Rabbits/Eye Infection


Hi, I did not find any area I could ask about Chinchillas in so I decided a rabbit is one of the closest to it. Its not a specific question about Chinchillas so I assumed it would be okay. My cousins chinchilla has an eye infection. I know how to treat it but would like to know if over the counter ointments are okay to use on him. I know neosporin can be questionable if its on an area that can be licked but I would be applying it to his eye which is obviously not reached by his tongue. I just wanted to know if I would be okay using something not specifically prescribed to him for a minor eye infection. Also, if you have any tips on how to apply the ointment to the eye, that would be very helpful. Thank you!

Dear Nathan,

I would not recommend over the counter remedies for this type of problem.  The "eye infection" could be due to a dental problem, and the eye might not be the primary source of the problem at all. The infection could be a corneal injury...or any number of things that are not an infection.

Using a non-ophthalmic ointment in the eye is also not recommended, and could do more harm than good.  If this is an infection, and the bacteria causing the problem are not sensitive to the antibiotic you're using, you'll not only be wasting money, but also time that the chinchilla could be using to heal.

I would recommend getting the chin to a good exotics vet who can examine the him in person and determine the source of the problem.  Only then can appropriate treatment be prescribed.

I hope this helps.



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.

RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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