Category Archives: Illness and Eye Infection

You Are Their Best Defense! (Eye Issues)

I’ve said this many times before in several places throughout my website, but you bunny parent are your buns best defense to ward off sickness, infection and poor health. Once again I am proven right. Read on.

So I  took Dino and Lucy for their regular checkup about a month ago and I said to my vet, well Dino hasn’t been himself. He is lazier than normal (he is a lop and lops tend to sleep a lot from what I understand) and he is aging (aren’t we all).  So  lets check his eyes closely because he does suffer from E.Cuniculi (a bunny disease) that can affect his eyes. He has had previous eye issues and has been treated by an animal eye doctor. So sure even the vet found an ulcer in each eye so she recommended we take him to the animal eye vet again to be checked out.  I also requested that we do an E.Cuniculi test to see where Dino’s numbers were and if he needed to be on any meds for it as EC can cause eye problems. So she did the blood draw and we would need to wait 3 – 5 days for results.

So off to the animal eye doctor (Animal Eye Consultants) we go. The head doctor does a lot of numbing drops and tests and confirms that indeed Dino has 2 ulcers, one in each eye but only the left eye ulcer is active and growing. Hmm that sounded promising I thought. So she suggested that they do a procedure to remove the ulcer — sit down if you aren’t already. The procedure was called Diamond Burr Debridement. Even the name makes you a little afraid. Essentially she took what looked like a dremel tool with a weird looking disc on it and whittled away at his eye until the ulcer was gone.  WHAT you are thinking WHAT!  Yeah I know I hid my head behind a magazine in the room because I could not watch (I am bad with medical stuff and blood). The sound was terrifying enough, I thought I was going to cry but I reassured myself these folks were experts at this and I needed to just trust what they told me needed to be done.  I was petrified at what was happening to my little son Dino and the sound was awful of that little whirrrrring dremel. But my husband who watched the procedure closely said Dino had no idea what was going on.  Now that the ulcer was removed, it would need to heal. We took him home with a pain killer liquid to be administered by syringe into his mouth, an eye drop and an eye ointment and instructions to wash around his eye twice  daily with diluted soapy (super diluted dish soapy) water.   More on administering these drugs on another post soon.

For the record these were the drugs  –  0.3% Gentamicin Ophthalmic Solution (eye drop),  Artificial Tear Ophthalmic Ointment, and Meloxicam (also called Metacam) for pain

His EC test came back negative  – Yippeee no meds for Dino right now – yippeeee…..

It just so happened we were going on vacation and a big THANK YOU AND SHOUT OUT TO KRYSTIN & DAN (our bunny nurses) that administered the drugs daily so Bunny Mama could go to North Carolina to hunt for seashells (my other passion beside bunnies) and Boo could go and scuba dive.  Once we got home Dino didn’t seem to be using his left eye and was keeping it closed more than open. It also was weepy, very weepy (means watery eye).  Our appointment was approaching so we just waited for it.

Now in the middle of Dino’s left eye was this white spot where the ulcer used to be, where it was removed with procedure. This white spot was very evident previously. But each day as I looked into his eye to give him his meds, that white spot was getting smaller and smaller – that has to be good news for sure.

So at the follow up appointment four weeks later, the animal eye doctor said that his eye was creating new blood vessels to the cornea through where the ulcer was removed. This was exactly what the doctor wanted to happen – this was good. What wasn’t so good was the fact he wasn’t using the eye and that is was weepy. The dr said both were a sign that it was hurting him and we would have to up the amount of pain meds (to twice a day) we were giving him.  We should continue the drops, ointment, cleanings and pain killer for 3 more weeks and return for our next appointment.

So far after one week, Dino seems to be doing better. He is opening and using his eye more than he had been. Week 2 and 3 he continues to improve. He is spunky, active and that left eye is open all the time now! Yeah! Our little boy is on the mend – fingers crossed for his next appointment. And that white spot is just getting smaller and not as white what I can tell with my own eyes. Yipee!!!

So week 3 back to the animal eye doc – and its good news for Dino. His left eye is continuing to heal. The blood vessels are definitely restoring some sight into the area where the ulcer was.  The white spot left by the removal of the ulcer is still there but not as large and not as bright white. His eye sight in that left eye, will never be perfect but better and the fact that his eye was filling in the area where the ulcer was removed was very positive the dr said.  When I asked if he would have vision in that eye the dr had said he will have some vision but it won’t be perfect and since he is a house rabbit in a protected home he does not need perfect vision. The best news tho is that this procedure was successful AND the ulcer has stopped growing (as if it had continued there was a chance he would have gone blind in that eye).  So a week more of ointment and 2 weeks of the pain killer (metacam) for him. Then no more follow up unless we think he needs it or our vet refers him again. But for right now my little boy is doing just great and so are his beautiful Dino eyes!

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They animal eye doctors are just great and I could not say enough positive comments about them, their staff and their loving treatment of my little boy. Here is info on both of the docs we saw.

Dr. Denise M. Lindley - (taken from Animal Eye Consultant website)

Dr. Lindley received her BS in 1983, and DVM in 1985 from the University of Illinois. She completed an internship in small animal surgery and medicine in 1986 at Auburn University and a residency in comparative ophthalmology in 1989.  That same year she became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.  Also in 1989, Dr. Lindley joined the clinical faculty at Purdue University as assistant professor of comparative ophthalmology and was section chief until January 1994.  Dr. Lindley earned a master’s degree in veterinary ophthalmology in 1990.  Animal Eye Consultants first opened in July 1990 on a part-time basis and became full-time in 1994.  Dr. Lindley is available in the Elgin, Crestwood and Naperville IL offices.

Dr. Ralph E. Hamor -   (taken from Animal Eye Consultant website)

Dr. Hamor received his BS in 1984 and DVM in 1987 from the University of Missouri.   He completed an internship in small animal surgery and medicine in 1988 at Auburn University.  After working two years in private practice, Dr. Hamor did a residency in veterinary ophthalmology and earned a masters degree in 1993 at Colorado State University.  Dr. Hamor became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists in 1994.  Currently he is the Clinical Associate Professor of Veterinary ophthalmology at the University of Illinois.
Dr. Hamor sees patients mainly at our Crestwood IL office.

I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THESE DOCTORS and their staff and am so fortunate that they are right in my back yard (close by). I highly recommend these doctors for advance care and treatment of your animals eyes, especially your bunny’s eyes.

Meanwhile know your bun, pay attention to your bun every day and make sure that he or she is acting, behaving, eating, pooping and just being normal. If they aren’t begin to watch their behavior more closely and take them to a vet. Taken you bun to a vet as we never knew years ago that our little boy suffered from eye ulcers. Once we got him cured his personality changed and he became so much more active.

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Illness & 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.

 

ventcov

 

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 drugsand 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.

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