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What is Runny Nose?

You will be happy to know your rabbit can not catch the human cold from you, therefore you did not give him anything. Runny noses are unfortunately a wide-ranging term used to describe a set of symptoms your rabbit is experiencing without identifying why they are experiencing them. 

There are a few conditions that snuffles can be a symptom of such as bacterial infection, lower respiratory infection, foreign bodies, dental disorders and chronic runny eyes or noses. It will be important to pay attention to the many other symptoms your rabbit is experiencing to determine if a veterinarian visit is in order or not.

Runny noses in rabbits is a common symptom and is thought to be found in up to 10% of all rabbits. There are many possible causes of your rabbit’s runny nose, some are more serious than others.

Runny Nose Average Cost

From 208 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$350

Symptoms of Runny Nose in Rabbits

Symptoms will vary greatly depending on what the cause of your rabbit’s snuffles are. The main symptom you may notice your rabbit is experiencing is going to be discharge from his nose. This may be anywhere from a thin, clear discharge to a thick white mucus. 

  • Discharge from the nose
  • The discharge may be thick and white
  • The discharge could be clear
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Causes of Runny Nose in Rabbits

The causes of your rabbit’s runny nose will most likely be due to one of the following: respiratory infections (lower which is pneumonia and upper which is Pasteurella), foreign bodies, dental disorders or chronic runny eyes or nose. 

Lower respiratory infection

  • Typically develops as pneumonia in your rabbit 
  • This is a common condition in pet rabbits 
  • Can be caused by many different bacterial infections your rabbit can contract 
  • Change in breathing patterns – You may notice your rabbit begins to have louder and raspy breaths
  • Nose pointed in the air – Your rabbit may begin to point his nose in the air when breathing;  this is done to stretch his neck and get more oxygen (this is a very serious symptom and should be treated quickly) 
  • He may appear to be: listless (no energy, inactive and no enthusiasm) , anorectic (losing weight, not eating), dyspneic (difficulty breathing or catching his breath), and develop a fever

Upper respiratory infection

  • Referred to as snuffles
  • Caused by the bacteria Pasteurella multocida
  • This can be acute or chronic – it is an inflammation of your rabbit’s mucous membranes
  • Not found in the lungs, but rather in the upper respiratory tract unlike pneumonia which is in his lungs
  • There may be a thin discharge from his nose or eyes 
  • The fur of his front legs may be matted or he might have thinned out fur due to the discharge from his eyes and nos
  • Sneezing and coughing 
  • Abscess under the skin 
  • The bacterial infection can also move to his genitals, ears, and internal organs

Foreign bodies

  • Runny noses may occur when your rabbit gets something lodged in his nasal passage
  • Growths in your rabbit’s nose or nasal passage can also be the cause of his symptoms

Dental disorders

  • This can be a common cause of runny nose in rabbitsMost often found in older rabbits
  • There can be problems with his teeth, roots, jaw bone and more
  • There may also be abscesses in his mouth
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Diagnosis of Runny Nose in Rabbits

If you suspect your rabbit’s runny nose is more than just an acute issue and you are concerned, bringing him to his veterinarian may be necessary. It will be important to share with your rabbit’s veterinarian what symptoms you have noticed, the timeline of when the symptoms began and if there may be any other causes for his symptoms.

Your veterinarian will want to perform a physical examination to check for any lumps, bumps, fever and more. However, if it is not possible to determine the cause of his runny nose from a physical exam, testing may be necessary. Your veterinarian may want to do an x-ray or use other imaging tools to determine if your rabbit’s teeth are the problem, if there is mucus in his lungs, an upper respiratory infection, and more.

A sample of the discharge coming from your rabbit’s nose or eyes may be takenl to test for the specific bacterial infection he is dealing with. Blood work can also be taken to be used alongside x-rays for confirmed diagnosis of infections or other underlying causes of the runny nose.

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Treatment of Runny Nose in Rabbits

Treatment of your rabbit’s symptoms will be dependent on the cause of his symptoms. Your veterinarian will discuss options with you depending on what they find. 

