March 2018
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Woods Cat

Rabbit with an eye infection?

Hey I have a 9 month old mini lop rabbit and today I just noticed she had dried cheeks so i mean they looked like she had wet cheeks and now they have dried. On both sides, I wondered whether it could be an eye infection but her eyes don't seem to have any puss or inflammation so I'm not sure really. We used to use wood shavings in her litter box but have recently moved to wood cat litter (that says its suitable for rabbits) so I don't know whether either of those have caused it or whether she just had something in her eye? So I was just wondering what you thought :) thank you
Also how dangerous are eye infections?

Hi there,

There could be a couple of reasons for your rabbit having watery eyes.

The first reason as you have rightly said is an eye infection such as conjunctivitis, however this only usually tends to affect one eye. Conjunctivitis is a bacterial infection which causes the eye to water and often the eyelid and area around the eye will look red and puffy. This type of infection needs inspection by a vet as bacterial eye problems need to be treated with eye drops by prescription otherwise serious damage to the eye can occur.

The second most obvious reason (and one I would tend to lean towards because it affects both eyes) is that the rabbit has a blockage in it's tear ducts. The tear ducts normally run down the nose to the back of the throat to drain but if they become blocked then the tears can be forced over and out of the eye much like human tears. This is a fairly common problem and can easily happen if the rabbit gets a bit of litter or hay lodged in there. This problem could either rectify itself straight away on it's own or it might require flushing through from a vet.

The third most obvious reason (and again very common) is a dental problem. If rabbits are suffering from dental problems which generally affect the hind teeth that you can't see yourself this can often present itself as a rabbit with runny eyes. Rabbits teeth constantly grow and need wearing down - for the hind teeth this is especially important as if they don't wear down properly they can get sharpened edges or be pushed out of line and start growing in different directions. What often happens is that these teeth push on the tear duct and force it closed so that again the tears fall out of the eye onto the face rather than down the duct. Again this is a vet job.

The last thing which would cause runny eyes are respiratory problems but you'd usually see other signs such as sneezing, etc.

I think the short answer is if she isn't any better in a day or so and still appears to have tears coming down her face is to take her to a vet and get her checked over. You can keep her comfortable by getting some damp cotton wool and gently cleaning the sides of her face for her.

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