Rabbits/Rhinotomy ?


I have an 8 year old Holland Lop Doe with one side of her head blocked and the other side limited.  I've taken her to the Vets at U.C. Davis Small Animal clinic and have been told she needs a Rhinotomy to have her sinus cleared.  I'm told that her condition is sever.  Does anyone have experience in this procedure and do i have any other options?    Also does anyone have experience using pediatric antihistamines on bunnies?

Dear Steve,

A rhinotomy is, indeed, a radical procedure.  But if there is a veterinarian there who actually can do this safely (it requires some pretty specialized equipment!), then it might be something to consider.

But I agree with you that trying less invasive measures first might be productive.  I know of some who use pediatric Benadryl to reduce swelling and this can help.  But if the maxillary sinus is really blocked completely by dental intrusion, antihistamines might not fix the problem.

Since I have no idea how severely blocked her sinus is, I really can't advise you well on which path to take.  Can she breathe through her nose at all?  If not, then something needs to be done to open her airways.  You might ask the vet about nasal flushing, which must be done with great care to avoid aspiration.  But it can provide good relief.  A tear duct flush might also help, but will not work if the sinus is completely blocked.

It all depends on WHAT is blocking the sinus:  bone/tooth?  soft tissue?  bacterial overgrowth/pus?  Mucus?  Each of these would require a different approach to clear.

I hope things go well with your little bun.



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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:

...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.


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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