Upper or lower infections

If your veterinarian finds your rabbit is suffering from an upper or lower respiratory infection antibiotics will most likely be the course of action. There are a variety of antibiotics that may be trialed, however some are more often use than others.

Baytril and Orbax are 2 of the more well-known antibiotics used to treat “nuffles. These medications can be used in high doses; there are some possible side effects but rarely are they seen in rabbits. 

Treatment with antibiotics does not cure the infection, rather it keeps it at bay for the time being. Up to 8 weeks of treatment is necessary to treat your rabbit’s condition completely. Another option for treatment of Pasteurella is to euthanize the rabbits that are infected from rabbits that are not. This allows for isolating the rabbits not infected and prevent future outbreaks.

Foreign bodies

Foreign body removal is easier and has a relatively quick treatment option. In the event the item can be seen and removed without causing your rabbit any pain, you can do that. However, if you cannot see anything in his nose, but suspect that might be the issue your veterinarian can find it and remove it once your pet is put under anesthesia. The same can be done for polyps or growths as needed.

Dental disorders

If the cause of your rabbit’s runny nose is based on dental concerns, your veterinarian may want to pull any teeth that are causing his symptoms. If it is necessary to treat abscesses of the gums, that may be the course of action as well.

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Recovery of Runny Nose in Rabbits

Follow up will be dependent on what treatment was provided for your rabbit. If he goes through surgery, your veterinarian will discuss follow up appointments as needed. If he is on a course of antibiotics no follow up will be necessary unless symptoms persist. 

It can take up to 8 weeks for your rabbit to get back to his normal self, although he may begin to improve soon after treatment is begun. Changes may need to be made in regards to keeping him isolated from other infected rabbits if infection was the cause of symptoms. Changes may also be necessary if a dental disorder was the underlying issue. These changes may be based on teeth being taken out or abscesses that were treated.

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Runny Nose Average Cost

From 208 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$350

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Runny Nose Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Californian rabbit

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One Year

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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

Running Nose

I noticed my rabbit has a runny nose I took pictures to look closer and it appears to be clear fluid from his nose but also in the third night and it looks green so I can’t really tell.

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. The discharge does look to have a little color to me, and doesn't seem completely clear, in the pictures. It would probably be a good idea to have a veterinarian look at your rabbit, as there may be an infection or inflammation happening. Your rabbit may need medications. I hope that all goes well!

Aug. 6, 2020

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Dwarf

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Five Months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing

my bunny has sneezed since I've had her she seems to sneeze more in her cage. She has some white stuff on her nose. I have noticed she gets bedding and stuff in her nose. She's active playing eating good.

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If your rabbit is in an environment that has a lot of dust from hay, or things that are bothering her nose, she may sneeze more than normal. This may be okay to monitor if she seems like she is doing well otherwise. If she is sneezing a lot more, or you are noticing a discharge, or she is lethargic, and then it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine her and see what might be going on. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Bunny

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Young

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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

Sneezing .White Snot ..Sometimes.

Is there something or somewhere i can get whats (i assume will be medicine ) needed to help him & find him a forever home . cant afford a vet or clinic but dont wanna throw him back to the curb . . esp sick uk. Please help. Ty shawn. Wpb fl.

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, Look for bunny rescues in your area as they can help you rehome your bunny. There is not really any good over the counter medication that you can give to a bunny as they are very sensitvty. It would be best for you to take the bunny to a vet. Most bunny rescues can help you with your bunny and help get him back to feeling well.

July 30, 2020

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Netherland Dwarf

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7 weeks

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Runny Nose.

Both my little bunnies I just got are living outside now. Since the move outdoors they have runny noses and sneezing. It isn’t bad yet but I am concerned.

July 12, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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Hello, So sorry to hear about your bunnies. Upper respiratory issues in bunnies can get very serious. This could be due to the move outside. If you can move them back inside may help. If not, your bunnies will need to see a vet to make sure that this does not progress to something more severe.

