All in the eyes!
One part of your weekly health check should always include your bunnys eyes. The eyes are super important to check as infections can unfortunately be quite common as I know from personal experience with my own boy Snoop.
So what should you look for and what are the common problems?
A rabbits eyes should be bright and shiny and pupils should be the same size. It's true what they say about rabbits being "bright eyed and bushy tailed!"
..heres a hoppy and healthy picture of Snoop Bunny, please compare to the pic below
‘The most common symptoms of eye problems include clear or milky discharge, swollen eyeballs, or sore skin where tears are constantly flowing down the cheeks,’ explains Claire Speight, a veterinary nurse from the Rabbit Welfare Association.
Often eye problems are linked to dental issues so always take your rabbit to the vet at the first sign of trouble.
Common ailments include conjunctivitis, which affects the lining around the eye, and pasteurellosis, which affects the upper respiratory tract but can lead to eye infections. My boy Snoop has had 2 instances in 4 years of conjunctivitis and I have included a picture of what he looked like so you could see how I spotted it.
...Hopefully you can easily spot the difference between this picture and the previous one.
As you can see the fur around the eye is clearly wet. Snoop was treated super quickly with eye drops (which he absolutely hated!) but within a few days he was right as rain. Do remember to always finish the course of treatment though as advised by your vet, even if it seems to be better.
Be careful also for blocked tear ducts, if the rabbit gets a peice of hay or grass stuck the tears aren't able to drain away and this can lead to problems- always contact your vet rather than trying to sort it yourself as the eyes are so delicate and it's not worth the risk!
With a bonded pair do keep a close eye (pardon the pun!)- often they will clean each others eyes which can hide potential issues.
So what can you do to prevent eye problems?
Good bedding choices- shavings can irritate the eyes as they are so fine
Check eyes reguarly
As alot of eye problems are linked to dental problems ensure the rabbits are eating a balanced diet of 85% hay, 5% good quality pellets (see previous blog!) and fresh greens
Clean the bunnys litter regularly as ammonia can irritate the eyes
Avoid overhead hay feeders as hay can easily drop in the eye
Do make sure your buns vacinations are up to date- the deadly disease myxomatosis often starts with runnny eyes and can easily be mistaken for conjunctivitis when it could be something far more serious.
Do always consult your vet if you notice any changes in your rabbits beautiful eyes!