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Rabbits/Oxo Tetracycline for Rabbits


QUESTION: Hi Dana, first of all, please understand we have a large # of bunnies, all rescues in our 'sanctuary/retirement' home for them.
Our vet is very good & knows the care we take with them & also realizes we've already spent large fortune on them with vet care over the years & just cannot do it anymore.  We still take very good care of them but alternatives are taken more often than not now.  I have used farm supply methods of medicines e.g. ivermectin, fenbendazole, etc. but now need info on oxo tetracycline.

I will give what info I wrote from the 2 different pkgs. they had.  A few of our bunnies will get snotty noses, etc. & sometimes noises when breathing, etc. etc. Nothing we've never had to deal with for years now of doing this.  Usually it had been with expensive bottles of Baytril (my vet lets me buy a bottle to keep at home) but at $156.00, no more I'm afraid.  Since they're far away too, I don't have to bring bunnies in all the time to the clinic, I treat myself & he's aware of it.

He has no problem with me using tetracycline but just informed me that of course the amounts are hard to figure compared to the expensive antibiotics from the vet (of course), but before I go trying to figure something out from the internet or the pkgs. I'd like to know if you've ever used it.  If not, I will apologize for you having to read my long-winded letter & you can just skip it now.  If you have used it, I will appreciate your answer, thanks.

Ok, one label said 62.5mg/g of oxysol-62.5 oxytetracyline.
The other package label stated Oxytetracycline 100LP Hydrochloride per ml 100mg

Do you understand any of this?  If you can help me with dosages, that'll be 'all' I am looking for & will thank you. We have bunnies of various sizes, so obviously weight/dosage & do I put it in the water like it states on the pkg.


ANSWER: Dear Paula,

Tetracycline is one of those "drugs of last choice" for rabbits.  It is not likely going to be very effective against the chronic snotty nose buns, in any case, as most of these are very likely due to dental problems.  The snotty nose is just a side effect.  :(

Please see:


A blocked maxillary sinus is a very, very common cause of runny nose and eyes in older buns.  Antibiotics can temporarily knock back a bacterial secondary problem, but it will just come back when the meds are stopped.

We've had best success with injections of dual-acting Penicillin-G Procaine/Benzathine for these problems, and a few of them have actually resolved.  You just must be sure to give it *subQ*, not IM, because hitting a blood vessel could be very bad.  Ask your vet how to do a subQ injection safely, including drawing back on the plunger once the needle is under the skin, to be sure you aren't hitting a blood vessel.

Dual-acting Pen is given every 48 hours, so it's not that hard.  And the best parts:  (1) Dirt cheap and (2) you can get it without a prescription.  Here it is:

Only $23.95 for 250ml!  Though you will probably need to pay for overnight shipping, since it must stay cool.  But that's pretty danged cheap for a bottle that will probably last you months.

I hope this helps!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Dana and thanks.  I guess what I'm asking is if we can't afford bottles of Baytril anymore & a bunny has a respiratory infection, would the above 2 types of Tetracycline help at all (gotten at the Farm Supply).  Do I just follow the same directions as they have for livestock, only figure out the difference between a sheep and a rabbit? You know what I mean.

Also, if that is not a good idea, I do have DEPOCILLIN in the house (fridge). Is that the same as the penicillin you mentioned only a different name? I'm in Ontario, Canada.  I've used it before for another reason & of course very, very careful about NOT getting it on the fur, etc!

Please let me know about the Tetracycline & Depocillin, thanks so much.


Dear Paula,

My answer is the same as before:  I would not use Tetracycline on a rabbit, especially if you don't even know what bacteria you're fighting.  

If the Depocillin is Penicillin-G Procaine plus Benzathine, then that's the dual-acting Pen I was talking about.  If it's just Pen-G, then it won't be as long-lasting.  Check the label; it must be on there.

Dual-acting penicillin can be very effective at resolving head abscesses.  Just have to be *very* sure you don't inject it into a blood vessel, which could be fatal.  To prevent that, inject subQ only, and draw back on the plunger to be sure you don't see any blood enter the syringe.  Your vet can show you how, and of course any treatments should be done under the supervision of your vet.

Good luck,



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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:

Find a rabbit vet at 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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