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Rabbits/returning pasturella abscess


Hi Dana I have a rabbit who has already had surgery to remove a cheek abscess twice since January and it just surfaced again.  He will need a third surgery.  The culture was only positive for pasturella and he is already on daily metacam and baytil for life due to a horrible inner ear infection that kept causing head tilt.  xrays show no dental reason for the abscess

Can you recommend any options to try and control this abscess?  He is other wise very happy.  He eats drinks and poos normally and has a mate.  His mate has horrible sneezing fits and nasal discharge and is treated as needed for pasturella as well.  I am guessing the tilt and constant meds have left my boy somewhat immune compromised and the pasturella is a bit tougher on him thus the abscesss' I just dont know if my poor baby is strong enough to keep having surgery every six to eight weeks there must be another option.  Please help any advise would be appreciated.

Dear Victoria

If this were my bunny, I would ask the vet about putting him on injectable, dual-acting Penicillin-G Procaine/Benzathine every 48 hours.  Our vets use a dose beween 50,000-80,000 IU/kg, which works well.  This antibiotic seems to have better abscess penetration and longer "hang time" than Baytril.  We have found it *very* effective against abscesses in the head.

I 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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