Pasterella "snuffles" in rabbits

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Duck Survivalist

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I bought 2 rabbits recently and had them in quarinteen but looks like 1 is sick, a female started to have runny eyes and and now they're goopy. She doesn't have any other symptoms like runny nose and sneezing.

I had another one of my rabbits start sneezing alot and she had some white discharge, I moved her to quarinteen and I don't see discharge anymore or sneezing, her nose looks alittle wet and that crease but I don't know if I consider it runny.

Should I still cull these 2 bunnies tomorrow?

My own female that I mentioned was next to my other female who has a slight wet crease/nose but nothing else, she does have her first litter of baby's from 2 days ago and the baby's are alive and seem fine. I feel like if my other doe was truly sick the baby's would be dead.
 
I bought 2 rabbits recently and had them in quarinteen but looks like 1 is sick, a female started to have runny eyes and and now they're goopy. She doesn't have any other symptoms like runny nose and sneezing.

I had another one of my rabbits start sneezing alot and she had some white discharge, I moved her to quarinteen and I don't see discharge anymore or sneezing, her nose looks alittle wet and that crease but I don't know if I consider it runny.

Should I still cull these 2 bunnies tomorrow?

My own female that I mentioned was next to my other female who has a slight wet crease/nose but nothing else, she does have her first litter of baby's from 2 days ago and the baby's are alive and seem fine. I feel like if my other doe was truly sick the baby's would be dead.
Rabbits can have a pretty significant tendency to respiratory and/or eye issues, but they're not always due to Pasteurellosis. Stress (like going to a show or moving to a different rabbitry) can cause any number of symptoms including, among others, things like weepy eyes, wet or runny nose, and/or drooling. Sometimes these are illnesses that were just waiting in the wings until the stress brought them to a head; other times, they're just indicators of stress itself and they disappear after the stress does.

Weepy eyes can come from irritants like dusty hay or straw, allergies, or even just a reaction to the "new" dust they encounter in a new rabbitry. (Does she have pink eyes? Rabbits with pink eyes seem to be more likely to have troubles with weepiness.) You might try cleaning her eyes very gently with warm chamomile tea a couple of times a day, and see if they improve. If they do not improve after 3-4 days, you can try Terramycin ophthalmic ointment, which pet stores carry for dogs and cats, Just pull her lower lid down so that you can put a little bead of ointment there (I use a q-tip so that I don't contaminate the tube of medicine), then close her eye and very gently massage the ointment around in it. I'd try this twice a day for a week.

Rabbits can have slightly wet noses for all kinds of reasons; likewise, they can have a bout of sneezing for various reasons. The sneezing doe would be a little more concerning because of the white snot, but if it was an isolated episode, I'd not be super worried yet. I've seen rabbits sneeze tiny bits of whitish snot that was a result of them getting something in their nose, and their body trying to get rid of it. If she hasn't been sneezing since, I'd leave her in quarantine for another week to watch her (and protect the new babies). If I saw any more sneezing with snot or matted inside front paws, I'd reconsider.

Some estimates say that the majority of rabbits have been exposed to Pasteurella organisms; it's only a subset of them that become symptomatic. You don't want to breed those individuals, but you do have to decide whether that's what you're dealing with or not.

Personally I wouldn't be in a rush to cull the rabbits until I knew more certainly what was going on, but you have to be the final judge of how much risk you want to take.
 
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Some estimates say that the majority of rabbits have been exposed to Pasteurella organisms; it's only a subset of them that become symptomatic. You don't want to breed those individuals, but you do have to decide whether that's what you're dealing with or not.
Yes there are several organisms that cause respiratory illness in rabbits. For example, Bordetella, which can be caught from dogs with kennel cough.
 
Rabbits can have a pretty significant tendency to respiratory and/or eye issues, but they're not always due to Pasteurellosis. Stress (like going to a show or moving to a different rabbitry) can cause any number of symptoms including, among others, things like weepy eyes, wet or runny nose, and/or drooling. Sometimes these are illnesses that were just waiting in the wings until the stress brought them to a head; other times, they're just indicators of stress itself and they disappear after the stress does.

