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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 28495
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I have a rabbit (approx. age 3) who past month or so

Customer Question

I have a rabbit (approx. age 3) who past month or so has been rapidly loosing weight and is quieter than usual. Last week I took her to see a vet and I was told she has a lump under her chin which is more than likely a swollen lymph gland. She was kept in the hospital couple of days while they ran tests (a culture & sensitivity test) and took a full body scan. I have been told that her teeth are good and not the cause of the lump. The scan has revealed more internal growths and her colon is swollen. The culture test was not very useful as the sample was taken from the colon (due to it being swollen) rather than the growth. I have been told that the scan has also shown fluid around her lungs and it is very likely that she has either cancerous growths or abscesses. She has been given Baytril, Zantac, Metacam, and Flagyl over the past week, but is now only having the Metacam. I have been told that it is not worth trying to remove the lumps and the only other option would be to try other medications, but this would just be palliative care and would not change the outcome, the best thing would be to have her euthanized. I am really just looking second opinion on this before I end her life. I don't want to cut her life short if there is any hope, but also don't want her to suffer unnecessarily. The concern I have is that she is still eating (although less than usual) and on some days seems brighter in herself. I thought rabbits that were very ill like this would stop eating?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. The finding of that swollen cutaneous lymph node, more growths internally (lymphadenopathy/swollen lymph nodes are likely particularly in her chest cavity because an effusion is present), thoracic effusion ("fluid around the lungs"), and a swollen colon suggests multicentric lymphoma in a rabbit - the second most common neoplastic disease in rabbits second only to uterine adenocarcinoma. If these were abscesses instead - usually due to Pasteurella multocida infection, I would have expected Beach's lungs to be pneumonic. At necropsy, it's not unusual to find neoplastic lesions in the lymph nodes, gastrointestinal tract (the swollen colon), kidneys, liver, spleen, adrenal glands, gonads, and bone marrow.

Her profound weight loss is expected with lymphoma. Her still eating is deceptive. I expect her eating less will worsen to anorexia shortly. I'm sorry to sound so discouraging. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.