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bulging eyes
bulging eyes  
QUESTION: Dear dana,
It's me again dana.. dana, my rabbit is having a bulging eyes and it doesn't look like cherry eye.. it's only on the right side which the abscess was occur before.. last 2 weeks before he got an abscess surgery and another extraction molar teeth this had been happened.. 2 days ago I realized that he got a fever.. he couldn't swallow water even I had fed him with syringe.. he doesn't want to drink.. do you think it has gum infection.. after the surgery I can see the root of the teeth that means the molar teeth actually still there.. I attach some pics.. tq

ANSWER: Dear Sanny,

It is very likely that the bunny is suffering from a retrobulbar (i.e., behind the eyeball) abscess that is pushing the eye out.  The eye is now covered by a severe corneal ulcer, and this requires treatment, as it is very painful.

Our veterinary ophthalmologist would likely recommend 2-3 times daily drops of a fluoroquinolone eye drop (e.g., ofloxacin) and/or an aminoglycoside eye drop (e.g., tobramycin, gentamycin) plus topical application of an anti-fungal cream (e.g., miconazole manufactured for vaginal yeast infections works well).  Ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA) drops can help promote corneal healing.

If the bunny is not able to close the eye, a vet may need to surgically suture the eye closed, but leave a small opening for application of medications above.

In the meantime, ask the vet about putting the bunny on injections of dual-acting Penicillin G Procaine/Benzathine every 48 hours (our vets prescribe this at 50,000-100,000IU/kg once every 48 hours) to address the abscess.  Without treating the abscess, this problem will not go away.

Finally, pain management is critical.  Ask the vet about metacam and/or tramadol to help bunny feel better while the other treatments are doing their job.

If you are concerned that the pain/stress are making the bunny hypothermic (i.e., body temperature too low), here are instructions to find out and treat that potentially life-threatening condition:

I hope this helps.


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

QUESTION: Dear dana,
On monday bonnie had his 3rd surgery.. the vet said bonnie's jaw has been infected.. he said it is bone infection (osteomylitis).. do you think the pain it from the eyes infection? Or the jaw bone infection? His ears still cold until today.. I like to wrap him with blanket.. he wants to eat but something bothering his mouth..I don't know if the pain from the mouth or its eyes.. my previous vet had stitch his eyes.. if I use penisillin g proc n benzathine.. where should it injected? He has loss his Balance.when he walks he can fall or crash the things in front of him.. if I had use the eye ointment or eye drop and still can not cure what should I do? Tq

Dear Sanny,

The dual-acting penicillin is usually injected under the skin on the back close to the shoulders.  The vet should show you how:  you must draw back on the plunger once the needle is under the skin to be sure you have not hit a blood vessel, which can be very dangerous with this particular drug.

Ointments and drops will not be helpful against this problem.  You really need to ask the vet about using Pen-G Procaine/Benzathine injections once every 48 hours.  It might be your bunny's only chance.  It sounds very bad at this point.



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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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