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Kingstonist’s Wizard of Paws: Reader question on dogs and rabbit poop

Veterinarian Dr. Ryan Llera poses with his own rabbit, Henrietta.

This week, I’m answering another question submitted by a reader!

Hello, I was so happy to finally get a dog after not having one for long time and have a fenced yard for her to play in. I choose a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and she (Chloe) has been amazing! The issue I have is that Chloe eats rabbit poo and I can’t think that is good for her. So now I can’t let her free in the fenced yard to get exercise.
Is this going to harm my Cavy?

Thanks
Sheree and Chloe

Hi Sheree and Chloe and thank you for your question! Cavaliers certainly are great little dogs and have a lot of personality! About that rabbit poop, there’s good news: It generally shouldn’t be a problem. While rabbits can carry parasites and bacteria, they are not considered to be infectious to our domesticated animals (cats & dogs). The life cycle of these microorganisms is such that once defecated out, they are not going to the next stage of their cycle to infect dogs like Chloe. However, if she were to eat a whole rabbit (or at least the muscle or intestinal contents), she could catch one of the parasites in that manner. Bacteria could be spread, but for many patients, their immune systems and the normal flora can help manage those without you ever seeing a problem arise.

On occasion, if your vet does a fecal test on Chloe, they may see some fungal spores or coccidia eggs which she may have picked up from eating rabbit poop, but these are just passing through and won’t cause a problem. Don’t worry, I’ve seen it all the time, plus my own dog has eaten rabbit poop. So overall, let her run free in the yard and get some exercise or outdoor play time!

– Dr. Ryan Llera

Dr. Llera’s rabbit, Henrietta, looks as though she wouldn’t hurt a fly – and don’t worry, Sheree, neither will her poop!

If there’s something you’ve often wondered or questions you have about regarding pets, let us know by email at [email protected].

*Please note that specific medical questions about your pet cannot be addressed and you should speak with your personal veterinarian.

 

Dr. Ryan Llera is a small animal veterinarian at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic. Though originally from Florida, he married a Canadian (who is also a vet!) and they share their home with two cats, two dogs, two horses, and a rabbit. Dr. Llera also contributes writing to various other animal and veterinary related blogs. You can find more of his writing at www.DRRYANLLERA.com, or see what else he is up to on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Disclaimer: All columns are personally written and my opinion, and may not necessarily reflect those of current or former employers.

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