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Rabbits/Rabbit - Medical Eye question


QUESTION: Ebony, my rabbit, has one eye that was completely white, oozing white puss & something. Clean it out completely, started her on Albon Susp (antibiotic), Metacam, Eye Wash & Neomycin- Polymyxin-Bacitracin Ointment. It is no longer oozing but it also it not clearing up the white eye. Been on treatment for 3 days. Also, she has no signs of nasal discharge or sneezing, so at 1st I thought conjunctivitus, but now wondering if infected scratched eye. Looking for advice as we don't have any "exotic" vets near by and can't get an appt (1.15hr away-closest)until Monday.

ANSWER: Dear Kelly,

The treatment you've started is not harmful, but be sure the ointment you are using is an ophthalmic preparation.  If the surface of the cornea is whitish/cloudy, then she may have a corneal injury, but that's only one of several possibilities.

If possible, check the listings for a veterinary ophthalmologist who can best determine what's going on with the eye.  If the eye itself is not damaged, it's possible Ebony has a dental abscess that has spread to her tear ducts, and the bacteria are damaging the cornea.  If this is the case, a different antibiotic may be needed.  Albon isn't really good for treating much these days.  :(

I hope you can find a good rabbit vet here:

It may be worth a drive to see someone who knows what to do.  Sometimes vets who see mainly dogs and cats can do more harm than good to a rabbit.

I hope this helps.


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

QUESTION: I have a couple possible vets for Monday.  I do have one question.  The vet I spoke to on the phone suggested possibly Pasturella.  I still am not convinced, as she has no other symptoms.  No running nose, no sneezing or breathing issues.  Just the eye.  Appetite is good, and still seems like her happy self other than eye. I am leaning towards an injury, scratch to the eye.  My question is, which is more beneficial until she can be seen:  The Neomycin- Polymyxin-Bacitracin Ointment or I have Tobramycin Ophthalmic solution 3% drops?  Both of course are ophthalmic preparation,just wondering if one is better than the other.

Thank you.

Dear Kelly,

Pasteurella is a bacterium, so the vet may just mean that the infection is being caused by this species, even if it is just restricted to the surface of the cornea and/or the tear ducts.  If this is the case, then tobramycin might be more effective.

Pasteurella can manifest in many ways, from abscesses to respiratory infections to superficial infections.  Because it's fairly common in rabbits, many vets assume that any infection is caused by it.  But that's not always the case, and the best way to determine which antibiotic will be most effective against a particular infection is a culture and sensitivity test:

Short of that, a fluoroquinolone such as Baytril or ciprofloxacin is a good "first guess" antibiotic to use for a rabbit infection.  These are safe for rabbits and are effective against a wide variety of common rabbit pathogens, though not all of them.

Weepy eyes are often associated with dental problems, so it would not be surprising to find this type of involvement in your bunny.  That's why a complete check up of the head is essential.  Please see:


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:

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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