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What is Lump Under the Skin?

Abscesses in rabbits are caused by the introduction of bacteria and the resulting accumulation of pus. Illnesses, bite wounds, dental problems, and unsanitary cage conditions can all lead to abscesses under the skin. To give your rabbit the best chance of full recovery, it is vital that you contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice your rabbit has a lump under his skin.

Lumps under the skin in rabbits are often caused by abscesses which commonly occur on the face and limbs. These masses are formed by inflamed tissue containing thick, purulent discharge. This can lead to discomfort, sepsis, and necrosis for your rabbit.

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Symptoms of Lump Under the Skin in Rabbits

As a rabbit’s skin can form a thick capsule around the abscess inflammation, and discharge may not be visible, most often it is the palpable mass that owners notice first. Although your rabbit may not present with discomfort or pain, other symptoms which may indicate an abscess are:

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Thick, purulent discharge in cases of rupture
  • Aggression when handling due to discomfort
  • Anorexia


Rabbits can suffer from many types of abscesses in different organs of their bodies. These include:

  • Subcutaneous masses which are common in the head and may be large and solid
  • Internal abscesses such as internal thoracic, abdominal or uterine (pyometra) 
  • Dental abscesses which are the result of tooth root infections and can lead to tear duct abscesses

Causes of Lump Under the Skin in Rabbits

There are some conditions that may predispose your pet to developing abscesses, such as;

  • Recurring cases of rhinitis and sinusitis
  • Dental disease
  • Fighting and bite wounds
  • Pododermatitis due to bare or unhygienic cage floor
  • Cramped living conditions

Abscesses occur due to the introduction of bacteria into the tissue. Although it can be possible to locate the point of entry in cases of bite wounds or dental disease, in many cases the cause of introduction is not known. The bacteria often found to be responsible for abscess in rabbits are:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Proteus 
  • Bacteroides 
  • Pasteurella multocida

Diagnosis of Lump Under the Skin in Rabbits

Your veterinarian will perform a full physical examination on your pet. They will discuss your pet’s clinical history with you and ask if there is a known history of fighting or bite wounds. 

Your veterinarian will be able to palpate the abscess and may be able to visualise discharge. They will carefully examine your pet for other abscesses, wounds or underlying conditions such as dental disease. As abscesses can cause osteomyelitis, the infection of the bone and bone marrow, your veterinarian may choose to perform radiographs. 

Your veterinarian will likely take a sample of exudate to perform a culture and sensitivity test to identify the causative bacteria and most effective antibiotic treatment.

Treatment of Lump Under the Skin in Rabbits

As their physiology is quite different to cats and dogs, rabbit abscesses require much more invasive treatment than most pets. This is due to numerous factors. In rabbits the pus is thick and difficult to remove, meaning often traces of bacteria are left behind after flushing. Rabbit abscesses are also known to form finger-like projections in the surrounding tissue, causing further abscesses to form. 

Due to these factors, the best practice treatment is considered complete surgical excision of the abscess under general anesthetic. Although there are risks involved with anesthesia your rabbit will be carefully monitored throughout. The procedure will involve clipping the fur around the abscess, washing the area with a surgical preparation and then removing the abscess, carefully debriding all affected tissue and thoroughly flushing the area with an antiseptic solution. 


Ideally your veterinarian would await the results of the bacterial cultures prior to commencing antibiotic treatment, however, as the prognosis for rabbits is drastically improved by early treatment your veterinarian will most likely give enrofloxacin while waiting for results. When culture results become available your veterinarian may choose to change antibiotic treatment.


Your veterinarian will likely give either NSAIDS or opiates for analgesia.


It is vital that your pet eat during his illness. Anorexia in rabbits can become dangerous in as little as 24 hours, and can cause gastric stasis, hepatic lipidosis and intestinal ileus. 

Appetite stimulants such as parsley, carrot tops and kale may be recommended, along with any of your rabbit’s favorite foods, hay and fresh vegetables and pellets. 

If your pet is still refusing food, syringe feeding may be necessary. Your veterinarian may choose to give pellets moistened with water, pureed vegetables or banana. 

Fluid therapy

Fluid therapy may be given to decrease the risk of anorexia or gastric stasis occurring following the surgery.

Recovery of Lump Under the Skin in Rabbits

The prognosis following an abscess in a rabbit may be guarded due to the risk of recurrence. Your veterinarian will likely prescribe a 2-6 week systemic antibiotic treatment following surgery with revisit appointments to monitor recovery. 

Following the surgery your pet may be drowsy; provide him with a soft, warm recovery area. Research has shown medical grade honey to assist in recovery due to it’s healing and antibacterial properties, this may be a supportive option for your pet. In order to give your pet’s immune system the support it needs to recover, provide your pet with a clean, warm environment and excellent nutrition. As abscesses are commonly known to reoccur, regularly check your rabbit for the development of masses and contact your veterinarian if one is found.