July 12, 2020

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Thumper

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Unknow

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2 Months

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Runny Nose
Diarreha
Dscharge From Eyes And Nose
Not Acctive
Died Next Day

I camehome to my bunny limp and he was covered in diarrhea and had cloudy eyes and discharge from both his eyes and mouth we.gave him medication and he died the next day what can I do to ensure my other fives sadety

Sept. 19, 2018

Thumper's Owner

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Flopsy

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Holland Lop

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Clear Drainage Out Of The Nose

My Holland Lop bunny has had temporary clear drainage. She is a big part of our family and we would hate to have her die. Should I bring her to a vet? I have not noticed any sneezing or large amounts of mucus. She has really only done it when she has been scared (when we trimmed her nails).

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Tyrone

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Rabbit - Double haired lion head

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Nasal Discharge

Hi, so for Christmas I had a new rabbit. He was a rescue, so the vets predict him to be around 1 years old. When we first had him we took him for a health check up as he was a rescue, so they recommended having him neutered and he also had some dental problems, so they chose to do both of these operations together around 5 weeks ago. Then maybe two weeks after his ops (was given the all clear at the vets) we decided to get him a girlfriend (as he was neutered)! They are both outdoor rabbits and live in the same hutch (it is very large for both of them don’t worry). They seem to get on fine, always snuggling up to each other! But just after his op he seemed to be a little more vocal, thought he was just a little bit angry at me! But a week ago he seemed to be making noises everytime he breathed, which I knew wasn’t right, so I took him to the vets again. They said he had a nasal infection? But I didn’t notice any discharge, just was making a weird noise! He’s now been on antibiotics for 8 days (which were given by the vet to use for 10 days). He’s still not got any better, and today I noticed he had some white discharge from his nostril which doesn’t seem good at all, almost as if the antibiotics aren’t working! He was meant to go for a check up today but the vets rang to cancel saying there’s only one vet in and only bring in animals for emergencies, so now I have to wait until Tuesday and his antibiotics would have been finished by then but I don’t want him to go without medicine incase he gets any worse. Do you think it will be ok to go over these 10 days to increase it to 13 days? Also I’m very worried that it could be the horrible psteurella! My other rabbit seems fine though (the girl) and they’re still in the same hutch together because the vet didn’t mention anything about separating them, but now I’m worried it could be contagious to her!

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Joy

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Lionhead Dutch mix

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Runny Nose
Weepy Eye
Clear Nasal D
Wet Corners Of Mouth

My foster rabbit developed a yellow/green runny nose and wet mouth/chin. We took her to the vet and they did and X-ray and later trimmed down sharp points in their teeth. However they never tested her for any illness. Now my own rabbit has one slightly weepy eye, a little bit of wetness in the corners of her mouth and a super minor, clear runny nose. Has she caught something from the foster? I’m worried this is the very early stage of an infection but I know dental is a big possibility.

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Bee

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Holland Lop

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10 Weeks

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Watery Nose

I have a holland lop bunny that I got a week ago. We went to the vet to get him established and a health check up when I first got him and the vet did notice his watery nose. He told me that this could be concerning and to watch out for discharge. It has been about a week since we have seen the vet and there is no discharge and he is still eating and pooping and I haven’t heard a sneeze. I am still worried for him and don’t want it to get worse. How long should I wait to see if his nose clears up before revisiting the vet?

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Miss Fluffy

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Lionhead Rabbit

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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

Fair severity

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2 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Discharge From Nose
Occasional Snezing
Snoring In Sleep

My rabbit has been snoring in her sleep for a while now, and it doesn't seem to be causing a problem. She sneezes a fair bit too, but the vet said she seems alright. Today I noticed a clear discharge from her nose, and I think I've seen it a few times before. Her nose is often wet. She's eating and drinking normally, and nothing odd has been happening, so I'm just wondering if I should be concerned? Thank you for your time.

Runny Nose Average Cost

From 208 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$350