Eye Infections

 

Rabbits are prone to eye infections. It's unfortunate but true. There can be many undetermined causes, here are a few I know of - a certain bag of hay, a head cold, sitting too close to a heat vent, eye infection just like a human, reaction to poop dish materials or clogged tear ducts in the eye. I've had my share of doctor appointments and continue to always have to take one of them in for eye infection.  I noticed that Gracie had an issue with a "generic brand" of Care Fresh finding it's way into her big pretty eyes. The vet showed me how to just fish the particle out of her eye with a dampened cotton swab and then flood her eye with a basic eye saline (for humans). That did the trick and I got rid of the generic liter box stuff really fast. I make sure I have a supply of eye drops on hand for each rabbit at all times.

 

Some signs of an eye issue is they may not be as active. He or she may start to hide and not show themselves to you. Rabbits are very good at hiding from you health issues so you must keep a constant watch on them and their behavior. You will sometimes see the outside rim of skin surrounding the eye area turn red. You can notice a white, dried crusty substance in the inside corner of the eye or surrounding the eye.  If the eye is draining, the fur all around the eye will look wet or matted down. Or just a trail of tears coming down their sweet little face leaving  the fur wet and dark.  If you can pull up the eye lid, see if the white area is bloodshot. IF YOU SEE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS CALL A RABBIT SAVVY VET FOR AN APPOINTMENT IMMEDIATELY - THESE ISSUES NEVER GO AWAY ON THEIR OWN AND YOU NEED MEDICATION FOR YOUR HONEY BUNNY.

 

I also find that rabbits like to sit in front of the heat vent and then dust and particles can blow into their eyes. So I use heat deflectors on the vents in most of my rooms to try and keep them away from the direct blowing of the air. Dino however yanks the deflector off and flings it across the room almost daily. So the vent in his room is just about closed.

 

 

To administer eye drops, try putting your bunny in a bunny burrito. Here is video on how to bunny burrito.

 

Please take your bun to a vet for any kind of an eye problem no matter how minor it may seem. You don't want them to suffer or be unhealthy.

Since Dino has eye issues, I periodically put artificial tears in both of his eyes. I would say every couple weeks or if I see his eye or eyes starting to get red. This tends to help us ward off the eye infections and vet visits  most of the time.

 

I have been blocking off the air vents in both rooms where the buns live and this has seemed to help a great deal in warding off eye infections in Baby and Dino. They are both prone to getting them but I have put other items in front of the air vent to prevent access.  The vents still have the plastic covers, and the vent is open for heat, but I have stuff in front of the vent where the bun can not sit with their face in front of the blowing vent as they both like to do.  Just something to try perhaps. It seems to be working for me.

 

My vet and I are coming to the conclusion that my Baby just has a chronic issue in her left eye. She has always had issues with that eye.  Some months are better than others for her but the little sweetheart even gets her own potion of meds from the vet and I dispense as needed.  So this is possible your bun might have it too.

 

I've come across two good articles on eye issues from the Dayton Examiner and wanted to post links to them here.  Click on the links below for more information. I hope you find the helpful.

 

Runny eyes in rabbits may be obstructed tear ducts


Watery eyes in the house rabbit: causes, diagnosis and treatment


Coughs, Colds and Runny Noses

Yes it's true that your bunny can get a cold just like a human. Same symptoms, feeling blahhhh. It's up to you to recognize the change in your bun's behavior to determine if the little guy should go to the vet. When I first got Baby (my first rabbit) I was a bit, well, over protective - you can understand being a new bunny parent and all.  So she went to the vet for everything. It was expensive but every visit I learned more and more about the care of bunnies. If they have a runny nose and are sneezing let it go for a few days before taking them to the vet.  Now if they stop eating or pooping - then take them asap - as this is urgent and must be addressed right away  - no waiting.  Sneezing can be attributed to a bunny being in an environment that is too warm. They sneeze when they are warm. They like it between 60 and 70 degrees F.

 

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A GOOD RABBIT VET!

Now Baby recently had a running nose, and was sort of blowing out her nose like she was trying to clear her nose or sinuses.  She was fine otherwise - eating, pooping, binkying, running and such.  But we knew something was up. So after a few weeks it didn't go away. So we took her to the vet. He could not find anything obvious and gave us Baytril pills that we crushed up into mashed banana and gave her for 10 days. We also got an eye drop that can be used in the nose and that went on for 10 days. Still no improvement. So after another 2 weeks without improvement back she went. Now she was clearing her nose and sort of a coughing - clearing her throat - a loud nose that wakes us up in the middle of the night. So this is not right so off we went again.  Dr gave her strong drugs and told us to give her children's allergy liquid.  Did all of that and nothing - no improvement or relief for her. Now these are her only issues - running/wet nose at times, the clearing of her nose and the clearing of her throat. But you just know it's not normal.  So back we go and the Dr kept her all day, put her under - checked her teeth, chest xray, head xray, blood work and a swab of her sinuses.  Checked everything he could. Nothing was obvious. He said let's wait for the blood test to come back. So yesterday the blood work is showing higher than normal liver levels and elevated white blood cells. He thinks she has a bacterial infection but we won't know for a few more days what kind and what drugs to fight it with. I will update again when I have more info. Her condition is the same - not normal with these issues for my little bunny.  After experiencing this for so long with her (about 3 months) I know now to order that blood work sooner.

 

So the sinus test did not grow anything so the Dr was unsure as to what to try next. He determined that a form of penicillin via a shot for 4 weeks (1 week apart) was in order. So we took her for her first shot. No improvement and after several more days passed I decided to take her to another vet that was coming highly recommended for the care of rabbits from a shelter I got Dino from.

 

So we take her in with my x-rays and 3 years of doctors notes and the vet says, "well you know she has an enlarged heart and some fluid on her lungs". I said no, my vet didn't see anything out of the ordinary.  My vet thought she was fighting an infection because her liver enzymes were elevated. This vet said did you give her Neo-Poly-Dex drops before the testing? I said yes for 4 days for her eye infection. The vet said that is nasty stuff and it can raise the liver enzymes I don't think she has a infection.  So they give Baby an ultra sound (without putting her to sleep I might add).  That ruled out cancer and that her heart was enlarged but functioning properly. Whew - thank goodness. But about the nose and throat clearing. The new vet explained that they have a plate in their throat that opens and closes and she suspects something is wrong with that plate and that wet greens might be making it worse.  So she is on 2 meds for now until I take her in later this week (June 9th) to have a scope of her throat done.  If she can operate at the same time to correct the issue she will but she may not be able to.  I might have to take away all greens from her going forward and keep her on a hay only diet if the test does not show anything that can be repaired.  Will update again.

 

So the test came back with a specific bacterial infection. We gave Baby meds for 6 weeks. No greens. Only Timothy hay and Orchard Grass and pellets. I've been giving her hard treats that a good quality from Oxbow still. She was also in quarantine for this period - kept out of the common areas where my other bunnies go.  Her throat clearing got better but the vet says this is how she will always be- having to clear her throat to get her throat flap closed after eating - sorta like a human with allergies or sinus issues.  She is fine otherwise. Some time the throat clearing is loud and goes on for maybe 10 - 20 seconds. Some times it not so bad.  We are now slowing trying to reintroduce greens back into Baby's diet. They have to be spun dry in a salad spinner and cut up into small pcs and only given in small amounts every few days. So far she is eating some but it might be causing her more issues with her throat. So time will tell on this. 

 

A WORD OF CAUTION REGARDING VETS.....

 

My vet was recommended on the House Rabbit Society. I've seen rabbits in his office before.  So he is experienced. But when you have something out of the ordinary come up, you really need a vet that is super experienced with rabbits.  Alot of little things the new vet had said to me that began to raise red flags.  Differences in treatment.   The new vet said we don't normally give pills to rabbits as it does not work as well as a liquid drug and you should always give the rabbit probitics to replace the good bacteria that the drugs are killing in your rabbits system. I never got that from my vet any of  the times Baby was on drugs.  My vet also said you can take her somewhere else twice - I felt like he was sorta encouraging me to take her elsewhere.  I'm really glad I did. So be cautious and prepared so if something comes up that your vet can't seem to handle then be sure to have a back up vet in mind in case you need it.