General information

Mastitis in rabbits

As mentioned above, the causative agent of mastitis is staphylococcus microbe, which affects the mammary glands of the rabbit immediately after caul. The infection in most cases falls through the wound of the mammary gland or through the nipple channels.

Most often mastitis is infected by females that produce too much milk, and the babies do not have time to fully empty the mammary glands. Please note that food can also cause excess milk production. For example, roots several times increase the level of lactation.

In general, there are several causes of mastitis.

The infection enters the wound, which appeared on the mammary glands as a result of a bite, scratch or just a careless movement of the female. In addition to staphylococcus, an equally dangerous tubercle bacillus or streptococcus can also enter the open wound.

If feeding calves occurs irregularly, then the ducts begin to block, which in turn leads to lactostasis. Remember that milk, which does not come out in time, starts to stagnate and leads to serious diseases.

Also the cause of mastitis can be endocrine disorders in the body of the rabbit. The female changes her behavior, her appetite significantly deteriorates, she becomes sluggish, sedentary, absolutely does not react to what is happening and is indifferent to her hungry kids.

The disease may manifest due to functional disorders in the mammary glands.

Hypothermia is also a common cause of female mastitis.

Video “Rabbit feeds little rabbits”

The video clip captures the process of feeding little rabbits to the rabbit.

Mastitis almost always has pronounced and characteristic symptoms only for it, which is a peculiar plus, since the disease can be immediately diagnosed and the animal treated.

So, the rabbit mastitis symptoms:

  • the mammary glands swell and redden
  • nipples are firm to the touch
  • female breathing becomes frequent, intermittent,
  • appetite disappears completely,
  • little rabbit is constantly thirsty,
  • unnatural behavior: excessive activity or, on the contrary, absolute passivity,
  • body temperature rises to 39.5 degrees
  • milk changes its appearance, white flakes are noticeable in it. The composition resembles yogurt. If you notice such a symptom, then your female definitely has catarrhal mastitis,
  • signs of purulent mastitis in the rabbit are yellowish discharge, sometimes with blood, from the nipples.

If any of the above symptoms are detected, you should immediately contact the veterinarian or help the rabbit on her own, otherwise she may die in a few hours.

Remember that treatment should begin immediately after the discovery of signs, then there is a chance that the female will recover.

First of all, immediately reduce the amount of liquid consumed by the animal, as it increases milk production. Give water in strictly limited. It will also be better if you exclude from the diet a variety of juicy root vegetables.

It is very good to treat mastitis in a rabbit with cold and then hot water compresses. Alcohol-based compresses also have a good effect. Nipples are recommended to lubricate with molten paraffin. Be sure to massage the mammary glands to prevent blockage of ducts. After these procedures, the female must be put in a warm place and well wrapped.

At the direction of the doctor in the nipples, you must enter a solution of antibiotics. And for 4-5 days, antibiotics also need to be injected intramuscularly. Pustular foci gently open and treat with a solution of potassium permanganate or any other disinfectant.

Remember that allowing offspring to a sick animal is strictly prohibited.


It is quite difficult and expensive to treat mastitis, so you need to try by all means to prevent it. Below are the basic rules of prevention.

The room in which the rabbits live should be well ventilated, but at the same time exclude drafts and dampness.

The rabbit who feeds should always have free access to hay and fresh green grass. Watch the temperature of the water you give to animals. It should not be too cold. Ideal for room temperature water.

The room must be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Ensure that there are no sharp objects in the cage that the rabbit could get hurt about. During the period when the female feeds her cubs, an additional layer of litter should be spread.

If the disease is detected at an early stage, then in order to prevent nipples, it is necessary to wipe it with iodine tincture, and give the kids some streptocide. Lubricate the mammary glands also recommended propolis, which is made from bee glue and vegetable oil.

Remember that if your knowledge of the treatment of the disease is minimal, then you should deliver the sick animal to a professional as soon as possible. Only in this case you can save the little rabbit and she will continue to delight you with productivity.

Causes and symptoms of mastitis in rabbits

Most often, infectious mastitis is affected by rabbits, who give birth to rabbits for the first time, who have not yet had lactation. In this case, the rabbit may suffer from a large amount of milk and not let the rabbits to themselves, which only worsens the situation. There is also a very high risk of developing mastitis in cases of death of rabbits, or when there are very few rabbits. This leads to lactostasis in rabbit - blockage of one or more ducts and excessive gland overflow with milk.

The causes of mastitis can be hypothermia and rabbit burns, as well as the presence in the body of the rabbit endocrine or any other pathologies. The first signs of mastitis in a nursing rabbit are its extreme lethargy, passivity, refusal to eat, drowsiness, or vice versa - lack of sleep for a long time.

