Uveitis, possible e. cuniculi

Diagnosing and treating rabbit ailments. *Caution! These threads may contain graphic content.*
Posts: 2
Joined: December 20, 2017
Thanks: 2
Thanked: 0 in 0 post
BunnyBucks: 15.00

Uveitis, possible e. cuniculi

Post Number:#1  Unread postby cellophane » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:53 pm


About a month ago, my daughter was given a bunny as a therapy animal. I don't know much of the history except that it was born on a farm and Googling tells me she is a Rex. She is 5 lbs. and 5 mos old.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a couple of what looked like white opaque or milky threads extending into the pupil of one eye. My unprofessional thought was that it was a bacterial infection of some kind, so I called my dog's vet. They don't see rabbits, so I called another local vet. That vet did not have a proper lens for a rabbit, only cats/dogs, but looked and determined it was likely a congenital malformation of the iris as her vision was much reduced. Fast forward to a week and a half later and she is squinting a lot and has some clear discharge. The eye is more pink/cloudy and has that blue opaque sheen around the whole iris (similar to this, but not my pic: There are broken capillaries in the sclera. She does not have other symptoms at this time beyond her eye and maybe in disposition.

So, I call the vet back and they say, "You have to go to the opthamologist." So, because I already had an appointment for me in the city (1 hr away), I took her to the opthamologist. The opthamologist says it's uveitis but will not speculate on the cause other than saying it could be e. cuniculi or it could be eye trauma (and leaving the possibility open that it is something else). They cannot do a blood test there and she does not treat systemic problems... so I am supposed to go to another specialist. They do sell me NSAID eyedrops.

Now, I am a single mom and I am already $200 into this without much information beyond what I could have guessed myself. So, instead of calling the specialist, I go to the farm supply store and I get terramycin ointment for eyes and fenbendazole for goats. That was Monday around noon (Wednesday evening now). The three treatments take care of the redness in the sclera and the eye seems to look a little less sad overall and she seems to maybe see just a little better in that eye than she was. But, now the eye seems to be stuck in that state of being.

Today, bunny was a little less snuggly than she has been (remember we have only really had her for a month...) I am not sure if that is because she is feeling better or worse.

I don't want bunny to suffer but I just can't afford to put much more into this than I have already. I couldn't afford an enucleation if necessary (or maybe even euthanasia), so I am tempted to throw a few more tractor store remedies in. I really want to save it if possible. I know the fenbendazole is supposed to work kind of slowly but I am worried about things getting worse while it takes time to kick in.

TL:DR; What is a good treatment for possible e. cunniculi from a farm supply store? Already using fenbendazole, terramycin eye ointment, and NSAID eye ointment.

I'd like to err on the side of blanket treating possible issues without being very pharmacologically unsafe.

My questions from most pressing to least:
* I found a daily dose for the oxytetracycline, but not a duration. Any ideas here? (I did get syringes to give it intramuscularly and probiotics for offset any GI issues.
* Is it okay to give more than one kind of dewormer at a time? She is on the fenbendazole, but I have ivermectin for my dog and can get piperazine from the store.
* I got Duramycin instead of Liquamycin because it was cheaper and they seem almost the same, a slightly different chemical formula but both oxytetracycline. Is there any reason to pay extra for the Liquamycin?
* It seems that an ophthalmic steroid might be of use here but I can only find Rx ones by Googling. Any hacks here? Hydrocortisone on the fur kind of near the eye?
* I also got MircrocynAH eye treatment. Will this be helpful beyond the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial drops already given?

Thank you for any help/experience! I have never had a rabbit before.

4 years of membership4 years of membership4 years of membership4 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 830
Joined: May 30, 2014
Location: Southwest USA
United States of America
Thanks: 6
Thanked: 259 in 235 posts
BunnyBucks: 4,088.00

Re: Uveitis, possible e. cuniculi

Post Number:#2  Unread postby SableSteel » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:17 pm

I would just stick to what you're doing, with the fenbendazole and terramycin for now. usually e cuniculi comes with a set of symptoms (the only eye problems it caused for me were nystagmus) and Ive not heard of uveitis being a common problem.
Show Breeder & ARBA Registrar

The following user would like to thank SableSteel for this post

2 years of membership2 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 518
Joined: July 12, 2016
Location: snohomish, wa
United States of America
Thanks: 4
Thanked: 127 in 113 posts
BunnyBucks: 2,730.00

Re: Uveitis, possible e. cuniculi

Post Number:#3  Unread postby shazza » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:55 pm

i agree with sable, it sounds like you're doing the right thing. the biggest symptom of e. cuniculi for a lot of people is head-tilt, so if she's not showing that it likely wouldn't be the cause. the eye drops will handle any infection that may have got in the eye and fenbendazole will take care of e. cuniculi if it is the culprit. i would suggest not using ivermectin as from what i understand it isn't as effective on e. cuniculi - it's more for worms and ear mites and some rabbits can be very sensitive to it, so i wouldn't use it unless you need to.

