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What is Snuffles (Pasteurellosis)?

If your rabbit is suffering from the snuffles, you may notice him develop watery eyes, a runny nose and sneezing often. This is typically caused by an infection of his tear ducts or nasal sinuses. 

Due to the symptoms being generalized, it may be somewhat difficult to identify what your rabbit’s concern is. His symptoms may mimic other conditions rabbits can suffer from such as respiratory diseases, dental concerns or a poorly ventilated hutch. 

If this infection is left untreated it can result in abscesses, blindness, and can travel to your rabbit’s ears, eyes, reproductive organs and other organs. It is important to be vigilant about getting him to the veterinarian quickly if you suspect snuffles.

The snuffles are caused by the bacterium pasteurellosis, which your rabbit may have in his own body or encounters. It presents as a runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing. This is relatively common and not typically life threatening.

Snuffles (Pasteurellosis) Average Cost

From 396 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$450

Symptoms of Snuffles (Pasteurellosis) in Rabbits

Most of the symptoms identified will be general to multiple conditions, however below are some things to look for.

  • Runny eyes – tear ducts can become clogged resulting in even more discharge
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Head tilting – due to neurological damage, your rabbit may develop a head tilt
  • Skin sores
  • Matted fur – your rabbit may rub his runny nose and that discharge mats the fur on his paws
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Causes of Snuffles (Pasteurellosis) in Rabbits

The cause of the snuffles in this case is contact with the bacterium pasteurellosis. This is a bacterium that naturally occurs in rabbits, however it can turn into a problem. Due to this bacterium being so highly contagious, it is easy for rabbits to spread the infection to one another. While some rabbits are immune to this bacterium, there is still a large amount that are not.

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Diagnosis of Snuffles (Pasteurellosis) in Rabbits

If you suspect your rabbit may have a case of the snuffles, a visit to his veterinarian will most likely be in order. It will be important to share with your veterinarian what signs and symptoms you have noticed and for how long. The veterinarian may want to know if your rabbit has been around other animals who appeared to be sick or have similar symptoms.

A physical exam will most likely be performed to identify any obvious reasons for his snuffles. Your veterinarian will want to rule out diet and housing as possible culprits for his symptoms as well. Further tests may be requested including bloodwork and samples of any discharge. These tests will confirm if pasteurella is the cause of your rabbit’s problems or not. 

At times the veterinarian may attempt to make a diagnosis based solely on history and physical, however that will not guarantee your veterinarian identified the correct bacteria. X-rays and other imaging tools may be utilized as well to determine if there are any other possible symptoms of the bacteria.

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Treatment of Snuffles (Pasteurellosis) in Rabbits

Treatment will begin with antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection. These medications can be administered for up to a few months to fully treat the infection. Certain antibiotics can be dangerous for rabbits, so it will be necessary to find a veterinarian that is well versed in the antibiotics that are safe for rabbits. 

To treat clogged tear ducts, your veterinarian may flush his tear ducts in the office and teach you how to do it at home. If your rabbit is experiencing neurological symptoms, those will be treated to keep him comfortable also. If there are any abscesses found because of the infection, those may have to be surgically removed as well.

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Recovery of Snuffles (Pasteurellosis) in Rabbits

Follow up will be ongoing for the remainder of your rabbit’s life as this disease can go dormant. Your veterinarian will direct you as to how often you should bring him in for a checkup. It will be important to stay on top of any medication management as they can be long term. Feeding changes may be necessary if your rabbit is not eating and you must feed him with a syringe until he is stronger.

Keeping his environment clean and free of any contamination will be important to avoid further infection. Isolating any other infected animals will be necessary as well. Your rabbit’s prognosis is good if the treatment is begun immediately. Antibiotics may work quickly and rapidly clear up his infection, however, it may also be a longer-term process.

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Snuffles (Pasteurellosis) Average Cost

From 396 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$450

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Snuffles (Pasteurellosis) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Thumper

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Lionhead

dog-age-icon

4 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

My rabbit was treated for Snuffles 2 months ago. Now his runny nose is back. He's 4.5 years old, Lionhead. Does he need to be treated again or is this normal with snuffles? Also, we've just gotten a new rabbit, but they are separated at this time. What do I need to do to clean and disinfect the cage to make sure the new rabbit doesn't catch this if we treat again?

Aug. 21, 2018

Thumper's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Snuffles is a common name for a bacterial infection, and there can be a viral contagious component to it. If he is showing signs again, it would be best to have him seen and treated by a veterinarian, and keeping the cage clean with a good antiseptic cleaner will be enough to prevent the spread of most common viruses.

Aug. 21, 2018

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Hops

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Lionhead

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Labored Breathing
Congestion
Congestion, Labored Breathing

My 8-year-old lionhead was prescribed 1.7ml Trisuprim 2x daily and 1 drop Tobramycin per eye 3x daily. He does not have any eye discharge anymore. Prior to getting his meds, Hops was sneezing and had congestion, labored breathing. Now that he finished his medications, the labored breathing continued but all else improved. I am not able to bring him to his Veterinarian at this time due to financial difficulties on my part. I have been reading and researching what I can give my Hops for him to stop the congestion. I cannot bear to lose my lionhead since we lost his sister (Dillon) 3 months ago to brain cancer. I would like to ask what OTC meds can I purchase from the drugstore to improve his congestion. He continues to have good appetite with his regular food (pellets and fresh veggies) despite his congestion. Thank you very much.