Weepy eyes can come from irritants like dusty hay or straw, allergies, or even just a reaction to the "new" dust they encounter in a new rabbitry. (Does she have pink eyes? Rabbits with pink eyes seem to be more likely to have troubles with weepiness.) You might try cleaning her eyes very gently with warm chamomile tea a couple of times a day, and see if they improve. If they do not improve after 3-4 days, you can try Terramycin ophthalmic ointment, which pet stores carry for dogs and cats, Just pull her lower lid down so that you can put a little bead of ointment there (I use a q-tip so that I don't contaminate the tube of medicine), then close her eye and very gently massage the ointment around in it. I'd try this twice a day for a week.

Rabbits can have slightly wet noses for all kinds of reasons; likewise, they can have a bout of sneezing for various reasons. The sneezing doe would be a little more concerning because of the white snot, but if it was an isolated episode, I'd not be super worried yet. I've seen rabbits sneeze tiny bits of whitish snot that was a result of them getting something in their nose, and their body trying to get rid of it. If she hasn't been sneezing since, I'd leave her in quarantine for another week to watch her (and protect the new bunnies). If I saw any more sneezing or matted inside front paws, I'd reconsider.

Some estimates say that the majority of rabbits have been exposed to Pasteurella organisms; it's only a subset of them that become symptomatic. You don't want to breed those individuals, but you do have to decide whether that's what you're dealing with or not.

Personally I wouldn't be in a rush to cull the rabbits until I knew more certainly what was going on, but you have to be the final judge of how much risk you want to take.
Alright thank you, I woke up extra early to go and cull but I'll wait a week to see if they improve.
 
Yes there are several organisms that cause respiratory illness in rabbits. For example, Bordetella, which can be caught from dogs with kennel cough.
I did see my inlaws dog get underneath her cage and start sniffing heavily. My quarinteen area is not caged off like I'd want.
 
Rabbits can have a pretty significant tendency to respiratory and/or eye issues, but they're not always due to Pasteurellosis. Stress (like going to a show or moving to a different rabbitry) can cause any number of symptoms including, among others, things like weepy eyes, wet or runny nose, and/or drooling. Sometimes these are illnesses that were just waiting in the wings until the stress brought them to a head; other times, they're just indicators of stress itself and they disappear after the stress does.

Weepy eyes can come from irritants like dusty hay or straw, allergies, or even just a reaction to the "new" dust they encounter in a new rabbitry. (Does she have pink eyes? Rabbits with pink eyes seem to be more likely to have troubles with weepiness.) You might try cleaning her eyes very gently with warm chamomile tea a couple of times a day, and see if they improve. If they do not improve after 3-4 days, you can try Terramycin ophthalmic ointment, which pet stores carry for dogs and cats, Just pull her lower lid down so that you can put a little bead of ointment there (I use a q-tip so that I don't contaminate the tube of medicine), then close her eye and very gently massage the ointment around in it. I'd try this twice a day for a week.

Rabbits can have slightly wet noses for all kinds of reasons; likewise, they can have a bout of sneezing for various reasons. The sneezing doe would be a little more concerning because of the white snot, but if it was an isolated episode, I'd not be super worried yet. I've seen rabbits sneeze tiny bits of whitish snot that was a result of them getting something in their nose, and their body trying to get rid of it. If she hasn't been sneezing since, I'd leave her in quarantine for another week to watch her (and protect the new babies). If I saw any more sneezing with snot or matted inside front paws, I'd reconsider.

Some estimates say that the majority of rabbits have been exposed to Pasteurella organisms; it's only a subset of them that become symptomatic. You don't want to breed those individuals, but you do have to decide whether that's what you're dealing with or not.

Personally I wouldn't be in a rush to cull the rabbits until I knew more certainly what was going on, but you have to be the final judge of how much risk you want to take.
Her weepy eyes went away, still looks wet and is still squinting alittle. I'll wait on her for alittle longer.

My other female who was sneezing isn't sneezing anymore and has no snot.

Doesn't look as bad anymore.
 
