Now this is a blog for those of us that have rabbits.
If you are in New Zealand and you own rabbits you would know all about the rabbit calici virus , or atleast you may have heard about it.
If you are on facebook you would have also noticed that the Councils have now gotten permission to realise the stronger strain of the virus the K5 strain.
This is to assist the farmers in controlling their wild population and the wording the governing bodies use is the European Rabbit population.
Well what a lot of pet rabbit owners dont realise is that ALL our domestic rabbits are related to the European Rabbit so this release will affect all of the domestic rabbits as well.
There is some uncertainty about how effective the current vaccine is towards this new strain of virus but don’t let this change your mind on getting your rabbits vaccinated , If your rabbit stresses out about going to the vet and getting its vaccination the best thing for him or her is to give her a small dose of Rescue Remedy Pet , just a couple of drops when you put little one in its cage getting ready for the car ride and by the time the little one gets to the vet it will be working nicely and helping them to relax.
Now for your little one you will need to get them vaccinated after 12 weeks of age and it will take 21 days to get their system to have the full effects towards it.
Now I know what you are thinking , Well what do we do for those 21 days , Well one of our staff asked herself the same thing and as she works with Rare breeds of rabbits such as the enderby island rabbits and the Harliquine Rabbits she was stressing herself about what to do so she started doing some research and between all of us here at superfoods we started brainstorming some questions.
Now we have already done a blog on Lysine and its effects on the Common Cold sore and its effects of it towards the Feline Herpes virus …. We have had many successful stories of how people have suffered many years with cold sores and after taking a 30 day course of the L-Lysine they have been cold sore free for years.
Now its not a cure we all know that once you get the virus you are stuck with it but it does assist the body in fighting and putting the virus into dormancy.
So back to the rabbits , Well our staff started wondering , Well if it assists the body with the herpies virus and also assist the body with the common cold and flu virus’s will it assist the rabbits in fighting off the calici virus .
We are deviled deeper into the suitability of L-Lysine and if its a product that is safe for rabbits and we found that its actually a safe protein for them and is even added into some of their commercial food mixes to help increase the protein content.
So one of our staff members crunched the numbers got out the calculator and the scales and worked out how much we need to give the rabbits , We worked out that per kg a rabbit can have 125mg for maintenance and control dosage is double this at 250mg , so first things first you need to know the weight of your rabbit , Now we can go on the ideal weights for each breed if you know what breed your rabbit is or you can weigh your rabbit.
We will start at the largest breed found in New Zealand
Flemish Giants – On average their weight can be between 5 kg and 8 kg with some being larger then that.
NZ whites and Californians can be around the 5 kg mark
The Rex Rabbit ( standard and Mini) can range between 2 kg and 5kg
The mini Lops , Cashmere lops , Enderby’s can range between the 2 and 3 kgs mark
and the little Netherland Dwarf are normally around the 900g to 1 kg mark
Now this is adult size so you can see how much of a range the weights have so it does come in handy to have a set of digital kitchen scales for most of the rabbits or you can work on a ball park number.
Now we have looked at the breed of rabbit we then need to look at the product, We are going to go through the ones that SuperfoodsNZ have, We have tablets that are 1000mg , capsuals that are 500 mg and a Powder form.
Our Recommended way of doing this is the Powder form, It is a lot easier so we will cover this first .
So for the Now foods L-Lysine pure powder and the Carlsons Lab L-Lysine Powder its 1/4 a teaspoon to get between 435mg( now foods) and 480mg (Carlsons Lab) so for a rabbit that is only 1kg you will need about 0.25 grams of lysine powder for a maintenance dosage , For a control dosage you give can give .5g per kg.
For those of you that are unsure 1 teaspoon of powder generally weights around the 5g mark. It will make it so much easier if you use a small digital set of scales if you don’t have this then you can work on the assumption that 1/8th of a teaspoon is about .5 g so it will mean that you will be working on the control dosage not the maintenance dosage.
Now if you are using the tablets you will need to look and check to see how much each tablet is providing you.
We will do this for you for each of our brands
Now foods L-Lysine 1000mg tablets ( these will need to be crushed)
1 tablet gives you 1000mg so this will need to be crushed , We have done this and found it weights around the 2 g mark, we divided this by 8 for the maintenance dosage and by 4 for the control dosage , so it will mean that you give .5 g for the maintenance and 1 g for the control.
Now our Source Naturals L-Lysine and Now foods L-Lysine 500mg Capsules both provide you 500 mg per capsule so this means that we only had to divide the weight of this by 4 to get the maintenance dosage which is .25g and for the control dosage you will need to give .5g . The good thing about the capsules is that you don’t need to grind it down so it does make it slightly easier for you but you need to be careful when opening the capsules.
Now I know that you are thinking WOW that’s such a small amount. Our staff member has a small digital scale that she has used to weigh these amounts up. Also the numbers we are giving you is below the maximum amount suggested for a rabbit so you have a window for being a little bit incorrect with the weights but try and do the best you can.
For her rabbits they have been on it now a week and they seem to not notice the extra product that she has added to their food , she has found that she prefers to put it on the top of their food and she feeds her rabbits just enough for their consumption for the day , she also has a couple that she has put it on their carrots or fruit to see if they notice it , Because its such a small amount she slices the food item and then rolls it in the powder making sure that all the powder is on the veges and her children have taken great joy in hand feeding this to the animals and this enables her to make sure that each one is getting their full dosage so trial either way and see which one is easier for you. Don’t add this to the water as our staff member did trial this and in some of the cases the rabbits didn’t drink all the water and if the products are not completely dissolved it seems that it causes the nozzles on the water bottles to leak.
I know you are now asking yourself how long do i need to do the control and the maintenance dosage , Well we don’t exactly know but if we go on the statistics of when normal outbreaks of the virus occur around New Zealand then we would say between the months of November and April start the maintenance dosage if there is no current outbreak , If there is an outbreak in your area we would say to change to the control dosage. There are Facebook pages dedicated to the tracking of RCD ( Rabbit Calici ) in New Zealand that will keep you informed when the outbreaks are happening and where.
At the moment though with the looming threat of the K5 virus release we would say between Now and October is when the councils around the country are looking at releasing it so it would pay to start it Now.
For those that have been affected already by the current occurrence of the Calici Virus feel free to try our recommendations and we feel that you should use the control dosage for the whole time you are in quarantine which is from what we gather is 110 days. We also wish you all the best and hope that things settle soon for you
Now we hope that you will have no need to use this information that we have provided and in the ideal world this would be the cases and that your bunnies would spend their lives happily bouncing around.