Friday, October 10, 2008

Question from the Audience: Allergies

Our first blog-emailed question comes from Angy K. in Baltimore, MD:

Q:
Hello Rabbit Advocate! I recently adopted a bunny named Toby. Overall he seems to be doing well in my house, he hops around, stays out of trouble and seems to be adjusting well. However, I noticed that he seems to now be sneezing a lot. At least, thats what it sounds like to me. Is it possible he has an allergy?

A: If your rabbit is experiencing frequent sneezing, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to check him for an upper respiratory infection (colloquially "snuffles") or pneumonia. If these tests come back negative, your rabbit could have allergies.

Believe it or not, rabbit allergies are actually quite common. And I'm not referring here to the kind humans develop to rabbit fur or pet dander. Rabbits get allergies too! Some rabbits are much more sensitive to dust particles in the air than others and will develop recurrent sneezing, runny nose, and teary eyes.


Here are some things you can do to alleviate your rabbit's symptoms:

1) Experiment with a different type of litter. Dusty clay cat litter is a common irritant and the clumping kind should be avoided at all costs because it is dangerous when ingested. Cedar chips can also cause allergic reactions in your rabbit. The best litter I've found is
Yesterday's News cat litter. Very absorbent, odor-reducing, affordable and non allergenic. It's also good for the environment, as it is made from recycled newspapers.
2) The hay that you're feeding to your rabbit is covered in dust and could be the culprit. Try buying a higher quality hay, as these are fresher and less dusty. Another thing you can do is shake the dust out of the hay before giving it to your rabbit.
3) If your rabbit's cage is right under a window and it's summer or spring, your rabbit could be reacting to allergens in the air, just like we often do. Moving your rabbit away from the window or door is one preventative measure. Talk to your vet also about the possibility of administering a low-dose antihistamine.4) It's also possible your bunny is allergic to a new toy/treat/or food. Eliminate any new objects or edible items you've recently introduced and see if the sneezing stops.

Rabbit allergies are quite annoying for your pet and can even be worrying to watch, but they're not causing permanent damage. Adjusting certain environmental factors is your best bet in alleviating symptoms. Good luck!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

i think my lop eyed dwarf has an allergy to hay, specifically timothy grass. i'm sure the vet doesn't believe me but flopsy has definitely responded to different hay. we just can't quite cure the problem completely, maybe dust is also an issue. as you say, it is a distressing thing to see your bunny with a permanently teary eye (many vet visits have ruled out other causes).

Anonymous said...

correction: lop-eared (but also lop eyed!!)

The Advocate said...

Trying a different type of hay may lessen the symptoms. It can really help to shake out each handful of hay you give Flopsy (cute name!). Also try putting the hay in a little box or hay rack, so the hay, and the offending dust particles, are more contained. Good luck!

Melinda Luttman said...

We have a beautiful broken blue french lop who has no sneeze, no runny nose, no sores any where else but has developed tearing/ moist eyes causing a sore in the corner of her eyes. She has no other sores, no swelling no sore spots except where she has this tearing. Her cage is in our barn but hays good ventilation. Hoping for some good suggestions.

Elise Verheuvel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elise Verheuvel said...

Hello Melinda,

It can be that your French lop doesn't have a allergy but growing teeth/molars. Wet eyes are almost everytime a symptome of that.

paisley said...

I have a lop and ever since weve had him he has had what almost looks like psoriasis on his ears, mainly id love to know if you could know what it is, we cant seem to find anything that even looks close to it!

Unknown said...

We recently got a bunny june 18, we nornally kept him in his cage but we take him out for a while. Recently we took him to our living room that he hasn't been in. It was fine but soon he started to get a runny nose and started to sneeze.

Katie Bordner said...

Hi,
Hopefully someone will be able to give me some advice or insight.
Bun has sneezes and a constant wet nose. No signs on her arms of having to clean too much. No sores. No wet eyes. Sometimes, rarely, there is white snot. But most it just seems clear.

We've tried anti biotics. The next step would be xrays.

Bun seems to be acting totally normal. The vet says that Bun may have an allergy.

We've tried switching food, and I can't really tell if it has helped or not, but I don't want to go back to the old food. We had changed food back in December, so we are hoping this is it.

I'm so very desperate to find what is wrong with her so that we know she is healthy.

It has been since January, and now it is almost July.

I would be interested to try switching her hay, but is there a less dusty kind to use?

Also, is it a possibility she could be allergic to the urine or hair of our other bun, Oli? Oli seems to shed quite a bit and was rejected from his breeders as he has imperfect teeth and social anxiety.
I'm totally at a loss. Wish I knew what to do.

Katie Bordner said...

Hi,
Hopefully someone will be able to give me some advice or insight.
Bun has sneezes and a constant wet nose. No signs on her arms of having to clean too much. No sores. No wet eyes. Sometimes, rarely, there is white snot. But most it just seems clear.

We've tried anti biotics. The next step would be xrays.

Bun seems to be acting totally normal. The vet says that Bun may have an allergy.

We've tried switching food, and I can't really tell if it has helped or not, but I don't want to go back to the old food. We had changed food back in December, so we are hoping this is it.

I'm so very desperate to find what is wrong with her so that we know she is healthy.

It has been since January, and now it is almost July.

I would be interested to try switching her hay, but is there a less dusty kind to use?

Also, is it a possibility she could be allergic to the urine or hair of our other bun, Oli? Oli seems to shed quite a bit and was rejected from his breeders as he has imperfect teeth and social anxiety.
I'm totally at a loss. Wish I knew what to do.

Molly Anne said...

My Holland lop rubs her eyes and cleans her face often whenever she's outside and had recently started sneezing while outside. It's the worse when she's in the grass. I don't know if it's allergies or not since it only happens outside.

Jennifer Valentine said...

I recently adopted 3 lion head bunnies from a pet store. I say adopted because they were going to 'get rid of them' because they had dust allergies. The male had been castrated so I paid for that and then brought my babies home. I think they hate me, but we're making progress.
Only one of my bunnies seems to have an allergy. Her nose is often crusty and her eyes are always wet and sometimes crusty. I've been "bathing" her about every other day to keep the dust and other allergens out of her fur as much as possible. By bathing I mean I use a wash cloth and warm water to wipe her face and dampen her fur and any crustose. Then I use a q-tip to get crusties off her nose and away from her eyes. Then I use a different wet wash cloth and rub her down/ fluff her fur.I think she knows what I'm doing as soon as I pick her up and put her in the position and I think doing this must bring her some comfort because she is totally calm even while I'm putting a tip right near her eye/ nose. Any other time and the mere idea of an unsolicited petting would send her running. I know not to really bathe them unless necessary but I feel like my modified bunny bath has helped her tremendously. I'm still attempting trial and error to see what it is that triggers her allergy but for now at least I'm able to offer her some relief.

Robert F. Crocker said...

how some people with mild gluten sensitivity have found that sprouted wheat is more digestible and causes less reaction. air purifier

Anonymous said...

We got a doe who was fine. Two weeks later we breed her she started to sneeze. Had some nasal discharge. We treated her for 30 days (penicillin). A month later again we tried to breed her. Now zhe sneezes a couple times a day. I have watching close and see no wet or discharge. I dont want to cull her from my program but im worried. Is she sick or just has an allergy? Thank you

Brenda Cookman said...

We have a 5 year old male who had surgery on his side earlier this spring. He heals up fine so we take the cone off him. And then in his grooming practices he ends up opening up sores in the same area and back on goes the cone and we start again. Could this be allergies? What can we do to help him?

Sowpath das said...

nice post