Abscess treatment in rabbits. Whether a staph skin infection in rabbits or pasteurella skin infection, learn how to recognize an abscess under the fur and heal it.
Keeping your rabbit's environment clean is important, but no matter how clean you keep it – the place is not sterile. From time to time, it is possible that you could discover a boil or abscess on some part of a rabbit’s body. As you pet your rabbits and provide their daily care, simply be alert for the possibility of an abscess under all that fur. You won’t need a magnifying glass. You’ll be able to feel a soft and round lump over which your hand will bump as you stroke the rabbit.
Remember, we’re not vets here at Raising-Rabbits, but we do have some hands-on experience with caring for sick rabbits.
Your best bet is to see your rabbit-savvy vet. But in the meantime, or in the chance you don’t have access to a veterinarian, we’d like to provide you with the following tips on abscess treatment.
What caused the abscess?
A common causative organism is Staphylococcus aureus (staph skin infection), however the germ Pasteurella multocida is another very frequent culprit. This is the same germ that causes Pasteurellosis (Snuffles).
A huge percentage of rabbits harbor both staphylococcus and pasteurella on a normal basis, without exhibiting any ill effects.
The abscess develops because…
From a cut or a scratch on the rabbit, the break in the skin provides an entryway for germs to get under the skin where they don’t belong. If this minor infection of a cut is not quickly eradicated by the rabbit’s immune system, the germs will multiply under the skin and the immune system will send white blood cells to fight the germs. The abscess is an enlarging infection encapsulated under the skin, and the contents are a combination of dead white blood cells (pus) and the causative bacteria.
Staph Infection Symptoms:
If you run your hand over the rabbit and feel an unusual, soft, movable round lump just under the skin, you’ve probably found an abscess. A pasteurella abscess will show identical symptoms.
It is not uncommon for the rabbit to be acting completely healthy. However the site of the infection may be reddened and warm to the touch. Pain is another frequent symptom of an infection, however an abscess in the skin typically has room to grow, and therefore may not develop significant signs of severe pain.
And grow it might. Abscesses can grow as huge as eggs, but if you’re handling your rabbit, you’ll probably notice something amiss before it becomes that huge. The abscess might be as big as a quarter or more, raising the skin possibly as much as a half inch (1.1 cm) or more.
Note: If you find a lump under the rabbit's jawline, this could be an abscess due to teeth problems. The source of the infection in this case is more likely to be Pasteurella stemming from maloccludion and a bone or tooth root infection rather than a break in the skin. Your vet will need to help you with this type of abscess. There is no way to fix this problem without specialized care.
If the abscess is somewhere else on the body, your vet can certainly provide abscess treatment, but here’s what we would do if we lived too far from veterinary care, or chose not to spend the money:
If this is your pet rabbit, and it is otherwise completely
healthy, the abscess treatment may result in complete healing. It may be the last you hear of this
problem. That’s great news!
Relative to this last option, Rabbit Production (Drs. Cheeke et al) has this to say:
We hope your rabbit’s abscess treatment will be a piece of
cake and that the staph skin infection symptoms will vanish into the sunset.