Aug. 20, 2018

Hops' Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Rabbits don’t mix with over the counter human medications with many medications being toxic to rabbits; without examining Hops it is difficult to determine whether there is still an infection present or if there is still some recovering to do. I would monitor Hops for a day or two more to see if there is any overall improvement or change in condition and return to your Veterinarian (or just call them) to say he is still congested and they may prescribe something for you to pick up. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 20, 2018

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Furbie

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Dutch

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4 Years

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

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing
Sneezing White Discharge

Hello, My rabbit's name is Furbie and he is 4. 3 years old.I had taken him to the vet for his routine check up and she examined him thoroughly,and he was fine just had a slight fungal infection for which she prescribed a spray but recently I observed him having a bout of sneezing for about 20-30 seconds where in he removed white sticky paste from his nose and yesterday for about 15-20 seconds again he had a bout of sneezing and removed the same white sticky paste, we assumed it could be the fumes of the anti fungal spray so stopped applying it..He is very active,playful, eating well..seems normal..no rattling sound or anything..I have spoke to my vet however can't understand the severity of the situation, she said we can observe for a couple of days more and get an x-ray removed to rule out. Any suggestion or advice is welcome :)

Aug. 6, 2018

Furbie's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Without examining Furbie I cannot determine whether the sneezing and nasal discharge is associated with the fungal infection or if there is Pasteurellosis or another infection present; you should keep an eye on Furbie for the next day or two to see if there is an increase in severity, but return to your Veterinarian regardless. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-health/rabbit-snuffles/ (check the photos)

Aug. 6, 2018

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Wilber

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Minni rex

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing Coughing Gagging

My rabbit is sneezing coughing and gagging grinding teeth and not eating or drinking much does he have snuffles? His breathing is labored and he seems very uncomfortable but still jumping around his hut and cages

July 24, 2018

Wilber's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Wilber may have a bacterial or fungal infection, and it sounds like he needs some help in getting that treated. It would be best if he saw a veterinarian, as they can assess him and get him any treatment that he might need.

July 24, 2018

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Little Jay

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Dutch

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1 Year

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
Running Nose
Wet Nose
Nose Discharge

I’m not sure if my rabbit has the sniffles. He has always been a loud breather since I got him at 1 month. He also has always had a runny nose and watery eyes with eye boogers. Could he had it?

July 15, 2018

Little Jay's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

If Little Jay has a wet nose (with or without wet front feet) it may be an indicator of Pasteurellosis; allergies or chemical irritants may also cause similar symptoms. You should have Little Jay examined by your Veterinarian to determine the cause and to prescribe treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 16, 2018

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Fluffy

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mini rex

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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

Snuffles

My rabbit Fluffy has a runny nose, keeps sneezing, and makes weird noises when she breathes. Do you think she has the snuffles? And, what can I do to make her feel better?

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Biscuit

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Cross

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

Running Nose

Biscuit had the same problem last year and seemed to clearly up quicker than this year . He’s sneezing , runny nose and eyes . Nose discharge is quite thick on days . He has baytril twice a day , metacam once aday and I use an nebuliser twice a day with f10 . What else can I do ? Been on baytril 6 weeks now

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Noelani

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Holland Lop

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Pasteurella

Two of my four house rabbits suddenly passed away with no symptoms whatsoever, twelve days apart. They (Lionhead and LionLop mix) had been their active and playful selves right up until bedtime and then gone in the morning. We had necroscopies done and it was determined to be an aggressive strain of Pasteurella Septicemia. No clue as to what triggered it. The remaining two rabbits (Holland Lops) were treated with antibiotics, one for 30 days and the other who showed some faint symptoms part way through was treated for 45 days on a stronger antibiotic. Both remaining rabbits seem clear and healthy for the last three months since. What is their future prognosis? Can they be bonded with new rabbits since they both lost their bond mates? Is it safe?

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Floppy

dog-breed-icon

Mini lop

dog-age-icon

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

Sneezing
Runny Nose
Runny Eyes

My rabbit is probably around 7 years old (I’m not 100% sure). I got him when I was younger, and I noticed that he seemed to have a breathing problem. He was often very snotty, and would sneeze a fair amount. His nose and eyes would run. I’ve recently come home from college and done some research on it. I’ve upgraded him to a much larger cage, give him fresh greens every day along with Oxbow hay and pellets, and have switched him to a different bedding type. His symptoms haven’t gone away (I thought maybe it could be allergies to something in his food or bedding, but I’ve changed all of that). He has no problems with appetite, head tilt, or anything, and is still a very lively and loving bun. Could it be snuffles? What should I do?

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Spanky

dog-breed-icon

Lionhead

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Snuffles
Snuffles Neurological

Hi, I have Lionhead Rabbit 2 years and 3 months, my vet indicated that he has snuffles and that probably it will last long and I will need to give him antibiotics (Baytril). He told me that he cannot give another antibiotic as it may harm the rabbit- he lost weight. Do you have any opinions/experiences about this? Apart this my rabbit seems to have a neurological problem ( Vets indicated that they cannot do anything about this) and is not walking and after that snuffles developed, he is not eating on his own.

Snuffles (Pasteurellosis) Average Cost

From 396 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$450

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