Pneumonia Average Cost

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Average Cost


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What is Pneumonia?

This disease can cause severe respiratory compromise and distress. Rabbits often mask any symptoms of illness and may only start showing obvious symptoms once the disease has progressed to advanced stages; therefore, it is vital that if you are concerned your pet may be suffering from respiratory illness you contact your veterinarian.

Pneumonia in rabbits is caused by the inflammation of the lung parenchyma. The symptoms often include reduced appetite, sneezing or coughing, and lethargy. In severe cases cyanotic mucous membranes, coughing of blood or open mouthed breathing can be seen. This can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or allergens in the home environment.

Symptoms of Pneumonia in Rabbits

The symptoms vary between cases, often depending on the severity, nature and length of affliction, the age and immune-competence of the rabbit.  

  • Anorexia or reduced appetite 
  • Dyspnea and tachypnea
  • Discharge from the nose and eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing and coughing

In advanced or acute cases, the following symptoms may be seen:

  • Recumbency 
  • Shock hypothermia
  • Cyanotic (blue tinged) mucous membranes
  • Coughing of blood
  • Open mouth breathing with neck extension and dyspnea

Causes of Pneumonia in Rabbits

The cause of pneumonia in rabbits can be bacterial, viral or from non-infectious factors in the environment. 

Non Infectious Pneumonia

  • Allergies
  • Smoke, aerosols and dust
  • High ammonia levels from an unclean environment 

Bacterial Pneumonia 

  • Pasteurella multocida 
  • Chlamydia
  • Staphylococcus aureus 

Viral Pneumonia

  • Pleural effusion disease
  • Myxoma virus 
  • Herpes virus

Diagnosis of Pneumonia in Rabbits

Your veterinarian will perform a full clinical examination on your pet and discuss his diet and history with you. Clinical history or symptoms that may indicate pneumonia to your veterinarian are change or reduction in appetite, recent stressors such as change in housing or social environments, anorexia, fever or dyspnea. Your veterinarian will auscultate your pet’s lungs which may indicate the disease. Your veterinarian may choose to do following diagnostic tests: 

  • Blood chemistry to provide a baseline on your pet’s health, particularly beneficial if anesthesia is indicated; in bacterial infections, these may also show sepsis or leukocytosis
  • Urine tests to check for urinary tract health
  • Thoracoscopy may be used to collect tissue biopsies or examine the thoracic cavity
  • Radiographs of the thorax to visualise lung density 
  • Cytology and microbiology investigations may be performed using a nasal, tracheal or bronchial wash which are able to confirm bacterial pneumonia and identify causative bacteria for specific treatment

Treatment of Pneumonia in Rabbits

Treatment for your rabbit will vary depending on the cause of the disease. 

Supportive Care

Your pet will be admitted into the hospital and closely monitored in a quiet, warm environment. As anorexia can quickly lead to hepatic lipidosis or gastric stasis in rabbits, close nutritional support will be given and syringe feeding may be indicated. 

Anti-inflammatories may be given as a form of pain relief, the hematology and chemistry will allow your veterinarian to assess the safety of these drugs as they are contraindicated in pet’s with liver or renal diseases. As dehydration often occurs in this disease fluid therapy can be used to support hydration in your pet. 


The cytology and microbiology results will allow your veterinarian to choose the most effective antibiotic therapy for your pet. He may require systemic antibiotic treatment for 6 weeks or more. Ophthalmologic antibiotic products have been shown to be beneficial when instilled into the pet’s nostril.  

Additional Therapy

In severe cases, oxygen therapy may be considered for your pet. If septicemia and toxemia have occurred intravenous fluid and antibiotic therapy may be indicated.


Abscessation may occur, in these case surgical removal may be necessary via a thoracotomy. Your pet will require a general anesthetic for this surgery, which has risks involved, your veterinarian will be able to discuss these risks with you.

Recovery of Pneumonia in Rabbits

The prognosis for your pet is dependent on the cause of the disease. Unfortunately, in most cases the prognosis is fair to guarded. Your pet will need careful veterinary monitoring and regular revisits following improvement. Recurrent pneumonia is common in pets who do recover. To reduce the chance of reoccurrence the following steps can be taken:

  • Avoiding stressors 
  • Providing excellent nutrition 
  • Good husbandry and use of disinfectants
  • Isolation of affected pets during treatment and the infectious period 
  • Careful control of environment temperature, ventilation and humidity

Pneumonia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Zeppolli and connolli
Mini lop
4 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

stuffy nose

I have bronchitis and pink eye right now. I read that my dogs are in the clear because they cannot catch bronchitis from me. But they can catch pink eye. What about my rabbit though? I have two? Can they catch bronchitis and pink eye from me? If so, they live in my room with me and I’m beyond concerned. One of my rabbits is very lazy but I’m still concerned. I can’t tell if he has symptoms.

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Holland Lop
3 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

runny eyes, stuffy nose,

i have a 3 yr old rabbit who was diagnosed with pneumonia about 3 months ago and i have been giving him his medication ever since, and he isn't getting better. Is it something else? Im getting really worried

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Lionhead (mini)
4 Years
Critical condition
1 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

No appetite
Heavy Breathing
no fever
holding nose up
No reaction to antibiotics

I keep pet rabbits in my flat and have lost 2 rabbits due to infectious pneumonia (autopsy), but couldn't find the direct cause and the 3rd rabbit (4 years old) is symptom free. First rabbit (4 years old) contacted the disease from unknown source and died in just 2 days regardless of the antibiotic treatment (no fever, no sneezing, no mucus, just heavy breathing - holding nose up and no appetite). 3 months later got another rabbit (10 weeks old), but couldn't 100% quarantine it in a 1 room flat. The new rabbit had nasal discharge and mild sneezing from day one which got better but in ~1,5 weeks he suddenly developed similar symptoms and died in pneumonia in 3 days. Got a different kind of antibiotic that time. We are afraid to adopt any new rabbit as a companion for the remaining one which seems to be a symptom free carrier. Any advice? :(

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
That sounds like it may be a nasty viral infection that the remaining rabbit is immune to. I'm not sure that I would bring in any new rabbits, given the recent history of the other two rabbits, sadly.

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Mini Rex Rabbit
3 Weeks
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Skinny, sitting alone

The patient is young kit much smaller then the rest of litter. Sits in the food dish. And is not as active as the rest. I suspect pneumonia. Is there anything I can try before taking to the vet.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1611 Recommendations
If Kit is not thriving at 3 weeks and you feel that she is having breathing problems, that is better to get taken care of sooner rather than waiting, as it can have a terrible outcome. She should see a veterinarian to see what treatment might be needed. I hope that she is okay.

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2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Not Moving

I have a two year old rabbit that doesn't seem to want to move. hell only move to change position and then not move again.He hasn't been going to the bathroom as much, but when he does pee it's really smelly more than usual. Lastly he's been eating but not as much.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
A reduction in appetite and movement is concerning, smelly urine may an indicator of infection or the presence of by products in the urine (ammonia etc…); you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side as some issues like gastrointestinal stasis can be life threatening. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Miniature Lop
4 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Eye Itching
Eye Clouding
Eye Redness

I have a 4 year old rabbit that is breathing very heavy and wheezing. She also has extremely watery eyes and they are very red. She’s been sneezing more than usual the past couple of days and hasn’t been moving much. She has been eating much slower than usual but not any less.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
It sounds like Bunny may have a severe infection like Pasteurellosis (snuffles) which is common in rabbits, you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination and to receive treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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