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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 29034
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My 7.5 year old Lop rabbit developed a cloudiness on her

Customer Question

My 7.5 year old Lop rabbit developed a cloudiness on her left eye back in August. I was on my honeymoon we left my rabbit with my parents for 3 weeks and when we returned, she had the cloudiness in her eye. We took her to a vet and they thought it was
a cataract starting. They did blood work to try and determine if was due to bacterial or E. cuniculi, and all seemed fine, her blood sugar was a little above normal and her white blood cell count was low - they thought this was odd given she was acting normal,
eating, playing, going to the bathroom - and thought it was probably just an error. Now 4 months later I believe she is starting to develop another cateract in her right eye. Her left eye has a much more cloudy/white look to it. She is still acting like her
normal self. Is she just developing cataracts due to age or should I be concerned about other underlying issues??
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Nutmeg. She does have an excellent vet, however, who rightly considered both E. cuniculi and P. multocida to be underlying cataract formation. The cataracts due to these infections result from a tear in the anterior lens capsule. The break is frequently hidden by inflammatory material and it may appears as if only the iris is involved in the inflammatory process (uveitis). If possible, a specialist veterinary ophthalmologist (please see here: should take a look at Nutmeg. Slit lamp biomicroscopy would be necessary to spot and clarify such pathology.

If those infections can be ruled out (not an easy thing to do as they're often found endemically in pet rabbits) therapy to control uveitis with a topical steroid (1% prednisolone acetate) might be considered. Please note that spontaneous cataract formation is rare in rabbits. At 7.5 years of age, an intraocular sarcoma might be considered but I would such a cancer unusual to appear in both eyes within just a few months. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, thank you so much for your response. Would you highly suggest I take her to a specialist - how is the Slit lamp biomicroscopy done? Are there any symptoms I should be watching for that would indicate her having an infection? So far she has been acting very normal - eating, playing, going to the bathroom.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

So many of these infections remain subclinical; her eye changes might be the only indication. While E. cuniculi is often associated with neurologic disease in pet rabbits (vestibular disease: head tilt, ataxia, circular movements, and nystagmus) paresis (weakness) alone is the second most common neurologic sign. P. multocida can affect any tissue in the body and so symptoms vary with the body system involved.

The slit lamp exam is performed with minimal restraint by a technician. You can be present while it's done. I'd like a specialist to take a look at her particularly because early recognition of ocular diseases gives us the best chance at cure or, at least, stopping progression of the destructive disease process. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much, I looked at the site link you sent and there are some specialists near where I live. I will check into these. I felt like I wanted to take her to a specialist but just wanted to make sure. My husband and family kept telling me she was getting the cataract due to age but I'm hearing from you it's probably not due to age?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Correct. Age-related cataracts in rabbits isn't a common finding. You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing.