Nature is powerful, and it can be wonderful, clever, beautiful, helpful and resourceful, but sometimes things go wrong, and nature can work against us in the most evil of ways.
Or so it seems. But there is always a reason for every happening and nature is still expressing itself in the normal way. We just have to understand what it is saying and why.
The recent RHD2 virus has sent panic up and down the country and with a vaccine in very scarce supply and only available at limited vets, it is unfortunate for me to report that many rabbits are dying at an alarming rate.
It is at times like these when all rabbit owners must do their due diligence and step up hygiene protocols and environmental routines.
Perhaps this is nature's message.
We cannot continue to let our rabbits endure the squalor, appalling conditions and treatments many have had to suffer for so many years. The actions of the few, in certain countries and industries, have now dealt a hand of consequence on the innocent. Now loving, caring rabbit owners everywhere are paying a very high price.
Meanwhile, there is much we can do to build a healthy immune system with all your precious rabbits.
After all, Prevention is better than Cure!
Of course plants alone will not protect your rabbits from RHD or RHD2 but with an understanding of a combination of advice given in the RHD2 article and the additional steps on this page, your rabbits will be much more protected than most.
But we all know that 'natural' doesn't necessarily mean healthy or safe and if you have a poorly bunny how do you know what natural treatment is best and why?
In order to answer this, it's best to understand what a 'bacterial beastie' is and what it is that antibiotics, synthetic or natural, actually do.
Certain bacteria produce chemicals that damage or disable parts of the body. e.g. An ear infection means bacteria has got in to the inner ear. The body is working to fight the bacteria, but the immune system's natural processes produce inflammation. The inflammation is painful, so an antibiotic can be taken to kill the bacteria and eliminate the inflammation.
Most natural antibiotics work in the same way synthetic antibiotics do. Many bacteria require oxygen free environments to thrive. Certain compounds in plants and herbs help oxygenate the blood and provide an environment in which bacterial organisms cannot thrive.
Some herbs, plants and substances work in different ways. Some just 'eat up' the bad guys or they wipe them out altogether by taking their food source.
By introducing the body to enough of these natural, helpful organisms found in plants, herbs and substances, an effective 'crowd control' is put in place. These organisms become the largest populating by domination and in turn eliminate or kill any bad bacteria present.
It's also good to know that natural antibiotics do not harm the body. This is because they are essentially natural food sources and an infected rabbit cannot medically 'overdose' on too much 'food'. (But just like any food intake portion control is advised).
Giving your bunny synthetic antibiotics can wreak havoc with their delicate body balance. And in some cases can cause more problems than they are designed to solve.
The following foods are natural consumables and are found in nature in their raw, unprocessed form. They are all suggested as real alternatives to prescribed synthetic medicines and have natural antibiotic properties.
They stimulate and boost the immune system, killing or preventing pathogens from reproducing within the body and increase the natural resistance to infection.
Battle the bugs with this 'super-food' shopping list...
However, it is made from all natural ingredients and colloidal silver stops the growth of most one-celled organisms dead in their tracks.
The germicidal and antibacterial properties of colloidal silver were discovered almost a century ago but the historical use of the mineral silver by humans is long and indisputable. For thousands of years, it has been used for the same reasons people are using it now. From mankind’s earliest history, silver has been used in the making of food and drink vessels, as well as eating utensils. Today, silver is being used in swimming pool filters, food cutting boards, bandages, burn dressings and water filters for NASA.
You can rest assured your pets are in safe hands when it comes to using colloidal silver. Not only is it tasteless and easy to administer but it's one of the safest natural antibiotics with no side effects. It treats and removes viruses, bacteria and fungi without damaging the surrounding healthy cells. It has been used very effectively to treat bacterial, fungal and viral infections in pets just as well as it does in humans.
Colloidal silver tastes almost like pure water with just a slight mineral taste, so giving it to rabbits orally is quite easy.
In a spray it can be administered to the eye area too for eye allergies and conjunctivitis, keratitis, etc. It can also easily be sprayed in the nose for sinusitis, in the ears and sprayed directly on to wounds as it doesn't sting or burn.
Because it is in liquid form it can be given via IV or nebulized into the lungs.
There is no natural antibiotic alternative like it for ease of administration and effectiveness. And no traditional antibiotic comes close to the effectiveness of a good Colloidal Silver.
Even though the FDA has tried to discredit the efficacy of this important healing substance, the effects of colloidal silver in the treatment of bacterial diseases such as MRSA, topical wounds, sores and infections speaks for itself.
Honey is one of the most well-known antibacterial foods in the world.
It has been used for centuries in many different cultures as a medicinal food, and according to data archived in the National Library of Medicine, this is because honey contains high sugar concentration, hydrogen peroxide, low pH, methylglyoxal and the antimicrobial peptide bee defensin-1.
The antibacterial properties of honey are so complex, experts are looking at it as a means to combat antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
The most delicious and deadly agent that works to kill bacteria is Manuka honey, which comes from Australia and New Zealand.
