Conjunctivitis in Rabbits

Conjunctivitis in Rabbits - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
10 Veterinary Answers

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Conjunctivitis in Rabbits - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

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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.

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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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Olly

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Rabbit - Unknown

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7 Years

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Dental
Runny Eye
Discharge

My rabbit just got a dental done at the vet about 2 weeks ago. Not long after his eye starting running. He doesn’t seem to be in much discomfort, he’s a very picky, slow eater and always has been so not too concerned about him turning away from some food. His fur under his eye is all wet but I clean it was warm water every day. My other rabbit got a runny eye not long after he did, so I’m assuming he’s probably passed an infection on? Does it sound like conjunctivitis or does it sound tooth related? A little worried about my little man. :(

April 11, 2018

Olly's Owner

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0 Recommendations

It may be a case of conjunctivitis, but without an examination I cannot say for certain; if there are no visible swellings or issues within the oral cavity I would be thinking more localised conjunctivitis. Speak with your Veterinarian and they may prescribe an ointment for them to help. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 12, 2018

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Yagie

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Lionhead

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7 Years

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Pink Around Eye
Matted Fur
Raw
Swollen Eye
Rubbing Eye

My brother noticed some eye boogers or some discharge in his eye and grabbed a paper towel to wipe it off. He just now mentioned it and we went to go check on the bunny and his fur is matted, raw around the eye, keeps rubbing it and it is slightly swollen shut. We think it looks like pink eye but we're not sure. He also has diarrhea, he's had this for a long time but it seems because he refuses to eat his hay. He is still happy and jumping around but we're still extremely concerned about his eye.

March 25, 2018

Yagie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Possible causes for the eye problem that you are describing could be a bacterial infection, a foreign body, or an ulcer. it would be best to have Yagie seen by a veterinarian to assess his eye, as well as the diarrhea that doesn't seem to be getting better.

March 25, 2018

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Conjunctivitis Average Cost

From 231 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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