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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 25225
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My rabbit is wheezing badly with running nose and eyes. Why?

Customer Question

Put him in open cool air at living room while he is wheezing badly with watering eye and stuffy nose. What could be causing this?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 6 months ago.

Numerous infectious diseases are associated with disease of the upper respiratory tract in rabbits; they're due mainly to bacterial agents, but in rare cases, viral, fungal, or parasitic pathogens may be involved as well. These agents also produce lower respiratory disease with classic clinical signs and presentation of pneumonia. The most significant pathogen is Pasteurella multocida and we also find Bordetella, Pseudomonas, and staphylococcus species.

Treatment of Pasteurella should be our focus. Various treatment options are reported in the literature. Infection was eliminated in 7 of 8 rabbits treated with enrofloxacin (Baytril) at 5mg/kg subcutaneously every 12 hours for 14 days. Enrofloxacin given in the drinking water (50-100mg/L) for two weeks was similarly effective if our rabbits drank enough so that the daily intake of the drug was greater than 5mg/kg. Ciprofloxacin (20mg/kg) by mouth daily for 5 days eliminated infection in groups of rabbits in studies. Finally, one researcher reported success in control of chronic cases of confirmed pasteurellosis using enrofloxacin (5-10mg/kg orally every 12 hours) or chloramphenicol (50mg/kg orally every 12 hours) for up to 2-3 months.

These antibiotics are available from your vet who can also show you how to administer enrofloxacin by injection - my therapy of choice. Your rabbit needs the attention of a rabbit vet at your earliest convenience. If you can't find such a vet, feel free to share our conversation with a generalist vet who may not be up to date on how these rabbits are addressed. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.