Rabbits are some of the ideal pets to have because of how they tend to be easy to take care of compared to other types of domesticated animals. On top of that, rabbits are also generally good-natured and are quite docile animals that will not show any hint of aggression towards you as long as you are actually taking care of it in the best way possible.
However, what you should take into consideration here is that you should actually know how to properly take care of a rabbit and know some of the most common types of illnesses and conditions to understand how to prevent and cure them. One of such conditions is pyometra, which occurs in female rabbits. If you know what it is and how it works, it will be easier for you to take good care of your rabbit and keep it as healthy as possible.
What is pyometra?
Pyometra is something that you might not hear too often because of how it is not something that usually occurs in other types of animals. That is because this is an infection that almost exclusively occurs only in female rabbits. In some cases, it also occurs in smaller animals such as ferrets and even hamsters. However, it is really more common in female rabbits.
As mentioned, pyometra is exclusive only to females. That is because it is a condition or an infection that affects the rabbit’s uterus. It is commonly called a uterine infection, but its scientific term is pyometra. This is a very dangerous condition that can potentially become fatal if you are not able to treat it right away. That is why prevention and cure are necessary when it comes to uterine infection in your female rabbits.
There is a wide range of different causes that can potentially lead to pyometra. However, it is usually caused by organisms that can infect the female rabbit’s uterus. One of the more common organisms that can lead to this infection is Pasteurella multocida, which is bacteria that is usually the cause of different diseases in a lot of mammals and birds. It can even infect humans as a result of scratches and bites from different types of animals, such as pets like dogs and cats.
The bacteria that causes the uterine infection is usually transmitted sexually from male to female. A male has to be infected for the bacteria to be transmitted over to the female. However, there are also other types of transmissions, such as when an infected male’s nose happens to come into contact with the female’s reproductive organ during mating. In some cases, this transmission can even occur in the middle of childbirth.
There are also some cases when uterine infection happens outside of mating. The lining around the female rabbit’s uterus is called the endometrium. This lining can sometimes have fluid build-up caused by a wide variety of reasons such as age, cancer, or the growth of different bacteria. As such, all those reasons can eventually pile up to cause an infection in the female rabbit’s uterus.
There are plenty of different symptoms associated with pyometra in female rabbits. These may include the following:
- Poor appetite
- Aggression caused by its poor mood
- Blood in the urine
- Fluid build-up in the uterus or the bloating of the abdomen caused by an enlarged uterus
- Stillborn pregnancies
- General weakness
- Thick and yellow discharge from its reproductive organ
- Signs related to pregnancy even though the rabbit is not pregnant
If these symptoms are present in your female rabbit, it is high time for you to take it to the vet for it to receive immediate medical treatment. Most vets will tell you to go see an expert the moment you see blood in the rabbit’s urine. Of course, if it is accompanied by one or more of the associated symptoms, there really is a need for you to take it to a doctor instead of just simply waiting for the rabbit to get better at home.
Home-diagnosis should be avoided when your rabbit shows any signs of pyometra. Instead, taking it to the vet when symptoms of uterine infection show up is the best course of action for you because the vet is equipped with the proper knowledge, training, tools, and equipment necessary for proper diagnosis of your pet rabbit’s condition.
The vet will most probably first conduct a full physical examination of your pet rabbit before it goes to the more focused types of exams. Your vet will also look into other abnormalities before assessing the rabbit’s condition. Such abnormalities and past clinical conditions may include anemia. But the vet will be able to confirm the diagnosis when performing tests such as radiography. Check this video to see what a rabbit’s uterus looks like if it has pyometra or uterine infection.
There are no at-home remedies or treatments that can help cure pyometra in female rabbits. Instead, what you need to do is to leave the treatment up to the vet instead of taking it upon yourself to try to save money by treating it yourself. The most basic supportive care that you can do is to provide the female rabbit with prescribed antibiotics to try to minimize the infection.
Meanwhile, in the case of heavy hemorrhaging in your rabbit, you may want to find it suitable donors, for a blood transfusion. In case you are getting a blood transfusion from another rabbit that you own, you may need to change its diet a bit by feeding it more greens and by decreasing the fat and carbohydrate intake of such a rabbit. The infected rabbit may also need a more specialized diet that is similar to the one giving it a blood transfusion.
In the more extreme cases, there is a need for a surgical approach to remove the female’s rabbit ovaries. This method has shown a lot of success in treating uterine infection in rabbits as surgery is also effective in removing other disorders such as an ovarian abscess or bacterial growth in the uterus. After the surgery is a success, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to try to help your rabbit manage the pain and inflammation post-surgery.
Aside from antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs that should be administered on a long-term basis, there are also plenty of different ways for you to help your rabbit recover from its surgery. One such way is to give it an environment that is warm and dark so that it will be able to rest better. You should also observe the sutures and check whether there are any kinds of infection building up or if swelling is present. Nutrition should also be a top priority in your case as you need to encourage your rabbit to eat healthy foods and to drink as much water as possible.
Pyometra is indeed a serious and very expensive condition in female rabbits. It does not only lead to other conditions that can be fatal, but it may also bleed you dry because of all of the treatments and medications your rabbit needs to undergo and take for it to recover. As such, the moment you see any signs of uterine infection, you have to take it to the vet quickly for it to get treated and addressed early on without the need for it to undergo surgery.