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Linda Simon
Linda Simon, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 983
Experience:  MVB MRCVS
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I'm worried about my rabbit. About a week ago I took him to

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Hello, I'm worried about my rabbit. About a week ago I took him to the vet as his eye had been weeping a lot and I noticed that he'd been shaking his head and scratching his ears a lot. The vet could not find any issues - he said his teeth were fine and he couldn't find any abscesses etc. He said the weeping could just be a chronic problem. However I've just found some information online saying that rabbits can contract herpes from humans and that it causes encephalitis in them. I had a cold sore at about the time my rabbit starting having symptoms and I'm really worried in case I could have passed the virus to him.
Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. There are all sorts of infections Starting can pick up. I'll have you talk to the Veterinarian who'll sort out what is wrong and help you decide what to do about it. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Starting?
Customer: Not that I can think of.
Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda.
I am sorry to hear your rabbit has not been well.
While there have been a small number of cases reported of the human HSV virus being transmitted to rabbits this is incredibly rare and certainly not something I (or most vets) have seen in my career.
It would require the human to be shedding a large amount of the virus and to have extensive contact (face to face) with the rabbit during this period.
Symptoms may start mildly but quickly progress to severe neurological (encephalitis or swelling of the brain) and ocular issues.
It is FAR more likely that your rabbit has something such as blocked tear ducts, slightly overgrown molars (which can be difficult to detect in an awake rabbit and may require sedation to identify), a tooth root abscess (which is not visible on exam and requires xrays to diagnose) or a rabbit specific infection.
If you are particularly concerned, ask your vet to take a swab of the lesion so it can be sent away to determine which organisms are present.
If the rabbit is getting worse, consider having them sedated for a thorough oral exam and xrays of the mouth and head. A blood test may also be useful.
I would also take a swab of the ears to check for infection or mites.
In future if you get another cold sore, limit contact with your bunny and be sure to wash your hands before and after any interaction.
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Thank you, that's reassuring. Are there any early symptoms of encephalitis that I could keep a look out for just in case? He seems to be behaving normally at the moment except for the head shaking although he did wee on me a couple of days ago which is unusual.
As urinary infections are not uncommon in bunnies and can sometimes be difficult to diagnose, it may be worth having the urine analysed to ensure there is no infection given he urinated in an unusual place and has not been himself.
With regards encephalitis most bunnies
are suddenly very unwell and have dramatic signs immediately which can include loss of balance, head tilt, seizures etc.
Linda Simon and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Okay, thank you for your help!