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Rabbits/Possibly Conjunctivits But i am Not Sure.


Hi Dana, i need your help/advice about one of my rabbits. She's a Lionhead (or possibly a Lionhead cross because she isn't small but around a medium sized breed which leads us to believe she might be crossed with another breed) but she's 7 years old and i have had her for a very long time!

I'll first off say that she is a really active bunny, who eats well, drinks well and i have never gotten her spayed or had her bred.

She had a case of snuffles when she was 5-6 and then she has had a bad case with mites/mange 2 times, and we just recovered from the 2nd bout 2 weeks ago and she isn't scratching anymore. So she's really healthy except,

Her eye has a major watering/tearing up problem. When i asked my vet about it he said an allergic reaction so i kept a really close eye on her to see what she was allergic to and she cannot be bedded on any shavings ( so i use paper shredding's) and if her cage doesn't have enough air flow then the ammonia gets to her. That's what i have discovered.

But we still have the problem! In fact it might be a little worse now. Not 100% sure though. It's only on one eye (her left eye) and it is a white discharge coming form the corner of her eye and her fur around her eye is all matted.

For a while(2+ months) i, and still am, using a warm salt water mix to clean and clear it up but i have a big fear it might be conjunctivitis and that alarms me really bad. Everything i have read online about conjunctivitis doesn't match her so i am now guessing it's just her allergies acting up?? Because like i said she still eats,drinks and keeps really active.

I would hate to have her loose her sight, i want to help her as much as i can. She gets fresh parsley about 3 times a week and then eats good quality timothy hay and her morning feed consists of high fiber pellets, a vitamin supplement and then Quaker bland oats for her coat. And then fresh water 24/7

Thank you for your time!

Dear Hannah,

The most likely cause for epiphora (excessive tearing) in a rabbit her age is dental disease.  By this, I don't necessarily mean infection.  But as a rabbit ages, the bases of the molars often tend to intrude into the skull, towards the eye socket and tear ducts.  This can cause narrowing or occlusion of the tear ducts, and then you have tears.

That said, there are other possible causes.  You can read an exhaustive list, including suggested treatments, here:

You might want to check the vet list here:

to find a vet who's more recent on rabbit medicine.  An experienced rabbit vet would immediately know about the dental connection.

Please also see:

Hope this helps.



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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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