Lump Under the Skin Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Mini lop
1 Year
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Large lump

My 1 year old mini lop gave birth to 6 kits 2 weeks ago and we just noticed she has a lump bigger than a quarter in between her left leg and rib cage. It doesn't bother her by us touching it. It is hard like a stone. She is eating and acting completely normal. Does anyone have any idea what it could be?

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9 Years
Fair condition
2 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms


My rabbit, caramel, has a lump between her front legs. We noticed it a while ago and in a way it seemed to get better. We first noticed it when there was some blood in her cage and a puss like substance oozed out of it. We clean her up and no more puss comes out. She hasn't had any problems with it and she wear a protective cover over it when she plays outside. Its not really attached to her body and it's got no fur on it. The only issue is, she keeps knocking it every now and then causing it to bleed and we don't want her making it worse. We don't want to put her down or really have her go through surgery, not to mention the money it would cost. Is there any way to prevent her from causing more damage? We just want her to live the rest of her life happily and it causes her no discomfort. Thanks.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
The lump is in a bad position and it in a place with regular rubbing due to the movement of the forelegs and may get damage from the floor etc… Apart from attempting to keep it covered, there is nothing else I can recommend you do; I agree that at Caramel’s age you shouldn’t be thinking of surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

How would you recommend covering it up?

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Holland Lop
5 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss
Poor Appetite

my rabbit leo has been examined by a vet when i discovered lumps. they said due to the hard nature of them that they were harmless and were dermoid cysts. he then began to develop more and the hair was changing colour round where the cysts were. the vet took a sample and then said they'd call back but they have not. he is now losing more fur than he should be (he is casting right now but hes beginning to get bald spots) and is more docile than normal. He is a 5 year old holland lop if it helps

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
If your Veterinarian has taken a sample for histopathology or cytology you should chase down the results as this would give a better indication of what is happening than theories on my side; there are various types of lumps and bumps which may be innocent growths or more serious (cancerous). Try to find out what your Veterinarian found and work from there. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Rex rabbit
4 Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms


My rabbit Peanut is 4 years old. Last night I found a soft 2×2 cm bump under his left front leg. When I touch the mass it seems it's filled with fluid and it's loose and very soft. There's a little lump like a lymph node near the mass. My rabbit is completely normal. He dosen't have any pain and the bump is completley covered with fur. there's no discharge or wound on the bump. I've always kept a close eye on Peanut. He didn't have any trauma, bite or something. Please could someone tell me about possible diagnosis of this mass. I would be thankful for any help.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Rabbits can develop soft fatty growths, or cysts, and the mass may be nothing to worry about. Without seeing Peanut, I can't determine what the mass may be, but if he is otherwise acting normally, you may be able to monitor it. If it is getting larger or causing him distress, a veterinarian can examine him and take a sample of the mass if necessary to see what it is.

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2 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms


Cloudy, 40 days ago on a rainy cloudy day after university and he was pretty young -I'm still unsure of the sex, but let's go with he-.
But yesterday I discovered this thing on the outside base of his right ear..
I don't know if it's a scar he caused to himself while scratching his ears, or a bug bite -which I suspect- or scab or whatever.. I'm new to this and I'm genuinely worried although he's still healthy and normal.. I asked around and a cats and dogs vet said I should cleanse the spot with some povidone but I'm still not sure.. And I'm worried because there are no rabbit vet savvy people here, Do you guys know what this spot is and whether or not it's serious?

Here are some links to pics

At first it was dry like a pimple then it exploded and a drop of blood came out, no pus, I disinfected it and cut the pieces of fur around it to not let it disturb it and now it's just slightly bumpy but mostly flat and pinkish.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
Unfortunately, without seeing Cloudy and examining the spot, I can't really say what the lesion might be, or how to treat it. If he is doing well otherwise and the area isn't getting worse, it may be okay to continue to clean it with an anti-bacterial solution. If the area seems to be getting worse, or spreading, or he doesn't seem to be doing well, it would be a good idea to have him seen. Most veterinarians have a basic knowledge of rabbits, and should be able to give you an idea as to what might be going on. I hope that all goes well for him.

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Florida White
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

having diarrhoea sometimes

my bunny recently has a small lump in his mouth.i think a small thick and hard type something like pimple is happen on my rabbit skin.he doesnot eat much then other days. what should i do now ?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Without examining Danny I cannot say what the cause of the lump in the mouth is or what the pimple on the skin is; dental issues, infections, foreign objects among other causes may lead to these types of symptoms. If Danny is eating less, it is possible that an abscess or other issue is causing pain for him to eat leading to a reduction in appetite; you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

I really need your help! My bunny is one of my mommas,we breed them and love them they are our babies.She is mine I have had her since she was a baby and I am scared, a few days ago we found a lump under her around her nipple area, but her babies are grown now and we haven't breed her since, well today I walked in and apparently she popped whatever it was but she is in pain and keeps pulling at it! Please tell me what should I do I need home remedies to help her!!!

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