The affected gland becomes red, very hot and firm to the touch. Touching the gland causes extreme pain in the animal. After some time, the animal's temperature rises, breathing becomes very frequent and difficult, and if a quick medical intervention is not performed in this situation, the bunny may die in a very short time.

Direct external signs

A little running ahead, I will note a very significant thing. If success is almost guaranteed at an early stage, then even veterinarians are not taken to treat mastitis when the inflammatory process is neglected. This I hint at the importance of early detection. Knowing that rabbits get into the risk zone in the first days and even hours after giving birth (changes in the mammary glands, reduced immunity, mechanical contact), it is necessary to conduct a thorough examination of the nipples and surrounding areas. Initially, the changes may be quite insignificant and, at the surface, imperceptible. You can see only a slight redness and unnatural swelling in the area of ​​their location.

Additional or indirect signs

Sometimes after the next round, the cubs crawl all over the cage or the nest box, look for a boob, squeak, suck each other. Mother not only does not try to return them to the nest, but rather behaves quite aggressively. Can chew and trample baby rabbits. Often jumps in the cage, not allowing it to cling to the milk. About feeding, and even can not speak. And all this is due to mastitis, which causes pain in the nipples, the general poor condition of the mother, often against the background of severe stress. So, finding a similar picture, first of all, check the female for mastitis. Lack of appetite, decreased activity, frequent sleep or, on the contrary, increased anxiety and insomnia can be another bell. After all, this is usually not observed in a female who has given birth; on the contrary, she eats strenuously, something all the time cleans, licks, additionally settles the nest. Increasing pain, severe discomfort, depression on the background of stress make themselves felt. Heavy, frequent breathing, even in the absence of heat, frequent drinking, disheveled coat, and sometimes diarrhea - these are also the accompanying signs that are possible with mastitis.

Treatment of mastitis in rabbits

When detecting the first signs of mastitis in rabbits, it is necessary to lubricate the affected areas with warming ointments - ichthyol or camphor, repeating the procedure 2-3 times a day. When abscesses appear, they should be cut and the affected areas washed with a solution of potassium permanganate. To stop infection, it is necessary for 2-3 days to carry out injections of penicillin with a dosage of 200-250 thousand units 2 times a day.

In case of manure mastic, the wound should be treated with a mixture of 1 part birch tar and 9 parts of cow fat, and Vishnevsky ointment should be applied to the edges of the wound. With strong mastitis, rabbits from the mother should be transplanted, transferring them to artificial feeding. During the illness, it is necessary to pay special attention to the hygiene of the animal, and the cage where the sick rabbit is kept must be treated with disinfectants.

And the best help for the rabbit when it finds mastitis will be prompt access to an experienced veterinarian, and strict adherence to the instructions given to them for the treatment of the animal.

Treatment of purulent mastitis in rabbits

If the rabbit mastitis is running, an abscess has formed on the mammary gland, it requires an autopsy. This procedure must be performed by a veterinarian. He will treat the skin with an antiseptic, inject an antibiotic, make a small incision with a scalpel so that the pus comes out. Next, the wound is thoroughly washed with a solution of potassium permanganate and powdered with streptocide powder. Then a sterile bandage is applied to it.

After the operation, the rabbit needs special care. Periodically, you need to change the bandage and handle the dissection site with green or streptocide. In parallel with this, antibiotic treatment is being carried out. Welcome the introduction of vitamin supplements in the diet of the animal to increase the body's resistance.

Treatment and Prevention

When the first symptoms of mastitis are found in the rabbit, it is necessary to lubricate the affected areas with warming ointments - ichthyol or camphor, repeating the procedure 2-3 times a day. If there are ulcers, they are cut and washed with rasterized potassium permanganate or rivanol. To stop the infection within 2 to 3 days, penicillin injections should be carried out at a dosage of 200-250 thousand units 2 times a day.

For purulent mastitis, treat the wound with a mixture of 1 part birch tar and 9 parts of fish oil, and apply Vishnevsky ointment to the edges of the wound. With strong mastitis, baby rabbits from the mother should be transplanted, transferring them to artificial feeding. During the illness, it is necessary to especially carefully monitor the hygiene of the animal, and its cage should be treated with disinfectants.

However, the best help the sick rabbit will be your timely appeal to a qualified veterinarian and strict adherence to the prescribed appointments.

For the prevention of mastitis in rabbits, it is necessary to maintain a nursing female with the highest possible purity, give hay and fresh greens, and drink extremely warm water. It is necessary to avoid dampness and drafts when keeping an animal, as well as to preserve its rest, without making sudden movements near the animal and protecting it from loud noises.

During lactation, an additional layer of dry and clean bedding should be put in the cage, as well as to ensure that there are no objects nearby that the animal may accidentally scratch.

Causes of mastitis

Mastitis manifests itself as an inflammation of the mammary glands of the rabbit and is of two types: infectious and non-infectious. In the first case, the disease arises due to excessive reproduction of pathogenic bacteria (staphylococcus, mycobacterium tuberculosis, streptococcus), which enter the mammary glands through wounds on the nipples of the female. Therefore, a common cause of the disease is non-compliance with the rules of hygiene in the cage in which the female with the young lives.

The second form of mastitis occurs due to failures in the animal's body: overheating, hypothermia, hereditary disorders in the mammary glands, chemical burns or hormonal disruptions. A frequent cause of the disease is milk stagnation (lactostasis), which occurs when the young rabbits are weaned early from the mother, some progeny are killed, and excessive milk production occurs.

Symptoms of the disease

Rabbit mastitis is manifested in the following symptoms:

  • refusal to feed the young - the female does not admit them to her nipples, runs away from the babies, clogs herself in a corner, sometimes behaves aggressively, trying to trample the rabbits,
  • increase in body temperature (up to 38−40 o C), which is accompanied by thirst, lethargy, loss of appetite,
  • shortness of breath,
  • upon examination of the female, the inflamed nipples of the unnaturally red are detected, and in the later stages - brown,
  • the nipples are several times larger in size, they feel hard and hot to the touch, while the bunny reacts aggressively to any touches to him,
  • the process of lactation stops: instead of milk, the rabbit first releases a yellow liquid, then blood and pus, and during catarrhal mastitis - kefir-like secretions.

Antibiotics have a strong effect on the body, therefore, they are used for no more than 5 days, and rabbits are allowed to go to the mother only 3 days after the last injection.

Mastitis prevention measures in rabbits

Diseases can be avoided if:

  • keep the cage clean after childbirth: change litter daily, disinfect rods, floor and bowls,
  • remove all sharp objects from the aviary,
  • in the cold season to warm the cage: add another layer of litter, move the aviary deep into the room,
  • even if the disease has not yet manifested itself, it is helpful to lubricate the mammary glands with propolis or pihtoin, or better - with synthomycin ointment,
  • use mastitis vaccine,
  • baby rabbits, weaned from mothers who had purulent mastitis, should be transferred to artificial feeding, otherwise they will infect a new wet-nurse.

If the animal is still dead, its meat is edible only in boiled form and only for dogs or other predatory animals.

Rabbits often suffer from mastitis. The disease requires serious measures, so it is much easier to monitor the hygiene of animals and cleanliness in the cage, in order to avoid deaths. Contacting a veterinarian is the best solution in this case.

Symptoms of mastitis

Rabbit mastitis

The warning signs that indicate that rabbits develop mastitis include:

  • Redness and swelling of the mammary glands,
  • Hardening nipples. To the touch they are very dense, hot and far from the norm in size,
  • Heavy, intermittent, rapid breathing,
  • Lack of appetite,
  • Constant thirst
  • Passivity, or, conversely, extreme activity,
  • Increase in body temperature to 39.5 C.
  • Milk is watery, flakes are found in it. Outwardly, it resembles the usual yogurt. In this case, we are talking about catarrhal mastitis.
  • A small amount of yellowish liquid, sometimes with an admixture of blood, instead of normal milk, suggests that purulent mastitis develops in the female.

If you do not take urgent measures to rescue the female, the animal may die within hours.


An accurate diagnosis can be made on the basis of the above symptoms of the disease, as well as as a result of milk sampling. The appearance of the fluid and a more detailed study, in which pathogens of infectious diseases can be found in milk, make it possible to determine mastitis in a rabbit with a high degree of probability.

Fluid intake should be sharply limited, as it promotes the formation of milk. At the time of treatment of purulent and catarrhal mastitis in rabbits, it is necessary to exclude succulent roots, water should be given at a certain time and in moderate quantities.

It is necessary to do cold, and then more and more hot water compresses. Alcohol based lotions will also have a positive effect. Nipples can be lubricated with paraffin, which is pre-melted. Careful finger movements are breast massage in order to release the milk ducts from blockages. After these procedures, the female should be warmly wrapped.

During treatment, do not let the baby rabbits to the sick female!

Into the nipple openings, strictly at the time indicated by the veterinarian, solutions are introduced that contain antibiotics. 2 times a day, antibiotics are also administered intramuscularly - for 3-5 days.

Detected pustular lesions should be carefully opened and treated with a liquid disinfectant: a solution of potassium permanganate, etc.