Researchers have discovered that Manuka honey applied topically can kill a wide range of pathogens, including MRSA and flesh-eating bacteria.
Cabbage has been found to combat H. Pylori bacteria, which has been identified as a major cause of stomach ulcers.
Cabbage may also be beneficial for prevention of bladder infections and obstructive jaundice.
However, wild rabbits are survival experts, they know when to stop eating and each rabbit will only eat the amount they need.
Horseradish, according to NYU Langone Medical Center, was proven back in the 1950′s to have antimicrobial properties.
It is approved for use in Germany as a supportive therapy for certain infections such as urinary tract infections, respiratory infections and sinusitis, and is regarded as one of the best antibacterial foods.
Many rabbit owners give small pieces of fresh pineapple to their rabbits when they are shedding as it reduces the risk of potentially-fatal intestinal blockages.
Pineapple is nutritious and full of antibacterial properties. It also contains bromelain, which is effective against certain infections of the throat and mouth.
You may be interested to know that pineapple has a history of use in
diphtheria patients as a mouthwash to remove dead membranes from the
throat. Food for thought maybe!
Garlic has been used worldwide for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. This wonder plant treats everything from a simple earache to pneumonia, MRSA, Helicobacter pylori, the flu and even the black plague.
Contemporary research has confirmed that garlic possesses numerous antioxidants that kill bacteria and free radicals in the blood protecting the immune system and making it stronger.
Garlic's active ingredient allicin can also attack and destroy a variety of viruses, unlike modern antibiotics, as well as fugal infections, such as candida.
Garlic will immunize against disease, it is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic, and helps prevent bloating and gas as well as being a great de-wormer and respiratory expectorant.
Garlic has traditionally been used both internally and externally for it's antibacterial properties.
The sulfur compounds in this plant bulb are what gives it the potent anti-pathogen traits, and it has shown efficacy against Staph infections.
Fresh garlic juice can lower serum cholesterol levels in rabbits on high fat diets, it helps skin eliminate toxins, relaxes the stomach and reduces gas in the digestive tract.
It can also strengthen and heal rabbit respiratory systems by removing excess mucus and destroying or resisting pathogenic micro-organisms.
Garlic is also beneficial for it's anti-fungal properties and the ability to combat free radicals in the body (helping to prevent cancer).
But, while garlic seems to have an overall anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effect, there are conflicting reports about. The fact that some data is rather vague and somewhat conflicting in areas, strongly reflects the complexity of the individual components of garlic, most which pertain to the method of preparation.
Current limitations are that most studies have been carried out 'in vitro' (Latin for 'in the glass', performed with cells or biological molecules studied outside their normal biological context) at a cellular level, and 'in vivo' (Latin for 'within the living', those in which the effects of various biological entities are tested on whole, living organisms usually animals including humans, and plants), are severely lacking.
So, although the effects might be
subtle, garlic can be considered as a dietary anti-inflammatory
supplement that in the long term might lead to the reduced risk of
certain types of cancers and infections.
Rabbit's have a good sense of smell and can detect certain compounds, minerals and vitamins in most foods.
Garlic is laden with so many of all of these that some rabbits just can't get enough of it.
Garlic is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin B6. It is also a very good source of vitamin C and copper. In addition, garlic is a good source of selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B1, and calcium.
So you can imagine what all this must smell like!
However, be aware that if you rabbit does indeed go crazy for garlic, they may be severely lacking in some kind of mineral or vitamin that they can sense they would certainly get from devouring large quantities of garlic.
Domestic rabbits are not like wild rabbits. A hungry, domestic pet
rabbit will not usually know when to stop. They just haven't had the
survival training of a wild bunny!
Caution - While I have listed garlic in this beneficial list, please be very sparing and cautious with it, no matter how much your rabbit may beg for it!
Carrots are particularly effective against food-borne pathogens. What’s more, carrots seem to be resistant against spoilage pathogens, meaning they are also less likely to cause food poisoning.
Carrot juice has been used in ancient practices for over 150 years and it's reported natural antibiotic healing properties have proven to treat varied diseases.
Believe it or not, even complexion problems can be eliminated with the intake and digestion of carrot juice as the potassium contained in it helps neutralize excess acid in the skin. So with that in mind, if your bunny has skin problems, maybe an extra carrot or two will put a binky in their step in more ways than one!
The National Library of Medicine research indicates the essential oil which gives turmeric its colour is what also gives it potent antibacterial properties. You talk to to anyone from India and they will tell you it has been used for hundreds of years as a curative there.
Studies have shown it to be effective against Bacillus cereus, Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Alcohol-based extracts and ointments make administration easier.
True myrrh is crumbly and dark red inside. The exterior is white and powdery. The best myrrh has little odour and no oily texture. High-quality myrrh demanded the best prices in the Roman Empire, but it did not ship well. Back then myrrh was mainly used as incense but it also had medicinal uses and was also used for embalming and had a use in some cosmetics.
