about the vaccine. I still think I prefer culling unhealthy rabbits and maintaining a closed herd, but I see how you can run into trouble with just that protocol when you have such a limited gene pool. I just worry about inducing vaccine resistant strains of Pasteurella after several generations, like how the flu virus mutates every year. It's a tough issue and there are no easy answers. Thanks for your input. :)

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    2. I agree that culling unhealthy rabbits is still necessary and important, but vaccines are different from antibiotics so you don't have to worry about vaccine resistant strains developing at least. All a vaccine does is teach the immune system how to recognize and respond to specific foreign invaders, so it makes the host no longer susceptible. If there aren't any more susceptible hosts, then the disease can't spread and dies out in the livestock group. When something like the flu vaccine is ineffective, it is usually because the person was infected with a strain that the vaccine didn't protect against (and there are tons of strains and viruses are mutating constantly). Antibiotics are trying to actively kill bacteria and a lot of resistance that has developed in human diseases are because people start an antibiotic, feel better, and don't finish it (leaving the surviving bugs more genetically robust to resist antibiotics). As a healthcare provider, I am forever harping on people finishing their full course. They look at me like I am nuts, but it is scary how hard it is becoming to treat some resistant infections these days. Some of the ones I see every day at work are MRSA, CRE, C.diff, ESBL, VRE, multi-drug resistant pseudomonas, and more. It is also in the communities because we swab people's nose on admission and a lot of them come back positive straight away. Scary!

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    3. Thanks for the extra info. It's a lot to think about, that's for sure! :)

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