I'm interested in this subject too because I have an American Blue buck who sneezes occasionally. I finally isolated him because I got him from someone who colony raises on the ground. It's just a single sneeze, there's never been anything but one time a tiny bit of clear snot. I got my doe from the same colony as well and she does not sneeze. He was one of the closest to the hay bale which was really dusty. Since I moved him onto my patio I have not heard any sneezing, but he sounds a little restricted in his airway when he grooms, and that he grunts a little bit. He has never had anything in his eyes which are always bright and clear, and his breathing has always been normal. We are in an area that has Valley Fever microorganisms in the ground. I will never put my rabbits on the ground, except for when I put them in an x pen to breed, and that is on an imported decomposed granite patio area.

Yesterday we had to move two litters to a table on the patio so we could put in a KW series 4003 3 stack. My New Zealand red dough sneezed into my hand while I was feeding her oats, but it was Quaker oats and she was eating fast and may have inhaled some dust. The hay I have now is super clean timothy, really nice. But I chatted with someone who is a show breeder who culls anything that sneezes even once, and culls immediately. I guess I could see that in someone who is traveling cross country to multiple shows, but I think it's extreme for a closed rabbitry.

Thanks to those who went in depth on this subject!
 
My viewpoint is this. I only want to breed the best to the best. Compromised health.... is not the best. AND those that get sick are showing a tendency toward problems. ERGO if you get sick, get "allergies", have the odd random snot/sneeze/weepy eye.... I CULL dead. I'm quick to do so. I don't want "stupid" rabbits either... rabbits that will randomly injure themselves with hay in the eye pokes etc. I don't play around with what if it's something curable because that requires meds and time (where they could be infectious and creating a bigger problem).... and I don't have a rabbit savvy vet near me who will give me the meds I want without a vet appointment.

So the goal for me and my herd is healthy non-fuss rabbits who are the best I can currently breed. If that is not your goal and you don't mind fussing with rabbits who might long term create more rabbits that you have to fuss with, then define what your goal is in raising rabbits. Breed toward that end. :)
 
I agree with that! I spent hours googling rabbit sneezes and people talk about hay dust, feed dust, etc. I have hay fever and it hasn't bothered me until just today after sweeping. I can see the dust in the air when I sweep out the rabbitry. I had so many animals and so many varieties my entire life. Most of them sneeze.

I don't want to breed inferior genetics, I don't want allergies or bad temperament or bad bone to meat ratio or slow growth in my herd. But is every sneeze a cull? That's what I need to understand, is if I hear a rabbit sneeze I have to butcher it immediately? Every animal I've ever owned would have had to have been put down if that was true for any other animal. So that's what I need clarity on. There's no other symptoms, just an occasional sneeze. I haven't heard him sneeze since he's been away from the hay and dust, except of course since I posted he sneezed today! 🤦

Edit: I don't intend to do the vet route either, unless it would be for a very expensive rabbit which I don't have. We are small town with several valleys with some rural properties and only two vets for the entire area. One is really hard to get appointments and I don't know if the other does rabbits. My dogs are another story and would definitely go to see the vet as needed.
 
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I agree with that! I spent hours googling rabbit sneezes and people talk about hay dust, feed dust, etc. I have hay fever and it hasn't bothered me until just today after sweeping. I can see the dust in the air when I sweep out the rabbitry. I had so many animals and so many varieties my entire life. Most of them sneeze.

I don't want to breed inferior genetics, I don't want allergies or bad temperament or bad bone to meat ratio or slow growth in my herd. But is every sneeze a cull? That's what I need to understand, is if I hear a rabbit sneeze I have to butcher it immediately? Every animal I've ever owned would have had to have been put down if that was true for any other animal. So that's what I need clarity on. There's no other symptoms, just an occasional sneeze. I haven't heard him sneeze since he's been away from the hay and dust, except of course since I posted he sneezed today! 🤦

Edit: I don't intend to do the vet route either, unless it would be for a very expensive rabbit which I don't have. We are small town with several valleys with some rural properties and only two vets for the entire area. One is really hard to get appointments and I don't know if the other does rabbits. My dogs are another story and would definitely go to see the vet as needed.
I agree with being firm about not breeding rabbits with substandard health, but I personally would not cull at a single sneeze. As you said, pretty much every animal I've ever had would be gone on that criterion. There are just too many innocuous reasons for sneezes to instantly call it a problem. I see new kits so excited about drinking fresh water, but not so good at it yet, so they snork in a noseful of water and then sit sneezing it out. It doesn't take them long to learn, but they would all be gone bfore they could learn to drink on the single-sneeze regimen.

