Rosalind has mastitis.
I should have paid more attention to what appeared to be a period of caked breast with this and her last litter. The first incidence resolved itself, but now she definitely has mastitis. I don’t think she’s feeding the kits at all and that’s the only reason I haven’t removed them yet. She’s really a very smart rabbit.
I wonder if this was partly my fault for free-feeding her so soon after kindling and piling on rich additives like oats. I wanted her producing well because at first, Tuna didn’t lactate so I needed a backup. Learning a lot with these two litters. I was told by a professional rabbit breeder not to free-feed until 12 days after kindling… Usually I adhere to this command but didn’t understand why.
The first thing to do was remove all concentrates, which includes pellets, leaving her alone with hay and water. I noticed her eating the occasional piece of straw, which is unusual for her. The very first day she didn’t drink a drop of water. One reason I will probably never move to a larger-scale watering system. The early diagnosis value is too important.
I added apple cider vinegar to her water bottle and an additional crock so she could drink more easily. She appreciated this and drank quite a bit. It seems painful for her to move around her cage too much, poor thing.
I also gave her fresh blackberry leaves and cane, rosemary and comfrey leaves. I figure I don’t know all that much about rabbit medicinals, but at least I could offer her some choices to self-medicate. By morning she had consumed everything (I hadn’t removed her pellets at this point yet so she wasn’t starving).
I’m now on a regimen of hot compresses and camphorated menthol rub on the affected area. She seems to get a lot of relief from these treatments. If I deem it to be getting too bad I am prepared to lance and purge, but this is a future scenario for now. Only one teat seems to be affected.
She’s a fighter, and she still seems very alert and active. All kits are still fine and their eyes are even starting to open. They do look a lot skinnier than I’m used to at this age though.