Hypocalcaemic Tetany in Rabbits

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Summary Information
Diseases / List of Miscellaneous / Metabolic / Multifactorial Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names  
Disease Agents Hypocalcaemia in lactating does. (B600.6.w6, P3.2006b.w3)
Infectious Agent(s) --
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) --
General Description
Clinical signs
  • Tremors. (B603.1.w1, P3.2006b.w3)
    • Disorientation and an intention tremor; this became worse on stimulation. (P3.2006b.w3)
  • Paralysis and muscle weakness about three weeks postpartum. (B618.18.w18)
  • Loss of appetite (the day before obvious clinical signs) then lateral recumbency with ear flapping, muscle tremors and jerking of the hind legs. (J534.20.w1)
  • Clinical signs in conjunction with low blood calcium. (J534.20.w1, P3.2006b.w3)
    • In a pet rabbit, total calcium was 1.23 mmol/L (reference range 2.6 - 5.0 mmol/L) and ionised calcium 0.51 mmol/L. P3.2006b.w3)
    • In Fauve de Bourgogne rabbits, plasma calcium was 5.8 +/- 0.4 mg/dL (compared to 13.5 +/- 0.2 mg/dL 20 days before parturition) and inorganic phosphorus was 2.9 +/- 0.3 mg/dL (compared to 6.0 +/- 0.4 mg/kg 20 days before parturition). (J534.20.w1)
    • See: Clinical Pathology of Lagomorphs
Further Information
  • In a case in a pet rabbit, the doe produced two litters about four weeks apart and reared first six (of seven) then eight kits, due to children inadvertently allowing mating; clinical signs started when the second litter were four weeks old. (P3.2006b.w3)
  • In a pet rabbit, intravenous calcium gluconate (10%) via catheter; 100 mg total (400 mg/kg) over 12 hours was required to eliminate clinical signs. (P3.2006b.w3)
    • Further treatment included oral supplementation with calcium for two weeks, weaning of the kits and spaying of the doe. (P3.2006b.w3)
  • In Fauvre de Bourgogne does, intraperitoneal calcium gluconate [dose not stated] produced recovery from clinical signs within two hours; plasma calcium and phosphorus returned to normal levels. (J534.20.w1)
Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species
Disease Author Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)

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