Rabbit with Bladder Infection and/or Kidney Stones
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Gina Hofaker
Posted on: October 09, 2007

What can we use to treat my daughter’s buck? We believe he may have a bladder infection and/or kidney stones and would like to treat him naturally before having to take him to a vet. I read on another website that someone gave dandelion leaves to their rabbit until they received the homeopathic medicines from the company, and continued to give the leaves as well as the medicine until the rabbit passed a kidney stone. Are dandelion leaves enough, or are there other plants and herbs that we can use instead of investing in something commercially prepared?

First off, it would be most useful to have tests done to determine whether you are dealing with kidney stones, bladder stones or a bladder infection. These tests should be done by a veterinarian. Herbs that might be appropriate for bladder infections may not be appropriate for cases of kidney stones. The passing of a kidney or bladder stone can be a very painful event, so you should know what you are dealing with before deciding on a course of action.

Diet should be monitored: a blend of alfalfa and grass hay (Timothy and Bermuda) and a high fibre pellet made for rabbits (18 to 24% protein) should make up 60% of their diet. Vegetables, herbs and fruit may also be added. Examples of these might be: apples, broccoli, carrots, red clover, collard greens, dandelions, lettuce as well as young twigs to keep their ever-growing teeth in check. Fresh, filtered water should also always be available.

I do not have personal experience with rabbits with this condition, but herbs typically used in other small animals would include: Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis), Couchgrass (Agropyren repens), Cornsilk (Zea mays); all of these are demulcent herbs that have a soothing effect on the urinary system and may help with inflammation. If there is blood in the urine, herbs such as Raspberry leaf (Rubus ideaus), Plantain leaf (Plantago major or P. lanceolata), Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) and Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica) may serve as gentle astringents. All of these herbs can be made into a tea by adding one teaspoon herb to one cup boiling water; let steep until lukewarm and then add to food at one half- teaspoon tea twice a day.

As for your question regarding Dandelion leaves, I cannot say. Without knowing exactly what is going on, I would prefer not to comment. As I said, the passage of kidney stones can be painful, so if this is the case, it would be best to have your rabbit tested and monitored by a qualified professional. Should you be interested in seeking the advice of a practitioner in your area who has experience with the use of herbs, please see the website of the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association (www.vbma.org).

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