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Rabbits/the abscess keeps growing and appearing


QUESTION: Dear dana,
Hai dana I'm sanny.. today I mail u again to ask about abscess in rabbit again.. on your last reply, u had given me the instruction n the name of the medicine which can cure the abscess in jaw.. I had bought the penisillin n benzathine and had asked my vet to inject through intramuscular.. and the head of the abscess in jaw had been pushed out since 3weeks.. but there is a strange thing appear.. once my vet squeezed out the abscess, about 2 or 3 days it appears in other place.. and it keeps like this until now.. and 3days ago my vet inject the medicine into the abscess and strange thing happens again.. his jaw got wet and around it is so smelly.. oh dana, what ahould I do? I try my bestvto bring him to the vet everyday to got injection.. but seem it is not working...hiks

ANSWER: Dear Sany,

The penicillin must NEVER be injected intramuscularly.  That can be fatal if it hits a blood vessel!  It should be given ONLY subcutaneously, and the plunger pulled out to be sure you have not hit a blood vessel.

The abscess is opening and smelly because it is full of bacteria.  If I could smell them, I might even be able to tell you the most likely culprit, as each species of bacteria has a pretty distinctive smell (with the emphasis on STINK).  But now that the abscess is open, the vet should be able to take a sample of the *capsule* of the abscess (the skin surrounding the infection) and send it to a lab for culture and sensitivity testing:

If the pus is coming out at all, it is possible you will be able to ask the vet to show you how to flush it daily with dilute povidone iodine diluted in clean water to the color of weak tea.  the syringe looks like this:

It is important to try and remove as much of the pus as possible if the abscess is open, but this must be done very carefully so the abscess does not rupture and infect surrounding tissues.  That's why the flushing syringe is better than trying to squeeze, especially since rabbit pus is very thick and nearly impossible to express by squeezing.

I hope this will help with a new direction.


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

QUESTION: Dear dana,
I would like to ask again according to the sentence " the plunger don't hit the blood vessel."What will happen if it hits the blood vessel? Coz when it got injected it is bleeding little bit coz the penisillin hardly to inject into the intramuscular.. It had been 3 days he keeps drooling and always sits in uncomfortable position.. Which two hands straight in front and the back is higher than its head..if he eats sometimes it like there is something stuck in his mouth and he will hurry to clean his mouth n kinda want to throw up.. I'm so stress with this.. In my country there is no laboratory that can test the sensitive of the bacteria yet..

Dear Sany,

"I would like to ask again according to the sentence " the plunger don't hit the blood vessel."What will happen if it hits the blood vessel? Coz when it got injected it is bleeding little bit coz the penisillin hardly to inject into the intramuscular."

If it is like the dual-acting penicillin we use, it is very viscous/thick. If injected into a blood vessel, it can cause a blockage, initiating a stroke.  This can result in death or very serious injury to the brain and other organs.

Three days is too soon to hope for improvement, but can the vet check inside the mouth to be sure the abscess is not impinging on your bunny's trachea or esophagus?  It might need to be debulked (i.e., drained/debrided to reduce its size) to make him more comfortable.  Unfortunately, given what you've described, this probably would have to be done under anesthesia, surgically.  And I'm not sure he's the best candidate for that.  You will have to consult with your vet to see what the best options are.

(You listed your country as United States, but from your message that sounds as if that was an error.  If you are outside the U.S., you might be able to find a rabbit-experienced veterinarian with the international listings linked here:



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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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