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Rabbits/Asthma in rabbits?


Dahlia\'s Lung x-ray
Dahlia's Lung x-ray  
Hi Dana,

I can't seem to find any information on asthma in rabbits.  Is this something you have had any experience with?  I have a group of rescue rabbits that have all at one time or another suffered from an URI, so at any given time, it seems that one bun is showing symptoms and the others are asymptomatic.  This particular bun in question has not shown outward signs of URI other than the occasional sneeze, although her pen-mates have had the sniffles.  Her upper air way/nostrils/eyes are clear.  Lately I have noticed her breathing being quite rapid and yesterday her nostrils were flaring with each breath.  I took her to the emergency clinic here and her lungs sounded okay, her heart fine and she didn't have a temperature.  X-rays (attached) show a lot of speckling in her lungs.  The Dr was unable to come up with a concrete diagnosis, but we decided to try antibiotics in case it is pasteurella infection in her lungs.  Her x-ray looks strikingly similar to one of a cat with asthma and I am wondering if this could be her issue?  She used to cough a lot when she was younger, but not lately.  She is otherwise very perky and her appetite is great.  Thoughts?  Thank you for what you do!  :)

Dear C,

This looks like pneumonia to me.  I am glad she's on antibiotics.  What type?  Fluoroquinolones generally work well if it's Pasteurella, and dual-acting Pen-G Procaine/Benzathine is another good choice for Pasteurella.  Problem is, you can't culture. So it's sort of a guess.

Nebulizing with a cocktail of sterile saline, aminophylline, acetylcysteine and amikacin can help immensely, but you'll need to get a nebulizer.  This might require a prescription.  I hope your vet will be able to help you with this.

I hope she is improving with the antibiotics.

Sending healing thoughts...



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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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