Mother rabbit milk also contains these same antibodies immunoglobulins that help protect baby during its first 12 days. Hand-raised bunnies are at a major disadvantage in not receiving them in that they are more susceptible to infections. Antibiotics are not a solution to this problem. Should I Add Lactobacillus Probiotics?
Healthy baby rabbits do not naturally have lactobacilli bacteria in their intestinal tract or stomach and it is unknown if any of these bacteria can actually survive the high acid content of the baby rabbit stomach. In the lab, these bacteria are known to protect rabbits from the toxic effects of certain bacteria and they seem to protect rodents under stress. They promote the formation of an acid lactic acid environment which might help prevent harmful bacteria from flourishing. Some bunny rehabbers feel that probiotics do help somewhat in preventing intestinal disorders.
But a greater number find that giving natural rabbit cecotrophes beginning when the baby is 3 days old works better. When given, a pea-size amount is sufficient. Whether or not you give the baby probiotics, giving cecotrophes will be esential to the bunny's survival. You may find that "yucky" but human physicians are just now learning how important intestinal bacteria are to good health.
These links will take you to two recent key articles on the subject link 1 , link 2.
Probiotics products are not a substitute for seeding the baby cottontail with its normal bacteria as quickly as you can. In rodents, it takes a minimum of 59 separate organism strains before the physiology of their digestive tract remains normal. A total of 55 different organisms of this type were found to naturally live in cottontails.
There is no end to the curious things people attempt to feed baby cottontails. The usual thing that does them in is feeding cows milk. Other than cows milk, things like honey apple sauce and sugary fruit additions are really not things baby bunnies are equipped to digest. Bunnies Lost Due To Overfeeding. This is one of the biggest problems in feeding baby bunnies. It is just hard for many of us to stop feeding a cute bunny.
My rule of thumb is stop feeding the moment the bunny does not accept its formula greedily or the moment its tummy becomes slightly rounded. Feeding week old baby rabbits too infrequently only times a day also encourages them to over-nurse. But it was milk bloat, not gaseous bloat. Mortality Due To Dysbiosis. People who raise orphan cottontail rabbits know all about this problem even if they do not use the word, dysbiosis.
They get in week old baby bunnies that look great.
The rabbits nurse well, grow well, and then suddenly drop dead. They may look fine in the morning, a bit apathetic at noon, and gone a few hours later with only a few terminal signs.
Occasionally they have diarrhea, but most do not. Others call it acute enterotoxemia or acute mucoid enteropathy, which is truer. Here is what is really happening - it is a long and complicated story:.
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When cottontail rabbits are born, there are no bacteria in their digestive systems. Dysbiosis is a fancy word for the wrong intestinal tract bacteria. If the right ones are not provided by you , the wrong ones will inevitably take over. Read more about dysbiosis here. Your hand raised baby bunnies do not have a source of these important protective organisms. In the wild, it would have receive them from its mother as she groomed them and as they would have been contaminated by or ingest her stools. You will have to bring these important organisms to the bunny yourself.
You are their momma now and its your job. If you aren't up to it, give the rabbit to someone who is. Cottontail and other rabbits produce two types of feces. First-pass feces called cecotrophes night soil or night stool and ordinary bead-like, rolly-poley rabbit droppings.
The critters you need are in their highest concentration in the cecotrophs. Since the role of each organism is unknown, you need to supply all the types that are present. I am sure a few types survive in ordinary rabbit droppings - but not all of them do and not in sufficient quantity.
Some of these organisms are fairly stable but others are very delicate. Many of these organisms are killed when exposed to air. Some survive up to 14 days at 40F in the fridge but even there some types last less than a day. At 95F, many types only survive hours.
Cecotrophes CTs, Transfaunation. We all know what regular rabbit poop looks like. But the kind you need is different. Rabbits produce this form mostly at night. It is dark, sticky and clumpy and it smells. Most people, who have successfully raised orphan cottontails, get this material from a healthy mature domestic rabbit.
You need a healthy, well-adjusted, domestic rabbit that has been eating a hay and rabbit pellet diet for a considerable period of time. Check with your local 4-H or FFA. As David Whitby, of Glassdoor, explained: 'It not necessarily about getting the right answer, more how you cope under pressure. Here, FEMAIL reveals the top 20 fiendishly tricky questions - and offers an expert opinion on the best possible answer for each Stumped: The 20 toughest interview questions candidates have been asked over the last year have been revealed.
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