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Rabbits/No rabbit vets nearby! Please help! Bleeding eye


My rabbit panicked and ran into the sides of her cage. Now there is blood around the outer occular edges. I have tried the pen light test and can't really tell. The eye is swollen and covered with dry blood that i am slowly wiping off with warm water. What can I do?

Dear Amy,

For now, continue to apply warm, moist compressed to the *closed* eye.  Rabbit pupils don't have a terribly strong response to light, even with the pen light test, so that might not tell you if there has been damage.  But a lack of pupillary response would be more likely if there were brain damage than mechanical damage to the eye, unless the mechanical damage were really bad.

Does the eye appear to be ruptured?  Can you tell if the blood is coming from the conjunctiva, or maybe even a wound near the eye itself, but in the fur?  Once the blood is cleaned off, you'll be better able to tell.

I know you say there's no rabbit vet nearby, but this really sounds like a trip to the vet is necessary.  Since an eye injury is not specific to rabbits (unless anesthesia or antibiotics are involved), any good vet should be able to examine the eye and tell you if there is an injury that needs to be seen by a veterinary ophthalmologist.

You can try to find a rabbit vet here:

I hope she will be fine soon.



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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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