Suspicious please help!

by Rachael

I was worried about two of my mixed breed rabbits today. As I was trimming their nails I noticed they had snot! And it was stringy, It doesn't appear as if anything else is wrong either. I was hoping to re home them but I don't want to re home them if they are ill! And I don't want to take them for a vet visit without consulting with someone else if this sounds normal or not. They excrete inside their hutch box as well.

I uploaded some pictures. Its hard to see but the snot is there. Please respond soon. I would like to get them to a new home but not if they are ill.

***** Karen Sez *****
First off, a big thank you for caring enough to be willing to NOT re home a sick rabbit.

Yes, it is hard to see any snot, but I definitely can recognize significant moisture. Healthy rabbits don't have noses that are that wet. If there is white snot, these rabbits are sick. If there is excessive dampness, they are possibly sick. A vet can do a culture and sensitivity to attempt to identify the pathogen. The problem is that the chances of obtaining nothing but a false-negative in the case of Pasteurellosis is quite good.

Because the only appropriate solution in the case of Pasteurellosis is permanent, we hope you'll rule out any other causes for the nose moisture - dust in the air, a hot day, nose in the water bowl, stuff like that. If you fix these minor things and the moisture goes away, we'd be just excited as you.

But sadly, if you're seeing stringy snot already, we can say with strong certainty that you're dealing with animals that have either Pasteurellosis or Bordetellosis or both. It's frightfully common in rabbits that are re homed. Even though the snot is the rabbits' only symptom right now, the chances are very great that their immune systems will eventually decompensate. We don't know when that would be, since every rabbit is different. If a single course of antibiotic treatment eventually fails, then sadly euthanization is the only 'cure' at that point.

Please note that it would be ideal to NOT keep any additional rabbits as long as you have the sick ones in your home. (Or if you do, you should keep the sick animals under strict quarantine, with hand-washing and clothes-changing in between the care of each group of rabbits.)

Unfortunately, the following anecdotal report is fairly typical - the difference is that the rabbit in the story was already quite sick at the outset: (copy and paste into your browser).

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