Blind kits

by Yvonna

I had a rabbit given to me, so I am unsure of her health. She had 6 kits and 3 are blind in one eye. One is completely blind and has since died. I am unfamiliar with raising rabbits and as such do not have any clue as to what may have caused this. Is this normal for a first litter?

***** Karen Sez *****
No, not normal. Can't be absolutely sure, but it sounds like you're describing kits with healed cases of nestbox eye. Newborn rabbit kits have been known to pick up eye infections from the environment in their nest box about the time they start to open their eyes. The infections are easily treated with opthalmic antibiotic ointment, if caught in time. If not, the affected eye eventually heals but becomes scarred over and blind.

This would be the case if it is a scarring of the the cornea that you're seeing.

But, if the cornea is clear but you see an eerie milky white where the black pupil should be, then the bunnies with the blind eyes actually have juvenile cataracts. This is a genetic recessive condition which doesn't affect the rabbit's overall quality of life, other than being blind in one or both eyes.

See for more information. (3 affected kits out of 6 is a very high incidence for a recessive trait that should affect only 1 in 4, unless the sire also had a cataract.)

Without the advantage of seeing your rabbits, these are my best guesses. I favor the first guess. You should probably have a rabbit vet take a look and either confirm or give you an actual hands-on diagnosis and any extra care guidelines.

Enjoy the rabbits.

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