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Rabbits/Lumps On the Jaw/Chin Area

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Small Lump-Sofia
Small Lump-Sofia  
Dear Dana,

My house rabbit Sofia is turning three next month. She is happy and healthy, and eats and poops regularly and normally. I have not observed any change in behaviour except she seems to be sluggish, but I assume that is from her shedding. She shows excitement when she hears the treat bag so there is really nothing that shows me she is sick.

However, last night, as I was petting and examining her, I noticed a small hard lump on her jaw. I will attach a picture of it with this. I looked closely and it looked like a small human pimple. It is white, looks like it has an abscess and is hard to touch. I continued to feel around the area and that's when I discovered that there is another lump, this time it seemed to be under the skin and feels loose. It rolls around so it was difficult to find. Also difficult to take a picture of. It is slightly bigger than the other one.

Some few facts I need to say:
-I live in a country and city where rabbit care is not normal and there are no bunny-savvy vets.
-The nearest city where there is a vet that has some experience in rabbits can be accessed thru a 2.5-hour plane ride
-At this point, my priority is to not subject Sofia to stress by bringing her to a vet who will not know what to do with her
-Please trust me when I say I have visited almost all vets in the city. Have interviewed them and questioned them about experience in rabbits and almost everyone admitted to not knowing anything about rabbits. Their experience goes as far as treating mites.

Given that, discovering these lumps has worried me sick and scared me so much. I don't want to lose Sofia and would like her to be with me for a long time. But I am aware that the reality is, if she ever gets sick, I will have no help here. So, I educate and educate myself and talk to so many friends from the international community to make sure I do the best I can for her.

Anyway, I was wondering if you could give me some insight on these lumps that I found. I'd like to know more about this and what I can do to prepare in case it worsens. Or at least, what are the things I should expect from this.

I visited a new vet this afternoon in the hopes that she will be interested to take my case and know more about rabbits. But I haven't discussed things at length with her. I am hoping that if the need arises, I will be able to go to her.

In the meantime, I hope you can help me with this. I'm so sorry if this is a bit confusing.

Thanks you so much.

Answer
Dear Catherine

These look like small abscesses.  It's odd that the one does not move around, as it looks more like an infected follicle than a jaw abscess.  But if it is the latter, then you have likely caught it early.

It is often effective to treat jaw abscesses with injections (under the skin, not into the muscle) of dual-acting Penicillin G Procaine/Benzathine once every 48 hours.  Our vets use a dose of 50,000 - 100,000IU/kg every 48 hours, so if you wish to share this with your vet, please feel free.

It may also be possible to gently lance and express the small abscesses so that they can be flushed and debrided to speed healing.  Dilute povidone iodine is good for flushing purposes, and will help dry and disinfect the capsule of the abscess.  Judging from the size of these lesions, I doubt this would need to be done under anesthesia, though light sedation with diazepam might make the job easier, and a small injection of local anesthetic (our vets use Marcaine with good success) will keep the bunny comfortable during the procedure.

I hope this helps.

Dana

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

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.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet 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.

Experience

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
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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