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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Adding new rabbits to home – afraid of making existing rabbits ill

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    • Bramble&Bluebell
      4 posts Send Private Message

      Hello BB community!
      Firstly just wanted to say a big thank you for all the wonderful advice and reassurance that can be found on this site – even though this is only my second post in a year and a half, I’ve still learned so much by reading through these forums and looking at past questions from other members.

      Apologies in advance for the length of the post!
      So, my question/concern at the moment relates to the two new bunnies which we’ve recently welcomed home – my partner loves my dear rabbits Bramble and Bluebell so much that he decided he would like to own two little ones himself (although of course as we live together, we share all the care duties and bunny cuddles between ourselves anyway). The new bunnies are two 10 week old mini lop boys (I think they’re called Holland lops in the US? We’re UK based). Ideally, we’d like them to live as a quad with Bramble and Bluebell eventually, once they’re fixed (B&B are already spayed), but we have done lots of research and understand that this can be a long process, and have the space to house them separately if the quad bond doesn’t ‘gel’.

      Before we picked them up, the lady told us that there had been suspected e cuniculi within the litter – one baby had passed away and a second had shown signs of head tilt (neither of the two we picked up though, apparently). She said all had been treated with 28 days of Panacur. Once we got them home (10th Nov), my vet recommended a second 28 day Panacur course, as he said we couldn’t be sure without having seen the doses, cleaning regime etc of the previous house. So far, we thankfully haven’t seen any obvious signs of EC (apart from a couple of small things, I’ll explain in just a moment), but I am feeling so worried about risking the health of my existing girls who are so precious to me (they have helped me through some of my saddest days), and so guilty for bringing these new bunnies into the house in case anything happens. I have actually been crying every day since over this as I’m so afraid now of making the girls ill – it’s so hard to know if I’m worrying over nothing or not. We have been strict about handwashing + hand sanitiser gel, new bunnies are housed upstairs in a separate room, separate equipment etc (including Virkon S solution to disinfect fleece blankets etc) but I’m still worried about passing something on! I know once the 28 days have passed, we should be able to relax the biosecurity, but I still have that fear of the bunnies retaining some of the EC spores or having some other illness which could affect B&B. Can anybody tell me whether they have ever been in a similar situation, and how things worked out? I know everyone’s experiences will differ slightly, just looking for any kind of hope of a good outcome, or honest answers about the risks too. Also, can anyone please tell me if there there any illnesses apart from EC which can reside long-term in the system which may pose a risk either to Bramble and Bluebell, or to the new rabbits themselves? In which case, is there any other preventative treatment I could be asking the vet about on top of the Panacur? I just want every bunny to be ok. The thought of having to house them separately for health reasons and keep up this level of biosecurity permanently is daunting.

      In terms of the slight symptoms we have noticed – one of the new boys seems to have irritated outer eyelids (rather than the eyeballs or third eyelids) – no discharge, and nothing like you see on poor bunnies with myxi etc, but enough to look uncomfortable for him. (Sorry can’t attach photo from my phone). I asked my vet about it, but he said just to monitor for the moment. Could this potentially be a sign of an active EC infection? Or something more innocuous/treatable. Also, the other little boy has had a little bit of a rumbly stomach/intermittent slightly loose caecotropes since coming home – again, had him checked by vet who said continue with the fibreplex which I started as soon as I noticed the issue. I’m really encouraging hay with them too and limiting pellets till it clears up. Could this also be a sign of EC, or coccidosis etc? Or maybe just stress from moving I guess. Sorry, I know it’s so hard to say without seeing the rabbits themselves, I’m just spiralling at the moment and looking for any kind of reassurance.

      I’m so sorry for such a long message, and again very grateful to anybody who’s read this far – very glad to have come across this supportive community!

    • Asriel and Bombur
      1071 posts Send Private Message

      Honestly, even if they do have an active EC infection it doesn’t mean they can’t be bonded to your girls. EC is actually dormant in a lot of bunnies and never becomes active. Some bunnies who have weak immune systems or are under stress will start showing signs of an active infection. So your girl could be carriers as well, but you’ll just never know unless it becomes active. It’s typically passed from the mom to the babies. So don’t really worry about making your girls ill with it.

      That being said, I have a boy, Bombur, with a chronic active EC infection. He does get irritated eye lids and he has poor eyesight as a result of the infection, along with frequent gas/stasis if not monitored and he does have kidney issues. Aside from these, you’d honestly never know he had an active infection. He runs around, binkies, flops, and is food obsessed like a healthy bunny.

      Your vet is doing the right thing by treating with Panacur from the start. This will help if there’s an active infection in either of them. Obviously keep the boys separate from each other because they aren’t fixed and hormones can make them aggressive, and then you’ll be ready to bond them with the 2 girls when they are fixed. Even if they have an active flare up when they’re older, it means nothing for them as a bond.

    • LittlePuffyTail
      18092 posts Send Private Message

      I had my Bindi for 11 years. He had EC. During his lifetime, I had quite a few rabbits. All un-bonded but living in the same bunny room. While I have no way to know if they were infected or not, I would suspect so after living so close and sharing the same “out-time” area. And never had any other bunny experience EC symptoms.

      I think you are stressing about it too much, for sure, but I’ve done the exact same so I understand. After rescuing Olivia from a bad situation, I was terrified that her eye infection was pasteurella or something and my boys were going to get sick. I actually quarantined her for several weeks at my Mother’s house and was even changing my clothes between visits. Bunnies make us crazy….lol. You are def taking all the right precautions.

      Keep a close eye on your new boys to make sure they are adjusting alright and try to R.E.L.A.X.

    • vanessa
      2212 posts Send Private Message

      I agree with the others. Relax. So many rabbits carry the parasite without becomming sick. Rather focus on providing a happy stress free environment for your bunnies. (I lost 2 bunnies to ec). I suspect my female who was bonded to both, is a carrier. But that is just my suspicion. I have no proof. But i let her bond with another pair of rabbits, so im hoping that they dont get ec. But… Worrying won’t do any good.

    • LBJ10
      14188 posts Send Private Message

      Chances are, your girls have already been exposed to EC at some point in their lives. It is so common that most rabbits “have it”. Even if your girls are negative, it is pretty well documented that an EC-positive bunny can live with an EC-negative rabbit and not pass it. This is because horizontal transmission can only occur during a small window immediately following the initial infection. This is when the bunny will shed spores in their urine. Once they stop shedding spores, it is difficult to pass from one bunny to another. The more common mode of transmission is vertical (mother to kit).

      If you want, you could have everyone tested for EC. The test is notorious for producing false negatives. But a positive result would provide solid evidence that they were exposed at some point (it doesn’t mean they are sick).

      Honestly though, I agree with the others. I think you’re over-thinking things. Another possible scenario is one of your girls will develop EC symptoms at some point in the future and it has absolutely nothing to do with the new bunnies. Instead, she was infected from birth and something stressful caused her immune system to dip, allowing the EC to show itself. You just never know. So I wouldn’t worry too much about bringing the new bunnies into your home. Especially if they are being treated with Panacur. You could even treat the girls as a precautionary measure if you want.

    • Bramble&Bluebell
      4 posts Send Private Message

      Sorry for a late response – thank you so much everybody for your replies and explanations of your own experiences, you’re all right, I definitely needed to take a step back and stop worrying! Feeling much less stressed about the whole thing now – very grateful for the support from the BB community!

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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Adding new rabbits to home – afraid of making existing rabbits ill