I know that some breeders have had terrible problems with snuffles and are hyper-vigilant about sneezing/snot. I have not had a problem with it in 20+ years, and we go to shows about every other month all year long, as well as other events with the rabbits; they are exposed to many things, but very few of them ever suffer anything more than a case of fur mites. (The few that did not travel well... they're long gone.) I believe that is because we have a close-to-zero tolerance for sickness in the herd. I do cull kits that have issues (weepy eyes, runny noses, weaning enteritis, etc.), and adults that have problems more than once with anything at all. However, we live in a very windy rural area and there is going to be dust, so culling based on the occasional sneeze doesn't seem reasonable to me.

I guess my approach could be described as cull for health and temperament issues but use some discretion based on observation of the situation. I don't think you can breed a rabbit (or any other animal) that won't sneeze if it inhales dust; in fact, that animal would probably end up sick from inhaling dust instead of expelling it with a sneeze!
 
I tend to cull on multiple, repeated, unexplained sneezes. Water is one thing, but if I rabbit sneezes rapid fire, 5 or so in a row, or EVER has visible snot, they get an ear marking that means a one way ticket to freezer camp. Most of the time their lungs do not look great, so I am pretty sure that is a solid criteria.
 
I tend to cull on multiple, repeated, unexplained sneezes. Water is one thing, but if I rabbit sneezes rapid fire, 5 or so in a row, or EVER has visible snot, they get an ear marking that means a one way ticket to freezer camp. Most of the time their lungs do not look great, so I am pretty sure that is a solid criteria.
Thank you! That sounds reasonable and smart. The buck in question had a row of multiple sneezes yesterday right after I did. We do have wind here, and there's always dust in the pellets and hay. I hadn't heard him sneezing before yesterday and I don't see any snot or anything on his nose. My reticence is because that's all I have observed and he is an American Blue and I'm having a hard time finding any more.

But I don't want to endanger the rest of my rabbits, the value and inputs are too high at this point. I did get a litter from him so hopefully I will have a buck that will he acceptable for now. I got an offer from an American breeder for a replacement buck, but I don't have him yet so I can't count on him.
 
i don't cull on a single sneeze, but if I hear the same animal sneezing then I will immediately grab it up and do a health check. I'll look for weepy eyes, bad teeth, remind self on what I fed, look for snot residue on the front legs, I'll check everything I can. If I find anything that makes me go, "OH, something is off here" then I'll quarantine with the intent to cull unless something about the rabbit convinces me otherwise.

Once I had a rabbit that sneezed off and on for a week and I couldn't find anything, stuck her in quarantine cage, pulled out on cull day and it had developed sore hocks in the meantime (and I've not had sore hocks in rabbits before this). I think it was developing....and the sneezing was a sign of hidden Pasteurella which tends to come out in times of stress.
 
My buck has nothing on his face or feet. Eating well, acting fine, poop is good. But he has been separated for 3 weeks and is on the cull list.

Old adage of better safe than sorry seems to be primary here.

If everything inside looks good, he should be okay to eat? If anything looks off I will trash him.
 
Yeah with all this talk i guess I'll cull my girl, sucks, bought her thinking she'd become my main doe with best growth.

Just look at her on the right, that's beefy for 7 months. spend $80 on her too.

But yeah, if she doesn't have snuffles its definitely something teeth or tear duct related because her eyes will clear up then get runny again and it just bounces back and forth.

20240206_093200 (1).jpg
 
Yeah with all this talk i guess I'll cull my girl, sucks, bought her thinking she'd become my main doe with best growth.

