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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.

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Runny Nose Average Cost

From 208 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$350

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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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Tochtli

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Silver Fox

dog-age-icon

3 Months

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

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing
Running Nose

My bunny has a bit of ongoing wetness around his nose (only his nose and not his paws), it's clear and watery, i can hear his breathing if i put my ear next to his nose but nothing weird when listen to his lungs, he sneezes a few times throughout the day but apart from that he's eating, pooping and playing just fine, he's freerange and i have tile flooring, i try to sweep as often as i can and refrain from using cleaning products, two people in my house smoke a lot but not near him and we have other pets but he's not in contact with them. Could this be something caused by the enviroment, like some kind of allergy or should i worry about something more serious? I was also wondering about treating rabbits with homeopathic medicine, is it safe?

Aug. 24, 2018

Tochtli's Owner

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1 Recommendations

Homeopathy has been proven to be ineffective in numerous studies and the one study which proved it works has never been able to be replicated, it is nothing more than sugar pills; in short, they wouldn’t cause any harm but don’t waste money either. A runny nose may be related to infections (Pasteurellosis among others), allergies, chemical irritants (cigarette smoke included) among other causes; I cannot say without examining Tochtli whether there is an infection or not, but it would be good to visit a Veterinarian before the weekend to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 24, 2018

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benny

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Lop

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3 Months

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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

Sneezing
Discharge Out Of Right Nostril

i have a 3 month old lop bunny and he has recently had clear/white discharge coming out of one nostril. i have heard him sneeze but his breathing is the same and not loud. he does not have any other signs of illness. he recently got a new hutch, im wondering what could be wrong could he have an infection in only one nostril? Read more at: https://wagwalking.com/rabbit/condition/runny-nose

Aug. 23, 2018

benny's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Sometimes infections may start with discharge from only one nostril, you should keep an eye on him but it would be ideal to visit your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side. Without examining him I cannot confirm that it is an infection, allergy, foreign object or another issue (dental etc…). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 23, 2018

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Tochtli

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Silver Fox

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2 Months

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing
Running Nose

My bunny has a bit of wetness in his nose, it's clear and watery, he sneezes a few times throughout the day but apart from that he's eating, pooping and playing just fine, he's freerange and i have tile flooring, i try to sweep as often as i can but i wonder if maybe this happens because of the dust?

Aug. 14, 2018

Tochtli's Owner

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1 Recommendations

Allergies, infections, chemical irritants (from cleaning products) among other causes may result in a runny nose and sneezing; if there is a lot of nasal discharge and the paws are wet from wiping the face you should think about visiting your Veterinarian to ensure that there isn’t a respiratory tract infection. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 14, 2018

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Luna

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New Zealand

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6 Weeks

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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

Sneezing
Thick-Ish White Nose Discharge

My bunny, 6-7 weeks old, has white discharge coming from her nose and she sneezes alot, she still eats alot and is still super energetic but she doesn't drink as much water. Could it be a health concern to her? I recently lost a bunny which also had the same discharge, the symptoms were worse and she didn't eat or drink at all. I noticed that this one nibbles on her teeth when I pet her, is it normal?

July 16, 2018

Luna's Owner

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0 Recommendations

A thick nasal discharge is an indicator for an upper respiratory tract infection, you should visit your Veterinarian as soon as possible for an examination and a course of antibiotics (if they confirm the infection). There isn’t anything I can recommend for you to do at home for this. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 17, 2018

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Kia

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Lion Head

dog-age-icon

2 Months

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

Wet Nose

Hello! I just took Kia home for about a week and I noticed that her nose is all the time wet. The fur around her nostrils is also a bit wet. No sneezing, no discharge, clear eyes. She's alert an playful. The only things I noticed is that she doesn't like to sleep in her hide house and sleeps outside (no bedding and around 18 degrees Celsius) and doesn't really like hay (in Mauritius is extremely difficult to find hay and they are mostly eating pellets, but I managed to find in 1 petshop on the island). Can it be because of the temperature? Can it be because of the hay? Thanks a lot!

July 12, 2018

Kia's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Any wet nose in rabbits is concerning, even without discharge or sneezing Pasteurellosis or similar infections is concerning; at the moment I don’t think the temperature is an issue since 18℃ is a good temperature for a rabbit’s environment. It is important that you are feeding a good quality hay and that there is an appropriate housing in place; you should visit your Veterinarian to ensure that there are no signs of infection, allergies or anything else concerning. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-health/rabbit-snuffles/ https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-housing/ https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-diet/

July 13, 2018

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Lola

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Bunny

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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

Mild severity

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3 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Nasal Discharge

Hi! My bun sneezed a couple of times last week but stopped after a day. Today I discovered a small amount of clear discharge coming from her nose. I'm worried she's sick but just isn't showing it. She's still running and jumping and cuddling her sister.

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Francois

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Havana

dog-age-icon

8 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

Loud Breathing
Sneezing
Runny Nose

Hi there. Looking for help! My 8 year-old Havana rabbit Francois has had loud breathing for some time but my vet told me it’s notjing to worry about at his annual checkup last February. In the last month he’s had a few sneezing fits, and now he’s sneezing and has a runny nose (clear discharge). He’s still very active, eating, drinking, and playing. I’m in a remote location at the moment and can’t get him to an exotic vet for a week and a half. What can I do? Should I be concerned? Thank you!

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Walter

dog-breed-icon

Netherland

dog-age-icon

3 Months

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

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Runny Nose

Hello, Can some please help?? I've got a rabbit which is rougly 3 month old, he's male and has had a minor runny nose, however you can hear weezing, I wouldn't say it's really bad but he has been sneezing quite a lot. He did used to sleep in his bed but I moved this into his cage and he stopped going in so I moved it on the outside again (he's an indoor rabbit), other than that he's been eating and running around fine. I do have an appointment today. But as always i'm thinking about the worst case scenario and hoping it's not too serious. If antibiotics are required I will buy them, but I would just like to ask whether anyone knows how much antibiotics cost for small animals?

Runny Nose Average Cost

From 208 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$350

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