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Rabbits/Rabbit Syphilis



We have two rabbits; one spayed female and one neutered male. Both are rescues from local shelters.

We brought the female home a few months back and found out she had gotten out with her previous owner and contracted rabbit syphilis. She had lesions on her privates and nose. She was treated with penG shots.

We brought the male home a few weeks ago and started the bonding process (it is going well).

Well follow-up bloodwork has revealed that our female may still have syphilis. She has not shown any sign of the disease (no lesions on her privates or nose) in at least 6 weeks. The vet thinks it's possible her bloodwork is testing as a non-contagious positive.

My question is; is it possible she may have passed the disease on to our male rabbit? When the two met, the female had gone through a full round of penG treatments (two different penicillins in a shot form three weeks in a row). She has since started the penG shots again and has two left. Also as I mentioned, she hadn't shown any outward signs of the disease for at least 6 weeks before the two met.

Thanks for your help!


I don't believe your bun can pass it along as there are two methods of transmission - by birth and during mating, and both your buns are fixed. She may still have the bacteria and it may be lying dormant since she's not under as much stress as she once was. Here are some links that might help explain further:

Hope this puts your mind at ease somewhat. Best of luck in treatment for your little girl.



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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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