Eye infections in Rabbits
Because of their location and considerable size, the rabbit’s eyes are one of its most vital assets for escaping danger. While this is very helpful in the wild, their eye placements leave them wide open for various infections and other health issues.
Given this, it’s essential always to ensure your pet rabbit’s safety and take extra care to safeguard its eyes - as they’re highly vulnerable. Discover several common eye problems a bunny might experience along with proper treatment and preventative care tactics.
Ulcers unfold because of damage to the cornea that can occur from a wound, puncture, or a defect to its eyeball.
It may occur during a fight or from a small piece of material entering the eye and damaging it. This can result in a severe bacterial infection that can affect a small spot or the whole eye, which is very painful for the animal.
If your rabbit is holding his eye shut or is scratching at it frequently, an ulcer could be the cause. The proper treatment involves a visit to the vet who’ll prescribe fluorescein drops paired with antibiotic treatment.
Also known as ‘’pink eye’’, conjunctivitis is a painful inflammation of the pink flesh surrounding the eyes. A rabbit can get this from dirty water, living in an unclean environment, or generally poor conditions.
To treat this rabbit eye infection, a specialist will prescribe a special cream or antibiotic eye drops.
Eye infections in rabbits are often caused by abscesses, which are very similar to ulcers. Abscesses can result from punctures or cuts to the eye, which can stoke swelling directly under the eye area.
Foreign bodies entering the rabbit’s eyes can cause the most problems, such as bedding, straw, grass, or anything else. Given these items are usually lightweight, it’s difficult to see them right away until it’s too late.
An iris prolapse is not very common in rabbits. This condition occurs when the iris sticks out through the cornea and appears as a visible bump on the animal’s eye surface.
This is the least common eye infection in rabbits. Eye proptosis is a severe condition that causes bulging of the bunny’s eyeballs, often causing the animal’s eye or eyes to pop out. There are a few causes of this affliction, including a physical injury, head or socket deformity, or even a tumor.
Different Treatments Available
If you suspect that your rabbit is suffering from an eye infection, even if it appears to be relatively benign, it’s best to consult a veterinarian right away. Doing so will help you avert any further damage and prevent it from spreading.
Here are a few treatment options for several of the aforementioned eye infections:
- Abscesses: If your bunny has an abscess in its eye, the vet will drain out the eye. They may use a scalpel or a needle to pierce the abscess and gently squeeze out the infected pus. After, the vet will either prescribe some antibiotics, depending on the severity or send you home with eye drops
- Rare Conditions: Depending on the condition, your rabbit may need more serious care. In the case of proptosis, the eye is typically removed or requires surgery
- Foreign Bodies: If you see some foreign material stuck in your bunny’s eye, try removing it using a cotton swab, saline rinse, or another form of eye lubrication. If that doesn’t work, take them to the vet as soon as possible
- Conjunctivitis: Normally this is treatable with a regular application of eye drops and often isn’t serious
In situations like this, it’s worth looking into pet insurance for your rabbit. Most of these insurance plans cover a wide range of illnesses, including other common rabbit diseases. Moreover, it offers owners peace of mind knowing they can provide the best rabbit eye care possible.
How To Prevent Bunny Eye Infections
While we can’t entirely prevent some issues, you can take a few steps in terms of rabbit pet care that can help.
- Keep a close watch. If you see anything wrong with the rabbit’s eyes, or if you notice them often scratching it with their paw - take them to the vet
- Ensure that the environment in which your bunny is living is well-maintained and clean. Regularly clean out its cage and change its water daily
- During playtime, make sure to safeguard their eyes and avoid using sticks, or any other sharp objects
- If you’ve small children, monitor their behavior towards the rabbit, so they aren’t handled too roughly
- Diet is also a vital factor in your rabbit’s ocular health, mainly because their eyes and teeth are closely related. Therefore, it’s essential to prevent any dental diseases by feeding a high fiber diet with adequate roughage
Pet rabbits should always be kept under close watch, especially if they’re allowed to roam free at home. For their safety, it’s recommended to keep them mainly indoors. Bunnies should follow a healthy, balanced diet, be up to date with all the vaccinations, and have access to regular health check-ups. All this can contribute to a long and healthy lifespan of a rabbit and reduce vet visits.
While all of this can sound costly since exotic vet visits aren’t cheap, especially rabbit pet care - having insurance is very helpful in alleviating the stress that can accompany moments like these.