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Rabbit’s Eye Scratched By Wildlife

What are the concerns if a rabbit’s eye is scratched by wildlife, such as a fox or raccoon?

Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: November 21, 2013, 9 a.m. EST

rabbit with toys
© Courtesy Dayna DeCarlo
Rabbits that live in your house are safe from anattack by wild animals.

Q: Three days ago we bought a 10-week-old bunny. He is a Jersey Wooly we named Apollo. While we were at work yesterday, it appears we had a visitor that killed one of our chickens. I think it may have gotten a claw into the bunny cage and maybe scratched Apollo’s eye. The eye is pretty well closed shut/matted. He was very thirsty last night after we got him in the house. I’m wondering if something scratched/grabbed at him while he was drinking. He doesn’t seem to be hurting, it just looks terrible. We moved him into a cage in the house while we are in the process of making a different cage. I’m just wondering if a bunny has good "healing powers” like a horse does, or is this something I should take him to see a veterinarian for? This is our first bunny. I’d appreciate any input you may have.

A: You do not say what part of the United States you live in, or even if you live in the United States. In many areas of the United States, if this happened to a rabbit, the first thing anyone would say to you is immediately go to a veterinarian. The most important reason is that wild animals carry rabies virus. Rabies virus is deadly to almost any animal that gets infected. And rabies is transmitted to people who are bit, scratched or even in contact with animals infected with rabies.

Dogs, cats, raccoons, foxes and bats are all the types of wildlife that can carry rabies and would also be likely culprits that would kill your chickens and try to kill your rabbit. If you are in a rabies area, this is nothing to fool with. Going to your veterinarian is of utmost importance.

If rabies is not a problem in your area, it is still important to visit your veterinarian. The scratch could involve the tissue around the eye or, more seriously, on the cornea. If the cornea does not heal properly, your rabbit may lose sight in that eye. Corneal scratches are painful and can heal very slowly. For these reasons, you should visit your veterinarian as soon as it is possible.

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Posted: November 21, 2013, 9 a.m. EST


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Scary.
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 11/23/2013 11:26:57 PM
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