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Rabbit’s Nose Discharge Doesn’t Respond To Medication

What’s going on if medication doesn’t seem to help a rabbit’s illness?

Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: July 12, 2013, 3:10 p.m. EDT

rabbit sitting outside
This rabbit is healthy, but rabbits are prone to respiratory infections, so owners need to watch for any signs of infection.

Q: I have a bunny that is now a year and a half old. I recently brought her to the vet because she had white discharge coming from her nose and had stopped eating. The vet gave me Critical Care and Baytril for 10 days to take care of the infections. It's been seven days, and she is now breathing really heavily and her eye is tearing up on the same side as the nostril that had the discharge coming out. What should I do?

A: Unfortunately, pet rabbits are very prone to upper respiratory disease. Signs of respiratory disease include discharge from one or both nostrils, sneezing, watery eyes and difficulty breathing.

We usually assume that a bacterial infection is the cause of respiratory disease, and it is customary to start treating the signs with a commonly used but powerful antibiotic, Baytril.

Due to the intricacies of the nasal and sinus cavities of rabbits, there are many places for bacterial organisms to hide from both our diagnostic methods and our treatments. This can make it difficult to determine which species of bacteria is causing the infection, which in turn can make it difficult to know the best antibiotic to use to destroy the bacteria causing the infection.

When the signs of disease continue despite treatment with an appropriate antibiotic, the best step to take next is to revisit your veterinarian. It may be that antibiotic treatment needs to be continued longer than seven days or another antibiotic maybe necessary.

In a case like you describe, where the signs of disease have only gotten worse, it is extremely important to have your veterinarian recheck your rabbit to determine the next course of action so the situation does not progress to an even more severe stage of infection.

Like this article? Then check out:
Is Your Rabbit Sick?, click here>>
See all veterinary Q&A about rabbits, click here>>
See all rabbit health articles, click here>>
See veterinary Q&A for all small animal pets, click here>>

Posted: July 12, 2013, 3:10 p.m. EDT


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