Rabbit conjunctivitis is a fairly common condition that can cause serious inconvenience to your pet’s health. The watery eyes in your rabbit are the first symptom of conjunctivitis, although these do not always indicate an infection in your pet’s eyes.
In general, your rabbit’s eyes should look bright and clear. Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the inner or outer surface of the eyelid. It is commonly caused by an allergic condition or a viral infection, and sometimes a bacterial infection is caused.
Watery eyes are often a sign of a problem, be it an eye injury or a medical problem. The true teary eye is similar to what we call conjunctivitis or pink eye in humans.
The watery eye in rabbits implies a swelling of the membrane that covers the eye. The result is that the eye will discharge more water than normal. Often, the fur around the eye will be wet and watery, which is one of the easy signs so we can see that the watery eye may be present. In addition, the watery eye can also be caused by a blocked duct inside the eye.
Causes of conjunctivitis in rabbits
In domestic rabbits it is quite common for conjunctivitis to develop without infection. According to a group of Chinese researchers, in at least 30% of cases of conjunctivitis in rabbits, the condition is caused by allergy or irritation by hay dust instead of infection, although the infection can cause chronic irritation.
If you determine that hay dust is the cause, you should use hay shelves with solid sides so that the dust does not spread when rabbits are eating. Further, you should keep most of the hay stored elsewhere to keep the level of dust near your rabbit low.
Another cause for a rabbit to have constantly watery eyes or chronic conjunctivitis are the swollen roots of the cheek teeth that press on the tear duct. Your veterinarian may need an x-ray to see which teeth are causing the problem, and it may be necessary to remove the teeth with swollen roots.
Some veterinarians believe that the roots of the incisors can be damaged in the first months of your rabbit’s life. This damage is caused by a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D, so it is important to feed your young rabbits with a diet that contains vitamins and minerals.
Infection in other areas of the body
Myxomatosis or upper respiratory infections can cause conjunctivitis in rabbits. In fact, conjunctivitis should never be ignored because it is often the first or only symptom of another dangerous infection. If you are not sure of the cause of your rabbit’s eye secretion, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
How does conjunctivitis occur in rabbits?
The most common clinical signs of conjunctivitis include eye discharge. This secretion can be cloudy, yellow or greenish. Other symptoms include squinting or excessive blinking, as well as redness or swelling around the eyes.
Rabbit conjunctivitis often involves both eyes, but only one eye can be affected in certain conditions. In addition, conjunctivitis can occur with other clinical signs such as a runny nose, sneezing or cough.
First aid of conjunctivitis in rabbits
If your rabbit has red eyes or watery eyes, and you can’t see your veterinarian immediately, don’t be afraid. Many caregivers recommend washing your rabbit’s eyes with chamomile infusion, scrupulously filtered, at warm temperature.
On many occasions, the treatment addresses the specific cause and may include topical and oral medications. Typically, topical gentamicin, tobramycin, chloramphenicol, oxytetracycline, ciprofloxacin or ointments and triple antibiotic ophthalmic solutions are prescribed.
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