Sneezing rabbit, what should I do?

by Rabbit Farm Hobby
(New Mexico)

Hello, I purchased 3 rabbits from one breeder all from different parents, one of them sneezes, no white or yellow mucus. I had kept them quarantined for 4 weeks before adding them to my other rabbits. One of the rabbits I got from (same place) just had kits she is doing good, no sneezing.

Can it be dust from the hay when I add it into the feeders and cages that makes my boy sneeze? I only notice him sneezing when I do that or when he is outside in the play yard (dirt, flyaway fine dirt, powdery). I live in a very dry state. We got maybe a drop of rain in the last 6 months. I added hay and straw in the play area to help settle down the dirt. Can I hose off the timothy hay that I feed them to help the sneezing? Or do I have a bigger problem on my hands? What is your opinion? I clean out the barn every day and once a week every cage gets washed with bleach water and sun dried.

The only picture I have of him is on YouTube. His name is Ford and is too young to breed. Can I also have permission to post a link to your page to my YouTube channel it is very useful. Thank you for have this here. Enjoy your day.

***** Karen Sez *****
It’s very difficult to make any sort of a diagnosis from here, but since you asked for my opinion, I’ll offer an opinion.

According to your descriptions, it does sound like the problems may be environmental, which is good news. Dust certainly does prompt a rabbit to sneeze, and that sneeze will probably sound quite dry. If, however, you see white or yellow snot, or a persistently runny or moist nose (even in the evenings when the temps cool down), then you may wish to get a proper veterinary diagnosis.

I suspect that your cleaning regimen is a bit of overkill. Do you notice that the daily barn cleaning makes the air dusty around the rabbits? Try cleaning the barn once a week and see if that reduces the sneezing ...or not. Plus what if you cut back on the cage bleaching to once a month? Cleanliness is very important with rabbits, but it’s not like you need a sterile environment.

Hosing off the hay might reduce the dust, however I’d worry about the possibility of mold developing in pockets of residual moisture. What about using a blow dryer on cold to sort of dust off the hay? (Just trying to think out loud...!) I’d be interested in learning how Ford is doing – whether he outgrew his sneezing, or whether he actually got sick.

And yes, feel free to post a link to on your YouTube channel, glad you appreciate this website. :-)

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May 20, 2014
Ford sneezing cleared
by: Rabbit Farm Hobby

Hello Karen,Thank you for your response. All my rabbits are doing great. Ford sneezing stopped in a couple days. After I wrote you I water the rabbit play yard to cut down on dust and spread the timothy hay out on a chicken wire fence to lay flat and hosed it down as well about 4 feet off the ground so it would dry very well and to get the dust out of it. I was a little afraid of mold but that's why I placed it up off the ground and we have no humidity here. Then placed it into the rabbit play yard little old house on shelf to keep dust of getting on it again. I did leave Ford in play yard for a week, out of rabbit barn to get plenty of exercise and fresh air and good hay and a higher grade feed. I did start to grow my own fodder. My rabbits like that fresh greens. I also clean out barn once a week and changed to deep cleaning monthly and change trays every other day that way I do not stir up too much dust. Living in New Mexico we got no rain here and the air is very dusty almost daily as it is. I also have a sprayer I dilute with some apple cider vinegar once a week when I am cleaning out cages and barn I use that to wash the floors and walls. That is a very subtle smell and I have no flies. That also don't let me, while sweeping to kick up the dust. We are hitting high 90F here and I have installed a window AC unit, and I put wet winged out towels on the other windows to cut the dust from flying in my rabbit barn. The AC does not blow directly on my rabbits so they do not get too cold. I also installed a low exhaust fan to blow out below the rabbits that way any urine smell won't irritate them. Keeping the small rabbit barn clean smelling and a cool 65F at 90F outside. I hope this system still works when we go over 100F in the next few weeks. I am raising my rabbits to be meat rabbits, one or two for show, I will see as I go along and a few for pets. They are of Californian and New Zealand rabbits. Even so I care and respect the rabbits and I believe they deserve the best care they can get. Happy healthy rabbits make me happy. Thank you again Karen for your response. I hope to post and up date on my rabbits tomorrow 5/20 on the changes I made. As of right now I have no more sneezing rabbit. Ford is doing great, and the rest is happy. Like I said before a happy well exercise, good food and proper cleaning makes for happy friendly rabbits, thus making me happy. Thank you Have a wonderful day. Rabbit Farm Hobby. Please stop by my channel anytime. I will also add your site on my page.

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