Today, myrrh is found in some flavourings but the benefits of myrrh continue to astonish us in modern times. It is a powerful antioxidant and is now being considered by modern medicine to treat certain cancers and tumours.
Recently scientists identified myrrh compounds that actually kill cancer cells. Myrrh also contains special ingredients that stimulate the part of the brain that controls emotions. It also helps the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands that produce many of the important hormones in the body.
Myrrh is most commonly recommended for bacterial oral infections, bronchitis and sore throat passages.
It has been used by healers for hundreds of years and is
touted for its antiseptic, natural antibiotic and antiviral properties.
I have bunched all the herbs together here for ease of counting but really they should be listed on their own as individual antibacterial foods due to their amazing abilities as natural antibiotics.
Herbs are a great way to add flavour and excitement to your bunny's meals without adding calories and they also help prevent disease with their antibacterial properties.
Here are 3 of the best herb based natural antibiotics in more detail, with a list at the end of further herbs with beneficial healing properties:
Echinacea is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family - Asteraceae. It is also known as the American coneflower.
Echinacea has been used for hundreds of years to strengthen the immune system and fight a variety of infections. It is what's called an immune system stimulant and broad spectrum natural antibiotic. In the lower doses it’s the stimulant and in higher doses acts as an antibiotic. It also has anti-inflammatory with anti-viral properties.
Research has shown that echinacea increases production of interferon in the body. It is antiseptic and antimicrobial, with properties that act to increase the number of white blood cells available to destroy bacteria and slow the spread of infection.
Traditionally, echinacea was used to treat open wounds, diptheria, cellulitis, blood poisoning, syphilitic lesions and other bacterial-related diseases.
Although it's mostly used today for fighting colds and flu, this potent herb possesses the ability to destroy the most virulent bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus which causes MRSA.
Echinacea is a great herb to dry and add to your winter hay blend and can be grown in nearly every garden quite easily. Alternatively add a few leaves every now a then to your rabbits daily greens mix to boost the immune system and fight infection.
It is also available in capsule form which can be boiled in water, cooled and administered to your rabbits fresh water supply.
Dose: 4 capsules to one gallon of water, boil and cool in fridge - add 1/4 herb water to 3/4 water.
Pau d'Arco is a natural herb retrieved from the inner bark of the Taheebo tree, grown predominantly in Central and South America. It is also known as ipe roxo and lapacho or lapachol.
I have included it this main list as it is not as well known as the others and yet it really should be - the natural antibiotic powers of this herb are incredible.
Pau d'Arco has shown to strengthen the immune system, especially
a weakened immune system caused by other factors such as: chronic
fatigue syndome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), fibromyalgia, Candida Albicans overgrowth (candidiasis, oral thrush, vaginal yeast infection, etc.), cancer and tumors, viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, cause of AIDS), anti-biotic use, steroid use, etc.
Pau d'Arco not only helps the body recover, but additionally, its compounds such as lapacho fight against the cause of many ailments, including many of which were listed above as threats to the immune system.
Pau d'Arco is proposed by some as a treatment for: candida and other fungus, viruses such as polio and influenza, arthritis, diabetes, parasites, bacteria, cancer, liver disease, fever, venereal and rheumatic disorders, skin disorders such as eczema, herpes and the mange, and much more.
Needless to say the disorders listed above are problems that humans and animals suffer with, so there are any number of rabbit related bacterial and viral infections that this amazing little herb can help to combat.
The active ingredient is lapachol and has been found to relieve a wide range of infections including those initiated by bacteria, viruses and fungus.
Studies suggest that Pau d'arco may also have cancer-fighting properties, although more research is needed.
It's best consumed as a tea or decoction.
In fact, one study shows that Oregano essential oil was found (along with a couple other essential oils such as thyme, peppermint, cinnamon, sage, and clove) to have the strongest antimicrobial properties.
There are even some poultry farms who have found success by using Oregano to reduce the use of antibiotics in animals.
When used aromatically, Oregano essential oil can help decrease airborne pathogens, boost immunity, and can give a feeling of security.
Oregano blends well with Basil, Geranium, Fennel, Lemongrass, Rosemary, and Thyme essential oils.
There are many herbs that have beneficial properties for rabbits, however the ones below are known for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds.
I'm sure I've probably missed a plant or herb that should be included on this page, if so please let me know and everyone can benefit...
Have you found a secret weapon against those bacterial bugs that you want to share. Of course, it won't be a secret any more but I bet all those sick bunnies out there will be very grateful for any information you can share!
If you are a vet specializing in rabbit health, we'd love to have your input on this page. See if there are any questions from visitors that you can answer. We'd all love the professional advice you can offer.
If you offer any health service for rabbits including microchipping, we'd love to hear from you too. Let's get all our bunnies chipped and never lost again!
If you have a niggling question or you are worried about any aspect of your rabbit's health, why not share your problem here? Someone out there is bound to be able to help, they may have had the same thing happen to them.
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