How to treat a rabbit that has been given
a life-threatening antibiotic ?
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It happens that a wrong antibiotic is given by an (inexperienced) vet professional. This often results in lethargy and severe diarrhea. This is due to:
· the killing of the healthy intestinal bacterial flora,
· the presence of asymptomatic pathogen bacteria like Clostridium difficile and Escherichia coli.
Pathogen bacteria will start to grow and produce toxins, which damage the cecum, intestine and other organs, and may induce a circulatory collapse.
In the case that a rabbit has been given a dangerous antibiotic, measures must be taken ASAP, in order to avoid the onset of diarrhea or stop it, if already present.
The rabbit must be given:
· oral or SC electrolyte solution, to avoid dehydration and compensate for the massive loss of electrolytes, due to diarrhea.
· sulfa-based antibiotics or gentamycin, to stop the growth of pathogen bacteria. Gentamycin has been shown to prevent the appearance of enterotoxaemia in rabbits who have been accidentally administrated ampicillin or lincomycin. The used dosages were 10 mg/kg/day and 30 mg/kg/day, respectively.
· ion exchange resins, like cholestyramine, a human medication used in rabbits, when given the wrong antibiotic (see: Antibiotics dangerous for use in rabbits) or in case of over-dosage of digoxin, ibuprofen, phenobarbitone, phenylbutazone, etc. It will bind the toxins produced by the pathogenic bacteria.
· a high fiber diet.