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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11199
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Hello Anna, One of our bunnies has been sneezing a lot recently

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Hello Anna,

One of our bunnies has been sneezing a lot recently and we suspect that she might have a cold. We have not intervened with anything, yet, and we are wondering what would be the wisest thing to do at this point.

Thank you,

Hello again, Saso. I'm sorry to hear that your bunny isn't well. Some additional information will help me determine what's going on.

Besides the sneezing, does Fleckie have any other symptoms - discharge from the eyes or nose, appetite loss, lack of energy, etc.?

What kind of bedding/litter do you use in her cage?

Does she eat hay?

Thank you.

Hi again,

It looks like you went offline without seeing my request for information. I was trying to narrow down what Fleckie's problem might be, but I don't want you to wait, so I'll go ahead and answer without knowing those things.

Rabbits don't get colds the same way we humans do. Our colds are caused by a virus, and we just have to make the symptoms better with over-the-counter medicines and wait for them to pass. Rabbits get bacterial respiratory infections. They do not go away, but usually get worse, often progressing to pneumonia, if they aren't treated with prescription antibiotics. We often refer to these infections as snuffles. However, respiratory infections often produce more symptoms than sneezing. Often, there will be discharge from the nose or eyes, a bit of appetite loss, and some lethargy.

There are a number of causes of sneezing besides snuffles. Of course, there's always the possibility this is the beginning of snuffles, but usually, you would have seen more symptoms. I would continue to keep a close eye on her for any other symptoms. Let's look at some other possibilities.

Rabbits can develop allergies. Among the most common are allergies to bedding. Wood shavings are the usual culprits. Cedar and pine shavings can actually damage the respiratory system, and should never be used. Other shavings can cause problems in certain sensitive rabbits. If there's any dust on the hay or straw, that can also cause sneezing and allergies in some rabbits.If you're not already using a paper-based bedding, I suggest changing this particular rabbit's bedding to one, such as CareFresh.

Another cause of sneezing with no other symptoms is that a foreign particle has gotten into the nostril. A small piece of hay or straw is usually the problem. A vet would have to remove it.

A polyp, abscess, or tumor in the nose can also cause sneezing. so can a dental problem.

It would be best to have a vet examine the rabbit. An x-ray would be needed to detect foreign objects or growths in the nose. If nothing is found, you can rest easy that the rabbit simply has allergies. Here is the link for a directory of rabbit vets:

If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope Fleckie will be fine.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

- she has a wet nose, it might be from a nose discharge
- her appetite is as it used to be (good). She eats orchard grass hay, alfalfa hay, and fresh vegetable/fruit
- she moves around less than she used the past month, she used to limp a bit, but she does not exhibit any limping anymore. In general, she is moving around less than her brother.
- the sleeping area (where bunnies do not seem to spend much time anyway) has orchard grass hay on the floor. The rest of the hutch has bare wood boards with patches of orchard grass hay. The litter box has pine shavings.

You can change the pine shavings to a paper-based litter to see if that helps. But if it doesn't make a difference, she'll need to see a vet. I don't like to stall when a rabbit has any kind of respiratory symptoms - I see a vet right away. If it's infection, the best chance of curing it is to treat it early. I've seen too many develop pneumonia and die, or develop chronic sinus infections, which cannot be cured. But, Fleckie is your rabbit, so you'll need to make the decision as to whether you want to try a different litter first, or see a vet right away. I hope that whatever you decide, it will work out well.

Anna and other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you, Anna.


You're welcome.