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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22616
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My Grandaughters rabbit seems to have a lump on his back, and

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My Grandaughters rabbit seems to have a lump on his back, and the white fur around it
has turned kind of orange, he wont let us touch it. he just runs away as if he's scared. what could it be

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.



Now as I am sure you can appreciate, lumps like this can be caused by a range of issues. We can see them be cysts, abscess, and benign growths of normal tissue; but we can also see more sinister types of masses. And if this is a lump that is already causing him discomfort, then addressing it early will give you the best chance of settling this for him.

Now with the discoloration of his fur in this area and his reaction to it being handled (likely it is sore), I would be most suspicious that Snowball's lump is an abscess caused by bacterial infection. Often this can arise with skin trauma (even microtrauma if he has caught his skin on his cage or his nail from itching) that has become inoculated by opportunistic skin bacteria. As the bacterial population grows under the skin, pus accumulates which can distend the skin until they are painful or until it ruptures or ulcerates.

In this case, it would be prudent to have him checked by his vet at this stage. They can examine the mass and potentially check a sample of its contents via fine needle aspiration (FNA). This is where the vet uses a needle to harvest cells from the mass. Animals do tend to be quite tolerant of this and often the sampling can be done in the consult room without sedation. If the vet performs the FNA and removes pus, then this confirms an abscess/infection (which can be treated with antibiotics). If clear fluid is removed, then it is likely a cyst (which can be drained and often only removed for cosmetic reasons). Otherwise, if these two are not the culprit, then the vet will stain the cells extracted to identify the nature of the mass. As well, at the same time, the vet will be able to examine Snowball for other lumps or bumps and perform a general check up to make sure nothing else is amiss.

Overall, an uncomfortable lump on a young rabbit does raise suspicions of an abscess. Still we cannot rule out those other lumps at this stage. Therefore, especially as he is showing discomfort here, I would advise considering having him seen by his vet (not as an emergency as long as he is otherwise well and eating, but once his vet is open since this isn't nice for him). They can check the lump and if this is an abscess they can drain the pus away and cover him with rabbit safe antibiotics and pain relief to get this settled for him.


If you don’t already have a rabbit vet, and wish to find one near you, by checking here the RCVS register (LINK) or HERE.


I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

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