Can you please help me identify if my rabbit has a cataract.  Everynight me and him lay down to watch tv or a movie before i fall asleep and he'll lay with me for a couple hours until he is ready to go in his cage then he'll lick my face to wake me up so I do spend time with him daily and i just noticed his eye like this today it seems like it turned up over night.  My rabbit is around 11 years of age so i understand that the risk of surgery is higher than the risk of him just keeping the cataract but I wanted to know if you would help me in identifying if that is what is wrong I don't have any rabbit experts within 3 hours of my location... Also most importantly is he in any pain?   http://s23.beta.photobucket.com/user/nctrevor24/library/bunny%20fufu

Dear Trevor,

A cataract will not generally show up suddenly.  It's hard for me to see from the photo, but this looks like something in the anterior chamber of the eye (in front of the lens) and possibly in the vitreous (behind the lens).  This could be an intra-ocular infection, and should be seen by a rabbit-experienced veterinarian and/or veterinary ophthalmologist.  This might not need surgery, but the vet can tell you whether the condition is painful (e.g., if it's accompanied by glaucoma) or not.

If it is a cataract, it is not painful.  It will just obstruct his vision.  But I'd want this checked by a vet in person, to see if it's something that must be treated with antibiotics.  If a tooth root has punctured the eyeball from behind (as sometimes happens in elderly rabbits suffering from osteoporosis), then the blood/brain barrier is broken, and antibiotics could help resolve it, if it's an infection.

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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