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Rabbits/Slightly noisy breathing and a bit dribbly



I have kept a neutered and thoroughly loved mini lop buck as my hose-bunny  for 2.5 years and I recently gave in to his continuous nagging to fix him up with a doe. She was a free rehome from a woman who had kept her in a small cage in the back garden for 18 months, and thought it was okay to feed her bread and biscuits. My buck fell madly in love with her and quite frankly I couldn't leave her living like that. I appreciated I was taking a risk at the time, but that's love for you!

She's been with us about 10 weeks now and is adjusting well to her new life. The litter training has its ups and downs  and her nesting instincts have lost us a few shoes but she is very quirky and strong willed and my buck dotes on her.  Her health however is something of a worry.

She was incredibly overweight when she came to us, but that's mainly dropped off through a careful diet and a lot more exercise as they charge around the house together. I noticed at the time that if I handle her, and when she gets something nice to eat that she's scoffing as fast as she can, that she breathes noisily. No sneezes, and not something you hear when she's calm, but kind of snuffly noises. I wondered at the time whether it was due to  her sheer weight but now she's much slimmer and still does it.  I've also found if I handle her she dribbles a lot. If I touch her face any other time it's dry, her front teeth look fine, and she's not sensitive around her cheeks at all: again it happens when she's stressed and at the same time as the snuffling noises, so I wonder if they're the same thing.

I'm taking her to the vet at the end of January to be spayed now she's finally slim enough, bu I'm starting to wonder if 6 weeks is perhaps too long to wait?

Thank you for your help,

Beth (on behalf of Otter and Pixel)

Dear Beth,

It would not hurt to bring her in for a check up to be sure she does not have a respiratory infection.  It is quite possible that her snorking noises are due to her former weight:  many bunnies like this have a floppy palate that makes them snore and make funny snuffling noises when they are relaxed.

You'll want to know if she has a respiratory problem, since this would make her a poor candidate for anesthesia and spay.  So a pre-spay checkup would probably be a good idea all around.  If she's not a good surgical candidate, then she can be quite happy unspayed, though her risk of uterine cancer is higher than in an unspayed female.  

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:

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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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