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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Eagle Creek, Oregon
    Posts
    289

    Default My dog killed a sick(?) rabbit

    A few months ago a rabbit showed up in my yard. It was a nice looking silver, medium sized, domesticated rabbit with no street smarts at all. I figured that coyotes or even just winter would kill it but until yesterday it seemed pretty healthy. Yesterday morning I saw the rabbit out on my gravel driveway. It would take a few normal hops then fall over and thrash around as if having a seizure. It did this several times with never more than just a few normal hops before collapsing. I was able to walk up to within a few feet of the rabbit and did not see any sign of injury. I am not aware of any other domesticated rabbits in my immediate neighborhood but the area is crawling with little tiny brush bunnies.
    Late last night I had to get something from my car. I didn't give the rabbit any thought and brought my little terrier outside with me. Well, you can guess what happened. The rabbit was out on the lawn and the dog chased it. The rabbit was able to get under a tool shed but unfortunately so was the dog. I heard a few squeals then silence. I called the dog but got no response and then a couple minutes later I heard a few more (weaker) squeals. I called the dog for about twenty minutes and got no response at all so I went back into the house and waited. About an hour later the dog showed up on the front porch. Not responding to me and being gone for more than an hour is not typical behaviour for this dog, it ONLY happens when he has game cornered. Due to the dog's behaviour I believe that he killed the rabbit but I am worried that he may also have consumed some of it. I can't locate the rabbit carcass and even if I could see it under the shed it would be impossible to retrieve.
    Now my questions: Are there any diseases that would cause a rabbit to suddenly collapse and thrash around? Are there any diseases that could be passed from a sick rabbit to my dog? Are there any diseases that the native cottontails could pass to a feral domestic rabbit?

    Thanks
    George

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,723

    Default Re: My dog killed a sick(?) rabbit

    George,

    That's a lot of questions. Rabies comes to mind, not too many mammals are immune, but if your dog is up to date on his vaccinations I think he would be ok. Worms and other parasites are passed up the food chain, your feed store has worming medicine, and I'd worm him in a week or so just to be safe.

    On diseases specific to rabbits I'm not much help. I've kept them, but they didn't get sick or have seizures. One died of kidney failure (he was 8 or 9 years old) and the other of fright - not a mark on him but he got out of his cage one night and I'm sure one of my dogs ran up to him. He was very skitzy.

    I am not sure whether rabbits can get epilepsy but that sounds like what the described symptoms are. I doubt it would be transmissible if the dog ate the rabbit. Any sick wild rabbits around here wouldn't last long with coyotes and hawks about.

    And then again, animals get old, if they don't get eaten. I have geriatric fish. They get tumors. They get heart disease if they get overweight. And these are fish. They also get ugly when they are really really old.

    Gypsi
    Time to be a gypsy again, 2014 will be my prep year, my bees want a better area with actual rainfall.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Hood Co. Texas, USA
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: My dog killed a sick(?) rabbit

    I would think your rabbit had distemper. You might have your dog checked for it. I had a dog that survived with treatment, but it can leave permanent damage.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Eagle Creek, Oregon
    Posts
    289

    Default Re: My dog killed a sick(?) rabbit

    Thanks for the answers. The vet said to keep an eye on the dog but most likely the rabbit had eaten some poisonous plant and the dog will be fine.

    George

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