Just look at her on the right, that's beefy for 7 months. spend $80 on her too.

But yeah, if she doesn't have snuffles its definitely something teeth or tear duct related because her eyes will clear up then get runny again and it just bounces back and forth.

View attachment 39598
If you've invested that much and are just getting going, since she's old enough to breed, you might try to get a litter out of her and just be super careful about what you keep from it. Not every offspring will inherit the tendency (unfortunately, that's true of good characteristics as well as bad!). Just pray that the good growth rate isn't linked with the eye problems!
 
if you do keep her and breed her, my advice from what I did in the past.

Breed her, keep her away from other rabbits if you can. Keep the buck you used separate (or buy/rescue in an inexpensive buck just for the deed and cull him). do what you can to get the kits eating solid food early. Wean the kits at four weeks. LEAVE THEM in their cage... remove mom and dispatch her. At six weeks start to mildly stress the kits. Any that show immunological issues remove asap. find ways to stress any that you keep as potentials over the next six months. Car rides. Loud noises. New feed. Stuff that won't kill them with fear or digestive upset but will give them a bit of a stressor. Any that show issues cull.

I shouldn't say "done in the past". I've been known to take litters for car rides when just one of the litter is bugging me and I'm not sure why. Since i don't want to overly stress them... I take the whole litter with me down a bumpy road. And then within a couple of days if the one bugging me shows up a weepy eye or sneezes, or goes off feed... I know my hunch/niggly feeling was correct.

I used to battle a mystery illness in my herd and I'm determined to never battle it again. (happens sometimes when you bring in auction rabbits). :)
 
This is really great to know, thank you! I am trying to sponge up all the information in this wonderful forum!

This is exactly why when I was considering if I wanted quail or rabbits 4 years ago, I went with quail! 😉

I made the leap into rabbits finally last September because I was so comfortable with the quail for all of our eggs, but they don't have much meat, and with all the general uncertainty and supply chain issues currently going on in the world, I really wanted to get more self-sustainabile with meat, mostly for the dogs but for us as well. I am tracking my investment and it's pretty big. I do need it to pay off in quality meat and maybe a few sales to other people looking for meat rabbits. We've been selling the bunny berries so that's good. We also have two decent sized gardens and a lot of fruit trees to fertilize and it's great to be able to get off mostly chemical fertilizers.

My husband is making a long journey to get me another Blue buck, I told him I would pay for his gas and that it would be a nice Valentine's Day gift (although we generally never do that anymore). He has itchy feet and likes to get away from our small community every two weeks. He spent the last two days working on getting two KW Series 4000 three stacks into our small run for the litters and growouts.
 
if you do keep her and breed her, my advice from what I did in the past.

Breed her, keep her away from other rabbits if you can. Keep the buck you used separate (or buy/rescue in an inexpensive buck just for the deed and cull him). do what you can to get the kits eating solid food early. Wean the kits at four weeks. LEAVE THEM in their cage... remove mom and dispatch her. At six weeks start to mildly stress the kits. Any that show immunological issues remove asap. find ways to stress any that you keep as potentials over the next six months. Car rides. Loud noises. New feed. Stuff that won't kill them with fear or digestive upset but will give them a bit of a stressor. Any that show issues cull.

I shouldn't say "done in the past". I've been known to take litters for car rides when just one of the litter is bugging me and I'm not sure why. Since i don't want to overly stress them... I take the whole litter with me down a bumpy road. And then within a couple of days if the one bugging me shows up a weepy eye or sneezes, or goes off feed... I know my hunch/niggly feeling was correct.

I used to battle a mystery illness in my herd and I'm determined to never battle it again. (happens sometimes when you bring in auction rabbits). :)
Alright, i did get a good look at her today and her eylids look pinkish like she was just crying and i see wet eyes when she blinks like she just got off crying, i do not see weepy eyes anymore.

Il breed her with my new buck who is also in quarantine and see if i can get a nice new breeder, sucks though because hes a red new Zealand and she's a blue so i wont have a a solid blue one.
 

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