Rabbit eye problems are more common than you think. And you can tell a lot about your rabbit’s health from how its eyes look like. But it definitely takes some knowledge to know what is normal and what isn’t.
It’ll be very helpful to learn what do rabbit eyes look like when they’re healthy versus when they’re not. That way, if your rabbit has any symptoms or looks sick in any way, you’ll get to nip it in the bud and save your furry friend!
This article will talk about rabbit eye color, how to determine if your rabbit is healthy or not by looking at its eyes.
We’ll also go into detail on common rabbit eye problems and their symptoms so that you can take action quickly if anything seems off with your bunny’s peepers!
How to identify a healthy pair of rabbit eyes
Certain rabbit eye colors are more indicative of a healthy rabbit than others.
The most common is that the eyes will be bright and shiny, free from any redness or discharge in the corners of their lids.
Darker colored eyes indicate that your rabbit may have some old blood cells hanging out behind its retina (which can happen as it gets older).
Reddish-brown or golden hues mean that your rabbit’s immune system is functioning well and they’re not suffering from an illness.
Some ailments like bacterial conjunctivitis can cause green gunk to form inside the eyelid folds, which changes the color of your rabbit’s eyes.
What do rabbit eyes tell you about their health
You can tell a lot about your bunny’s health by looking at their eyes. It’s worth checking them frequently because rabbit eye problems can arise
All rabbit eyes have a color, but it will be different depending on what type of rabbit you’re dealing with. There are three main colors: blue (most common), pink, and brown/amber.
A healthy eye should always look bright and clear. If they don’t then the rabbit might not be feeling well.
A small amount of discharge is normal for rabbits, as long as there isn’t too much or any crusts around the corner of their eyes. A lot of pus means that an infection could be present and needs to be treated by your veterinarian ASAP!
How to identify a sick pair of rabbit eyes
If you think something might be up with your bunny’s peepers, then take a good close-up look.
If you see any discharge or crusting, it’s a sign that your rabbit has an infection and needs to be taken to the vet for treatment as soon as possible.
Most common rabbit eye problems
Rabbits are very clever animals. They don’t even have to blink their eyes because they’re covered with a transparent third eyelid, a clear membrane called the nictating lid (or third eyelid) right behind the corner on top of each eyeball.
It helps to moisten the surface of their eye and keeps things from sticking onto it, which is why you almost never see them blinking!
Rabbits don’t blink as often as we humans do. They only need to open and close about ten or twelve times an hour due in part because rabbits possess a that protects these sensitive areas by keeping everything dry.
Though despite their nifty little evolutionary advantage, their eyes can still get affected. Here are some of the most common rabbit eye problems:
- Conjunctivitis. Too much discharge that is watery or pus-filled, crusts around the rabbit’s eyes.
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca. A rabbit eye problem that causes dryness in their cornea and conjunctiva. It can also put them at risk for other health problems like respiratory infections.
- Eyelid problems and ulcers. Ulcers can develop on your bunny’s corea. It becomes an unsettling wound on the surface of its eyeball. If left untreated, it can sometimes cause severe damage and loss of vision.
- Corneal lesions. Blindness causing scabs. This can happen as a result of injury or just because it scratches its cornea while grooming itself. It needs to see a veterinarian for immediate treatment!
- Glaucoma. A build-up in protein in your rabbit’s eye causes increased pressure on the eyeball. It leads to pain as well as damage of sight over time without treatment.
- Uveitis. Inflammation inside the eyeball.
- Dacryocystitis. Inflammation of the tear ducts.
- E. cuniculi. As the name suggests, it’s an infection that’s caused by a small parasite. It affects bunnies and causes severe damage to the brain, nervous system, kidneys, and at times, the eyes.
- Masses and tumors. Behind, in, and around the eye.
Infectious diseases can also cause eye problems in your bunny. Two of the most common ones are:
Myxomatosis is a virus that can quickly cause death in rabbits and has been known to spread through fleas, mosquitoes. It’s important for pet owners to vaccinate their pets against the disease as it grows more prevalent among wild populations of rabbits due to climate change.
The pasteurella infection is a common bacterial disease in rabbits that can cause the animal to feel bad and have breathing problems. The rabbit may also get an eye condition or abscesses from this bacteria, as well.
One last cause that you might be surprised about is dental disease. This is due to the fact that rabbit teeth are located very near to their eyes, which makes it prone to develop problems if your rabbit has issues with its teeth.
Symptoms of eye problems in rabbits
When rabbit eye problems occur, they can cause these common symptoms:
- Wet eyes, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Swelling, redness or bulging of the eye or around the eye lids
- Cloudiness in its cornea
- Noticable pain when your rabbit blinks
- Flickering eye movement
- Frequently seen with one or both eyes closed
- Transparent membrane (third eyelid) on its eyeballs become more apparent (i.e. looks cloudy)
- Lump in its eyeballs or around the eye
- Bloodshot eyes
What to do if your rabbit seems unhealthy
Take them into their vet now! They might need medication or antibiotics. They could have conjunctivitis which means there are bacteria infecting their eyes. Or it could be one of many other issues. If left untreated rabbit eye problems can lead to blindness and worse.
If your rabbit is healthy, its eyes will be clear, bright, and free of any discharge or redness. This condition should also be reflected in the rabbit’s general health: alert and responsive with a good appetite, though they might blink more often than usual.
Tips for preventing eye infections in rabbits
You should never use any type of water or wet wipes to clean your rabbit’s eyes.
Rabbits can’t blink, so most rabbits end up with an infection if the goop from their tears is not removed by a good scrubbing instead of moistening it.
Types of home remedies to use on the eyes if your bunny has a sore, itchy, or irritated eye
A rabbit health expert recommends using a saline-based eyewash solution.
Rinse the eye with water and then apply rabbit-safe calendula ointment or topical ophthalmic antibiotic such as polymyxin B sulfate/trimethoprim (Bacitracin) otic drops.
If you’re not sure what to use, call your veterinarian for advice.
When should you take your pet to the vet for an examination of their eye(s)
So, what do I do if my rabbit looks sick? Take your rabbit to the veterinarian as soon as possible so they can diagnose what disease may have caused the issues with its eyes
The sooner you get help, the better chance there is of a rabbit’s eyes improving and getting back to normal.
Some rabbits will have eye problems that can’t be cured, but there are many treatments available for the others.
Talk with your veterinarian about what options might work best for you.