Question Hello Dana,
I have a female Angora rabbit. She lives indoors, and has not been bred, as far as I know. She was found running outside at about 5 months old and was already litter trained when I took her in 4 years ago.
I was made aware today that 2 of her teats on her chest are secreting pus. Her fur was just shaved so I did not notice anything. Her behavior has been normal, and she hasn't indicated that she is in pain or any distress. Her eating habits are normal, but I did notice she's been drinking more water than I can recall, but then again, I don't know what I would consider normal drinking habits for her. She drinks only water.
I am confused as to what the problem may be. She doesn't like to be picked up or handled in any way other than being petted. I was reading about mastitis and other possible infections, but want to be more informed before taking her to the vet because she gets very upset when she has to go anywhere. Can you provide me any advice or answers to my situation, please?
Thank you very much for any information you may have on the matter.
Answer Dear Terry,
Any secretion from the nipples may be cause for concern. If it is pus, then mastitis needs to be treated with antibiotics. If it is milk, she may be having a false pregnancy, and repeated false pregnancies can lead to mastitis and other health problems. For this reason, it is wise to have a female bunny spayed, if the vet deems her a good candidate for surgery. Unspayed female rabbits have a very high risk of uterine cancer, so it is of great importance that at least the uterus be removed (along with both cervices), even if you choose to leave her ovaries intact.
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: THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.
If your rabbits is LETHARGIC
If your rabbit is NOT EATING
If your rabbit is PHYSICALLY INJURED (including broken bones)
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.
Organizations Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president
National House Rabbit Society (Board member)
Publications Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide
Education/Credentials Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English
Awards and Honors Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology