Question My rabbit, Pumpkin, has been diagnosed with pneumonia. He has been on Enroflaxin and Lasix since April 25. His lungs were getting better and he was not coughing or sneezing as much. He had a barium swallow because they though he might have a diaphragmatic hernia. That came back negative. Today I took him back because it looked like he was breathing a little harder over the weekend and they put him on oxygen when he got there just to be safe. She has put him on Azithromycin,Trimthoprim/Sulfa, and has him continuing the Lasix. She said she did an ultrasound and his right lung is clear but the left lung looks solid so she thinks he may have a collapsed lung. When we were bringing him home he started to panic and he opened his mouth like he couldn't breath and kind of fell over. When we got him in the house he started to calm down and then he was acting normal. He always acts normal in every way except the sneezing and coughing and recently the hard breathing but that hasn't stopped him from enjoying himself. They also did an aspiration of the fluid and she said it didn't show any certain kind of organism. I'm not really sure what I'm asking. I just extremely worried and wonder if you have any other ideas or if this sounds right. I also don't want to keep taking him to the vet all the time because it really stresses him out. What if it is a collapsed lung? What can we do? Is the pneumonia going to get better r will he have it the rest o his life? He also has malocclusion and once a year has to get his back teeth trimmed and I won't do that if he is having difficulty breathing. I volunteer at Heartland Rabbit Rescue in OKC and the director gave me your name. I appreciate your help.
Answer Dear Christine,
Treatment for a collapsed lung in a rabbit will not be very different from treatment for a collapsed lung in any other species.
If the condition is not severe, it may resolve on its own as your bunny recovers from the pneumonia with proper medication. But if bun appears to be having difficulty breathing, please ask the vet about nebulization with medications to open her airways and help mucus mobilize so it can be coughed up and swallowed. It might be worth asking about supplemental oxygen you can administer at home, too.
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: THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.
If your rabbits is LETHARGIC
If your rabbit is NOT EATING
If your rabbit is PHYSICALLY INJURED (including broken bones)
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.
Organizations Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president
National House Rabbit Society (Board member)
Publications Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide
Education/Credentials Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English
Awards and Honors Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology