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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22463
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My rabbit has red swollen eye lids on both eyes what could

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My rabbit has red swollen eye lids on both eyes what could be wrong with her .

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

How long has Thumper's eyes been like this?

Any coughing, sneezing, wheezing, or increased respiratory noise?

Any discharge from the eyes? If so, what color?

Are you seeing any changes to the eyes themselves (ie clouding of the eyes, redness, etc)?

Has she been vaccinated?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
There has been no change to the eyes there is no discharge from the eyes they have been the same for about 24hour we also have another rabbit with the same problem she is a bit younger then thumper and we wear due to get them vaccinated next week.

Thank you,

Now when we see both eyes affected with conjunctival redness and swelling, we do have a few concerns. Since you mentioned multiple animals affected in your history, we would be most concerned about infectious agents (ie bacteria, fungi, viruses) and those that are potentially airborne or could be carried by people handling the rabbits. Of these agents, our general bacterial conjunctivitis bugs are the most common cause. Though we do have to appreciate that we can see this in conjunction with lung based infections as well. Furthermore, while we usually we will also see snotty discharges with this, it is possible to see early stage infections not yet have that discharge (as it takes time for the bacterial population to grow and the immune system to respond). So, this would be a concern here.

Otherwise, just to note that if you have started feeding a dusty hay or are using a dusty bedding, that the ocular signs we are seeing could be related to allergic irritation to airborne irritants. So, if this is a potential here, then we'd want to consider soaking hay in water before feeding to reduce airborne dust and using paper bedding to rule out allergies from the bedding.

Further to this (and admittedly my concern here based on your description), we'd have to consider if there is any chance that the virus Myxomatosis has gotten into your rabbit group. The reason this is a concern is because we often see red conjunctival inflammation in early stages of this viral infection. You can see examples of this HERE and HERE. As Thumper is not vaccinated, this would be a major worry (and even more so if she is showing any lethargy, appetite loss, or swelling of the genital/anal areas).

Overall, these would all be potential triggers for the signs you are seeing. In this case, if Thumper and the other rabbit are showing any reduced activity or appetite loss, it'd be ideal to have them checked immediately. If you cannot, then do make sure to isolate them from any other rabbits, use strict hygiene (changing clothes, washing hands, etc) between handling these two and any others. Consider soaking hay and paper bedding (ie newspaper) to rule out airborne irritants, keep flushing the eyes with sterile saline (ie plain contact lens solution or first aid eye wash), and monitor their food intake. Hopefully, we will see them respond as airborne irritants are removed, but otherwise this is quite worrying for Thumper and this other young immune naive rabbit.

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

I hope this information is helpful.

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

All the best,

Dr. B.


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