i'm not familiar with oxytetracycline as an intramuscular injection before, but oral doxyclycline is generally given for 5 days to a week. medirabbit may have more information on dosage of your specific medication. the HOCl drops wouldn't hurt, but generally i found that if i'm already giving an antibiotic, they aren't really necessary. it may help give some immediate relief to the eye, but so can a simple saline solution.

she may feel a little off because of all the drugs, but as long as she's eating and drinking and moving around she should be ok. if she starts eating less or stops at all, it can be deadly, so keep some of her favourite treats on hand just in case. good luck!
Last edited by shazza on Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
standard rex, meat/fur mutts
tumblr: @babbits | facebook: @frithyeer.rabbits | ig: @frithyeerfarm

The following user would like to thank shazza for this post

Posts: 2
Joined: December 20, 2017
Thanks: 2
Thanked: 0 in 0 post
BunnyBucks: 15.00

Re: Uveitis, possible e. cuniculi

Post Number:#4  Unread postby cellophane » Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:56 pm

Thank you so much for the feedback!

I guess my main concern and reasoning for injectable antibiotics are thinking in case it is an infection deeper in the eye than say conjunctivitis (but that also is not e. cuniculi). But, I don't actually know how deeply the terramycin is able to effect. I will hold tight for now and hope for the best. Thanks for the tips and expertise!

8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership8 years of membership
User avatar
Posts: 7082
Joined: July 17, 2010
Location: Iowa
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 1052 in 933 posts
BunnyBucks: 36,455.00

Re: Uveitis, possible e. cuniculi

Post Number:#5  Unread postby akane » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:12 am

Unless you are seeing an exotic animal specialist experienced in rabbits you are probably throwing away money visiting various vets but an exotics vet will easily cost you $200 in one visit. Usually around here they cost about $40 just to examine the small animal before they even do tests. The final treatment is the cheap part unless it comes down to surgery. I have used ivermectin as part of the treatment for definite e.cuniculi caused head tilt because it does stop the parasite from doing further damage and only some rabbits that tend to be certain breeds have any issues with it but a 28day course of daily fenbendazole seems to be the better recommendation now to actually kill it without the risk of being sensitive to ivermectin. Secondary bacterial infections are common and I've used powdered feed store tetracyclines orally or there are several bird antibiotics that come in small doses without a vet. Ornacycline and a related product using enrofloxacin (baytril) that I can't remember the name of used to be a commonly available at pet stores before paranoia of people treating their own animals set in so you have to look online now. Many are on amazon, sometimes I use calvetsupply, and there are lots of bird health info sites with links to sources of supplies if you just search an antibiotic along with bird, finch, or pigeon as those are the people normally treated their own flocks. It used to be the standard way to dose gerbils and gerbil pups due to their size and coming in water soluble tablets to put in drinking water for a flock instead of trying to hand medicate birds. Doxycycline is also commonly available in liquid. To measure accurately or if the bottle requires a needle to draw the med you may need to order a 1cc syringe (a few dollars for several off amazon again) or for quick, local options you can usually get diabetic syringes from a pharmacy but the needles don't detach from those. For oral use it's safest to switch the dose to one you've cut the needle off of. They do work in an emergency since feed stores don't sell under 3cc and pet stores don't carry such supplies anymore. The problem is you will have to calculate doses of everything from the concentration of whatever products you find and that's where many get stuck buying, mixing, and giving their own medications. I would assume even if you don't have a suitable scale someone you saw has weighed the rabbit by now and generally doses are listed as mg/kg with 1kg=2.2lbs. I did find one dosage error in this calculator converting between kg and lbs so I double check it now but below the dosage calculation it has the basic dosages, frequency, and routes to administer it along with known warnings or common interactions and then a section on conversion and acronyms used so it's still useful for quick reference .

I would highly suggest continuing treatment directly to the eye until it is fully cleared up in all situations with eye symptoms because vision damage happens quickly and complications can result leading to lifelong recurring issues if you don't surgically remove what remains of the eye. If you already have terramycin you might combine it with flushing the eye out at least periodically using saline or any basic eye washes you can get for human or animal. I used to simply have a contact lens solution rinse that worked (some have more complex ingredients that aren't as good to directly flush the eye) but Vetricyn is an inexpensive product many like to keep on hand lately. It doesn't use anything that could interact with other medications or be toxic if ingested and has a variety of preparations for rinsing wounds, eyes, as gels, etc.... to promote healing, rinse out irritants, and reduce inflammation. Animal type doesn't actually matter from their product list as much as the form it's in for application so the eye rinse for dogs to avoid tear staining can sometimes be found in local pet or feed stores and the bulk livestock sizes are more cost effective if you want to keep extra around. It's good to always have something like that or at least basic saline for minor support and cleaning while you decide if you need to target an infection for treatment. Most eye issues I've actually seen clear up with simple rinsing but you should always be prepared to take quick action if they don't immediately improve because I've also seen infections do permanent damage before even realizing the eye was involved in a fight or accident while treating the other injuries.
Failing might just mean you are trying to climb instead of swim

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest