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What are Conjunctivitis?

This condition is common in pet rabbits and warrants urgent investigation as can be indicative of underlying disease. You may notice your rabbit begin to rub his eyes with his front feet, and he may have watery eyes. This condition is often linked to primary issues such as dental disease, blocked tear ducts or immune suppression. Treatment will very depending on the cause.

Conjunctivitis in your rabbit is also known as weepy eye and is quite common. It is believed up to 30% of pet rabbits develop conjunctivitis. Your rabbit may experience irritation, redness, discharge and more. Bacteria or viruses can be to blame.

Conjunctivitis Average Cost

From 231 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis in Rabbits

Symptoms will vary depending on the reason for your rabbit’s conjunctivitis.

  • Rubbing of eyes – Your rabbit may rub his eyes with his front paws
  • Watery eyes – You may notice that your rabbit’s eyes appear to be watery and runny
  • Matted fur – Your rabbit may have matted fur around his eyes
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Causes of Conjunctivitis in Rabbits

There are several possible causes of your dog’s conjunctivitis concerns. Some of the causes include allergies, infections, tooth concerns and genetics.

Idiopathic

  • There may be no obvious cause for your rabbit’s conjunctivitis
  • Up to 36% of rabbits who have conjunctivitis do not have an immediate explanation

Allergies

  • May be caused by an irritation to hay dust
  • This can lead to an infection if left untreated

Infection and Bacteria 

  • Can result from untreated constant irritation from allergens
  • Often the conjunctivitis is the only symptom of an infection
  • Myxomatosis – An upper respiratory infection that has conjunctivitis as a symptom
  • Enterovirus 70 – This causes tearing, redness, swelling of your dog’s eyelids, and more possible symptoms

Other infectious agents that can be isolated

  • Staphylococus
  • Micrococcus
  • Bacillus
  • Bordetella
  • Stomatococcus
  • Neisseria
  • Pasteurella
  • Corynebacterium
  • Streptococcus
  • Moraxella

Tooth concerns

  • Inflamed tooth roots – Rabbits have been known to have ongoing watery eyes due to their cheek teeth pressing on their tear duct when the local tissue is swollen
  • Dental disease
  • Root elongation of your rabbit’s incisors in a common cause of conjunctivitis
  • Dental abscesses

Genetics

  • Entropion – A condition in which your rabbit’s eyelid rolls in and his eyelashes constantly irritate his eye causing watery eyes
  • Blocked tear ducts can be due to a narrow canal
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Diagnosis of Conjunctivitis in Rabbits

If you notice your rabbit begin to experience any of the symptoms discussed above, it will be important to bring him to his veterinarian. You will want to discuss with your veterinarian any other possible changes you have noticed and when. It will be important to share if your rabbit appears to have encountered any other animals or rabbits that could have been sick.

Your veterinarian will want to test him for infections. This can be done by taking blood or samples of the discharge from his eyes. These tests will help to rule out any other underlying causes of your rabbit’s symptoms.

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Treatment of Conjunctivitis in Rabbits

Treatment will be dependent on the cause of your rabbit’s symptoms. Your veterinarian will discuss with you what options there are for the different underlying causes of his symptoms. 

Idiopathic or Allergies

If there is no known cause, your veterinarian may suggest changing where his hay is kept to reduce the possibility of hay dust irritating his eyes. Anti inflammatories and antibiotics may be trialed and are often effective in treating conjunctivitis. 

Infection or Bacteria

If your rabbit is found to have an infection, your veterinarian will suggest an antibiotic to treat the infection and symptoms. There are some medications that may be used which are  chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, or gentamicin. A saline solution may be used to wash his eyes as well.

Tooth Concerns

These may have to be treated with surgery to remove any abscesses, infected teeth or roots that are causing the ongoing conjunctivitis symptoms. Your veterinarian will discuss the necessity of this with you.

Genetics

Depending on the nature of the problem, once again surgery may be necessary to correct any ongoing issues.

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Recovery of Conjunctivitis in Rabbits

Follow up appointments will probably not be necessary unless your rabbit goes through surgery. It will be discussed with you at the time of treatment if you will need to return for a follow up. Continuing to monitor your rabbit’s condition and symptoms will be important for ongoing care, as well as possibly making changes.

If there are no other causes for your rabbit’s symptoms, changes may need to be made to his environment in regards to how his hay is stored and his contact with it. Feeding changes may be necessary in the event any teeth are removed or he had dental surgery. Oftentimes, dental disease is caused by inadequate fibre in the diet (such as hay and grass). Full recovery is likely if the underlying conditions are treated and if his symptoms are treated appropriately.

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Conjunctivitis Average Cost

From 231 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

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Conjunctivitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Rex

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Gunky Eyes, Occasional Sneezing, Rubbing Face,, Wet Nose, Loose Stool, Ear Mites?

Just noticed my buck sneezing and ribbing his face this morning. Checked, he had crust around his eyes and a wet nose. Cleaned cage and separated from other buns, took inside. Still crusty eyes, nose dry, but seems irritable.

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 18, 2020

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White rabbit

dog-age-icon

Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Eye Inflamation

What I should do for the treatment of my rabbit ,I have been injecting ceftriaxone and tazobactum injection for 10 days and applying ciprofloxacin, metronidazole,terbinafine hydrochloride and clobetasol propionate ointment on his lesion and also moxifloxacin eye drops but he is not ok ,he is not recovering , please help me ,I love my rabbit and I can't see him like this so please recommend me which medicine can I use for him

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. With all of the medications that you have already tried not working, it seems that it would probably be a good idea to have a veterinarian look at your rabbit, as there may be something going on that is not treatable with medication, or that may need more specific therapy. Unfortunately, without seeing him, I can't recommend any other therapy. I hope that your rabbit feels better soon!

July 31, 2020

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Conjunctivitis Average Cost

From 231 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

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