Snuffles (Pastuerella) and Rabbits

What is snuffles?

Snuffles is a term used for rabbits with a bacterial infection in their resipratory system. The most common bacteria to cause snuffles is Pastuerella.

What causes snuffles?

The bacteria Pasteurella is commonly found in the nasal passages of most rabbits. The bacteria can remain in the rabbit’s nasal passage for years without causing any health problems or symptoms. Rabbits, particularly those that become ill or stressed can develop health problems related to the Pasteurella bacteria. Although this is not the only cause of snuffles it is the most common.

What are the symptoms for snuffles?

  • Runny eyes and tear staining below eyes and on cheeks. This can result in a loss of fur around the eyes. However, snuffles is not the only cause of runny eyes, dental disease can also cause this, in any case it’s imperative you take your rabbit to a rabbit savvy vet if you notice this symptom.rabbit with snuffles, rabbit runny eyes, rabbit missing fur, snuffles rabbits, pasturella rabbits, rabbit hair loss under eyes
  • Audible breathing or a change in the sound your rabbit makes when breathing.
  • Discharge around the nose, either clear or of a milky consistency. This can also manifest in matting or crust on the front paws as a result of cleaning the discharge from the nose. If you notice a milky discharge with a similar consistency to snot then take your rabbit to a rabbit savvy vet immediately.
    Rabbit with Snuffles, rabbit runny nose, rabbit sneezing
  • Pneumonia can develop and can be fatal.
  • Abscesses can develop as a result of snuffles, however, there are other reaons why an abscess can occur, its essential you see a rabbit savvy vet for any abscesses.
  • Vestibular disease (Neurological disease) may develop when bacteria from the nasal cavity travels to the inner ear.

Your rabbit may not display all of these symptoms, however, if you notice any of these symptoms in your rabbit or any change in your rabbits demeanour take them to a rabbit savvy vet straight away.

Treating snuffles

Treatment of snuffles will invarably involve a course of antibiotics. A nasal swab can be taken to diagnose snuffles, however, as most rabbits have the Pastuerella bacteria present in their nasal passage the results can prove to be inconclusive.

Preventing snuffles

Keeping your rabbit healthy is the best way to try to prevent them developing snuffles. Follow this link to find out what and how much you should be feeding your rabbit. However, this is no guarantee that your rabbit will not develop this condition. Conducting daily health checks  will allow you to spot any symptoms immediately, allowing for early treatment and preventing progression of the infection.

This entry was posted in Blog.