**If any of the signs described in this article are like the symptoms your rabbit is having, it is important to visit your vet in case the rabbit has something that can't be seen without special equipment or treatments. (A scratch on the eye will need a special dye to detect, for example, and most likely an antibiotic.)
There are many reasons for rabbits to get eye infections, and it is important for owners to understand that treating the causes is just as important as treating the infection itself. Many causes can be prevented, while others are simply put down to being “one of those things”.
The signs of an eye infection usually consist of a watering eye sometimes with a creamy-like discharge. If the infection is allowed to continue, the area around the eye may begin to inflame and the eye will become redder. The rabbit may also experience a high temperature and have a reduced appetite. Treating the eye infection does depend on the underlying cause.
Blocked Tear Duct
A common cause for eye infections is the blockage of a tear duct. This could be by a foreign object such as pollen, grass seed, dust or grit, however it can also be caused by the roots of the teeth pushing up into the duct, usually because of an injury or abscess.
Removal of the blockage is important, and a vet will need to administer a local anesthetic in order to flush the duct. For foreign objects, this is normally very simple, however for blockages caused by teeth, further surgery may be required.
The rabbit is normally sent home the same day on eye drops and antibiotics in order to clear up any secondary bacterial infections.
Abscesses within the root of the tooth or injuries to the teeth can cause the eyes to become infected. Many vets will instantly assume problems with the teeth when a rabbit is admitted with weepy eyes.
To treat bad teeth, the rabbit will be given a general anesthetic. The teeth are then rasped to remove any sharp edges that are causing pain or damage. Abscesses will need to be drained, and severely damaged teeth are usually removed.
Many rabbits may need to stay overnight at the vets, although if a rabbit is able to stay indoors they could be let home. It is important that the rabbit stays indoors to keep warm, after an anesthetic. Antibiotics will be prescribed to treat bacterial infections and a diet including an increase in hay is usually advised to help wear teeth down naturally.
Bacterial infections can occur for a variety of reasons, including underlying causes such as foreign objects, or problems with teeth, but can also be passed on from other rabbits, or by unknown causes. Antibiotics may help to clear up bacterial infections, although in severe cases palliative care such as fluid therapy may also be necessary.
Conjunctivitis, sometimes known as ‘Pink Eye’, is when the membranes around the eye become irritated and inflamed. It is usually caused by foreign objects, bacteria or allergens. The eyelid may swell shut, and a thick discharge is usually produced. To clear up this kind of infection, antibiotics and eye drops are administered.
Fights, injuries, harsh straw and cancer can all cause eye ulcerations. Ulcers on the eye are extremely painful and the rabbit may appear to be depressed, with a reluctance to play or eat. The antibiotic, chloramphenicol is normally prescribed for rabbits with eye ulcerations.
Welcome to our page! We do our best to provide to-be and current bunny owners up-to-date info on the best care for their house rabbits. When we adopted our first bunny in 2005, there was almost nothing on the internet to tell us how to care for him. Just in the past few years, information has exploded online, and now it can be confusing! We try to simplify it by posting weekly articles on current issues, daily care, concerns, proper feeding, and other info so you can enjoy your house-bun! If you are just finding us, feel free to look through the older posts also. Please email us if you have any questions! Happy bunnies make happy hearts!