How To Identify Rabbit Diseases

Rabbits can meet an early death just as fast as they breed. How so? These delicate and furry creatures are extremely susceptible to diseases. It is actually up to you to keenly observe and act immediately the moment you notice the symptoms of the following rabbit diseases.

  • Mucus and discharge on the nose. This is called “snuffles.” You are correct in guessing. This is similar to the common cold and is spelled that way instead of “sniffles.” This disease is caused by bacteria called Pasteurella Multocida. Your rabbit has the snuffles if you observe frequent sneezing and wetness on your rabbit’s nose. This can be treated but you have to separate the sick rabbit from the rest of the breed. Speaking of breed, do not attempt to offer up your pet rabbit for breeding when she is sick with snuffles or any other disease.
  • Mucus, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and lack of appetite. This is called Bordetella and is similar to snuffles. This is a lung infection that attacks the airways of your pet rabbit. It is caused by Staphylococcus Aureus and Chlamydia Spp. Antibiotics will treat the disease but your rabbit will remain a carrier of the disease.
  • Frequent pooping accompanied by blood in the feces. Definitely diarrhea and your pet rabbit can catch any of these deadly to mild forms: Enterotoxemia, Tyzzer’s Disease, Coccidiosis, Mucoid Enteritis, and Bunny Diarrhea. Diarrhea in rabbits is caused by the depletion of the good bacteria in the gut. You need to seek treatment for your rabbit within 24 hours or you are sure to lose your pet to this disease.
  • Redness around the eyelids and the whites of the eyes, bloody nose, lethargy, zero appetite, and very high temperature of up to 106F. This is the dreaded Hemorrhagic Disease a.k.a RVHD or RHD. This is a viral disease, caused by an agent called Calicivirus. RVD can kill an entire breed or herd of rabbit when left untreated. It must also be pointed out that sometimes these symptoms do not manifest and rabbits drop dead one after the other. This disease can be transported through insect bites, rabbit cages that have been inhabited by sick rabbits, and contaminated meat. RVD can survive extreme hot and cold temperatures. This is not fatal to human beings.
  • Inflamed genitals. Aside from inflammation, you will see signs of skin disease similar to eczema on the genitals of the rabbit. The disease is called Syphilis. This is usually the result of breeding with an infected rabbit. You will notice that your rabbit, usually vigorous during breeding, will actually shun the exercise. You don’t need to worry about this disease too much because it can be treated with penicillin. However, you might have to stop breeding your rabbit for a while.
  • Resistance of the doe to feed her young with milk from her teats. This is more likely to fall under a disease called “Mastitis.” The doe’s mammary glands are infected and the milk comes out hard and curdled like cheese. This is painful for the doe and that is why she resists feeding her breed. You must immediately withdraw her from the breed and introduce treatment in the form of antibiotics to prevent the disease from escalating further.

As a rabbit owner, you have to do your best to keep your pet rabbit healthy. Prevention is still the best form of fighting rabbit diseases but you can’t always prevent your rabbit from catching something nasty. Now however, you have the information that you need to know about rabbit diseases. When your rabbit gets sick, you can get the necessary treatment without delay.


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