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Rabbits/Skin response to injections


QUESTION: Hello! A few weeks ago I had to give my rabbit, Rosie, a series of 5 injections to resolve sneezing attacks (the medicine was given to me by the breeder). I am not great at giving the injections so sometimes I had to stick Rosie 2-3 times to get all the medicine in. Now, a few weeks later I noticed she has some scabbing around her shoulder blades where I gave the injections and in one particularly bad area she has an obvious injection site (looks like a small hole that is scabbing) and a large area of red skin. The entire "bad" area is probably 2 inches long (vertical down her back starting from the injection site) and a 1/2 inch wide and the red area is probably 1/2 by 1/2 inch. It looks as maybe she scratched off some scabs and has raw skin but I don't want to mistake it for an infection. She is acting pretty normal except that she itches and licks the area. The area of the red skin has lost some fur as well (I see some regrowth). I have spoken with the breeder who has not seen Rosie but going off my description she said to gently clean the area and apply antibiotic (that does not have cortisone). Inspecting it right now I realize it looks similar to when I have scuffed a knee and have a fresh scab coming in (red and a little brownish/yellowish even). Also the area of the injection site looks like it may be a tiny bit puffy but the skin here is a normal color. Should I be worried about infection? Any advice on what I can do to tend to this area? Thank you so much. We don't have a vet near us that deals with rabbits and the pet shops seem clueless. I get most of my information from the breeder but I would love a second opinion. I have been searching the internet too but couldn't really find information on possible reactions to injections in rabbits.

ANSWER: Stephany,

What exactly did this breeder give you? I'm a little concerned that medication is being administered to an animal without a license and proper training.

In any case, the signs you have mentioned are of greater concern - a 2" area from a simple injection is worrisome. It could be that she's experiencing a reaction to what she was given. One suggestion I can give is to brew some chamomile tea, let it cool, then soak a SUPER SOFT towel in it and gently dab at the area. You can also softly wipe along the direction of hair growth too. This should soothe the skin and (hopefully) the red/irritation as well.

Best of luck, and keep me posted!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the response Christine. Rosie's sore spot turned into a large scab and the skin around it looks healthy and there is a lot of fur regrowth. She scratches and bites at her scabs and I am worried that she will tear off the new fresh scab. Any suggestions on how to prevent this? Will the chamomile work to stop the itching?

Also, to answer your question, I don't remember the name of the medicine but I think it's an antibiotic used on farm animals. The breeder told us that her very first rabbit had similar problems to Rosie-- the sniffles I guess you would call it. She said she took the rabbit to a vet and they tried a bunch of different stuff, like breathing therapy, and nothing worked. The vet worked with farm animals and suggested this medicine to the breeder. It worked and the breeder has been using it ever since.

We used this medicine on Rosie about a year ago. She gets terrible sneezing fits when Spring comes around. We keep her area clean and dusted and she has bedding that is 99% dust free. Anyway, we gave her the shots last year and they worked and she had absolutely no negative reaction to them. Then, using them this year she got better in terms of her sneezing but then we noticed she had the scabs and sore spots. I wonder if it's from the way I administered them? If her sneezing happens again next year I will try to find another alternative. I definitely won't be giving the shots again.

Thank you so much for all of your help. I love Rosie so much and just want her to be happy and healthy!


Glad to hear the skin is healing - it sounds like it's headed in the right direction. Unfortunately the only sure fire way to stop her from scratching at it is to put a cone on, and I can guarantee you she won't be happy with that. The chamomile will help with the irritation, it's got a soothing agent (naturally) and is also often used for irritated eyes as well.

Don't worry - you are doing right by Rosie and I know she'll appreciate you even more for it.



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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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