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New Member
May 22, 2019
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Hi all,

I've had an issue with my 1-year-old holland lop rabbit, Pingu, since about September of 2018. Since this time, she's consistently had milky white discharge coming out of her eye, which has resulted in mild hair loss due to the area being irritated. The skin surrounding her eye tends to be a light pink - indicating mild irritation. Sometimes this pink color fades away, and it has never become a full red.

I've attached two pictures - one of when the condition first began in September, and one from today. The second one is a bit obscured since she was eating and I didn't want to disturb her. I can post another picture if this helps. However, her condition has not changed much at all from the first picture.


I've taken her to the vet (two different ones) multiple times and have been prescribed a myriad of eye drops and antibiotics. I can list the specific medications if requested. They've performed an eye flush, and some other sort of procedure that indicated that she had an eye ulcer at some point (they saw a scar left behind), but has apparently healed. We've tried switching her to specially cleaned hay with limited dust in an effort to minimize potential allergies from the hay dust, and this has not helped. The one thing we have not tried is sending a culture of her discharge to a lab, as this is..costly to say the least. This is a last resort, but it appears that we might have to do this anyway.

Overall, it doesn't seem to affect her quality of life at all - she is extremely active, social/affectionate, and has a monstrous appetite. She has a diet typical of an adult rabbit: timothy pellets, orchard grass hay, veggies, and Oxbow digestive treats.

However, my main concern is that Pingu has not been spayed yet. I adopted her as a baby, and she developed this condition before she was old enough to get fixed. My vet has given a (soft) recommendation that we hold off on the procedure until we figure out the cause of the issue, as it could potentially be a respiratory infection, thus increasing the likelihood of complications arising when she goes under anesthesia in the spay procedure.

However, I have not noticed anything - aside from the ocular discharge - indicating a respiratory infection - no sneezing or nasal discharge. Therefore, I personally think it's unlikely that she has a respiratory infection, and I'm thinking the infection/whatever is localized in her ocular region. However, I'm not a vet and don't know much.

Would it be okay to go ahead with the procedure anyway? I intended to get her spayed as soon as she turned 5-6 months old, and the fact that we've had to put it off for so long has been incredibly frustrating to me, due to her spraying and leaving her brown nuggets of joy everywhere. More importantly, I'm wildly concerned about her overall health, especially considering the potential of developing ovarian cancer as an unspayed female. My vet isn't flat out refusing to spay her but is a bit reluctant because of the potential of a respiratory infection.

And furthermore, does anyone have any clue what she has? Needless to say, I'm incredibly frustrated that I've spent hundreds of dollars on Pingu's eye infection, and nothing has helped. Although her condition has stayed mostly the same throughout this whole ordeal, I'm afraid it can turn into something worse if continued to be left untreated.

As I said, I've attached a couple of pictures which should hopefully be of help. Please let me know if you have any questions, and I'll do my best to answer them. Any input will be greatly appreciated and I'll be extremely grateful.

Thank you!
Have any dental radiographs been taken at all? The fact that it is unilateral, and not improving with ocular treatment really suggests to me a tooth root problem. The tooth root lies very close to the tear duct, so if there are any dental issues with that tooth it can lead to infection and inflammation in the rear duct and associated. Really, teeth are the first thing you should suspect when rabbits have eye problems.
I would tend to agree you shouldn’t put an unhealthy animal under GA until it has been resolved or if the op is urgent. I would suggest to go to a really rabbit knowledgable vet and suggest dental investigations... hopefully once that Avenue has been explored you will get better results.
Have any dental radiographs been taken at all?
No, there has not actually! This actually makes so much sense, and I'm a bit shocked it hasn't been brought up to me by a vet yet. I'll definitely ask for a dental radiograph the next time I go in. They've looked at her teeth and said they were fine, but never actually performed a full dental exam - nonetheless a scan.

What types of treatments do you think she might have to undergo, should it be a dental issue? Would she have to get a tooth pulled or otherwise go into surgery? Thank you!
If it was a tooth root abscess or overgrowth then yes a tooth would need to be pulled under GA. it’s hard to say until some imaging is done, but I really wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what it is. Hopefully it will be easy to fix once they’ve found a definitive cause! Good luck and keep us posted!

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