Matting on rabbit's inner paws but never any other symptoms

by Carli Grimes
(Sherburn MN)

Hello. I know that matting inside the inner paws is a general indication of pasteurella. However, I have noted a handful of my rabbits that have had matted fur here and there inside their inner paws but have never showed any other symptoms of pasteurella. Some are a couple of years old that were born here, and have had litters without additional issues, going on to have babies that have never had white snot or other signs of pasteurella.

I have seen white snot pop up twice in my barn and I culled all rabbits immediately. One was 3 years ago in a rabbit that just came off transport and then again just recently in an angora litter. I culled the doe and the entire liter the moment it was discovered and quickly sprayed the entire cage down with 1:10 bleach solution.

I had gotten a rabbit from another breeder a year ago and when he came off transport he had yellowish green discharge in his nasal area. I was not sure what it was and as always, anything new coming in goes into 30-60 day quarantine.

This is a wool breed and I have been looking closely at several other rabbits in this breed and have spotted virtually hundreds with the same yellow/green in the nasal area since then. I am wondering what this could be since it seems everywhere I look I see this on angora. I have never seen white snot on mine that has it.

I have included 4 pictures for reference the first one being the rabbit I got and a few other random ones I found quickly that show what I mean.

***** Karen Sez *****

Hmmm, I would not be happy to see those noses in my barn. They all show signs of mucus drainage. I would expect therefore to find matting on four sets of paws.

It sounds to me like your rabbits have strong enough immunity to control the extent of the infection, but please realize that the infection is still there.

I know you said "...never any other symptoms." But for me, matting is already a symptom, one that I would not want to tolerate because it is an indication that the germ continues to be active in the rabbit's body.

There is a way to select the genetically strong animals in your herd and remove from the breeding program the genetically weak animals. In a year or two, the mats and snot are likely to be a thing of the past.

Check out our thoughts on eliminating Pasteurellosis in your rabbits.

As to what is the yellow/green discharge in many wooled animals, you would need a veterinary diagnosis to be sure, since there are a number of respiratory germs that cause discharges.

Depending on the diagnosis, the animals may or may not be able to be treated effectively. Pasteurella is very difficult to eradicate, but many other respiratory issues can be reasonably cured.

Our book, Rabbit Raising Problem Solver, has an excellent section on common and uncommon rabbit diseases, including Pasteurellosis. (See the ad in the right column of this page for more details about this great resource.)

Why so many wooled animals with yellow/green discharge? I'm not sure, of course, but I wonder if lax breeding practices have resulted in a genetic weakness towards a particular yellow/green mucus-producing germ in your geographic area. I can certainly postulate that a very "reputable" breeder with desirable stock might have chosen to medicate rather than cull for health. Because his/her animals were beautiful and they didn't want to lose money, they sold these genetically weak animals, resulting in yellow/green discharges in many animals in many herds. (I know of similar cases among Rex breeders, as described on our Pasteurellosis page linked above).

A reputation is priceless. If people find out whose rabbitry is the source of the majority of disease in a particular population or breed, the culprit will have trashed his own reputation.

I love it when people choose to do the right thing, and breed health into their animals.

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