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Rabbits/9 year old bunny


QUESTION: Over the last month my bunny has started making almost a honking sound.There is no nasal discharge and she is eating well, alert and playful. I think it may be an upper repiratory tract infection and I am wondering what treatment is best.

ANSWER: Anita,

Good morning! Can you tell me when your bun makes this noise? Is it while sleeping? Playing?


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QUESTION: Hi Christine she mainly makes the most noise while sleeping but occasionally while I'm petting her as well. I don't hear it when she is running around or playing. She is eating well and loves to run around outside every morning with me. She did have a patio door shut on her head in July but after her pain meds she was fine then developed diahrreah in September but that was successfully treated as well. Don't know if this is related bur thought I would give you a brief history of the last several months.
Thank you

ANSWER: Anita,

Is she, by any chance, a lop or lop-mix? I know that breed has a tendency to have a sort of snorting or honking sound when sleeping/relaxed and that it can develop later in life (my bun Clyde developed a "snore" about 3 years ago).

I don't think it's an upper respiratory infection for two reasons:
1) Because you specifically DON'T hear it when she's running and playing. That sort of activity would irritate an infection like that.
2) Because all other signs are normal - eating, poops (I'm assuming are fine at this point), activity, etc.


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QUESTION: She is a Florida White and she is acting fine except for the breathing noises. I am concerned because I watched a video posted online by Medirabbit showing an apparently healthy bunny making the exact same noises as my Lily and they said it was upper respiratory tract disease and would need medications such as antihistamines and a steroidal type of medication. I'm not sure if she needs to see my vet or its just an age related problem. I would much rather not take her to the vet ad it's so stressful for her especially if they decide to do unnecessary testing.


I don't think it's an URI because all other signs of illness are absent, but you describe it sounding like one and that has me worried since most bunny parents are more than a casual observer. Based on your feedback, there's just not enough information for me to really tell you one way or the other. Is there anything else you can share about symptoms? Any wheezing or labored breathing? Are her binky bursts/daytona 500's/sprints/whatever you might call them shorter in length than they usually are?

It can't hurt to take her in and be sure - especially since bunnies can go from bad to worse so quickly and I don't have a stethoscope next to her chest to hear it for myself. Not to mention home treatments may not be as effective as vet-prescribed antidotes. I would rather receive a few days of bunny butt and have to plead a mea culpa/offer some craisins as an apology than sit and wait for symptoms that may get worse.

I hope this is helpful for you Anita.



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Christine Whetstone


I am not an expert on wild rabbits, only domesticated rabbits. I can answer questions regarding habitats, behavior, diet, health, pairing/bonding - pretty much anything having to do with owning a rabbit.


I've owned indoor rabbits for the last 10 years. During that time I've gained experience in areas like bonding exercises, understanding behavior, warning signs of sick bunnies, how to handle more serious illnesses (GI stasis, abscesses, eye problems, etc.) and more. It's rare that I come across an inquiry that I do not already know the answer to.

House Rabbit Society, supporter of local rabbit rescues


Personal experience beats the pants off of a degree, in my opinion.

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