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possible episodes of choking and fluid coming out of nose

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kimmycup1

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Hi everyone, I've been having an issue with my rabbit, Jonah, who has episodes of what I assume is choking and fluid coming out through his nose. The first time it happened was in 2018, in the middle of the night I heard thumping(not sure if it was him or my other bunny), so I checked and saw he had liquid all over his nose. I got my mom to help me, we cleaned him up, he was having a really hard time breathing and we didn't think he'd make it. Luckily after awhile he perked up and was fine. Since that first time, it's maybe happened once or twice more, until recently when it has happened twice again, once this morning and once last week. When it happened the first time a couple of years ago I knew he probably choked on some food because in the liquid I could see it. Now when it happens it's just clear liquid. The last 2 times were in the morning while I'm around, and I worry this will happen when I am somewhere else and won't be able to help him. I have searched some forums and found information about it, but I was wondering if anyone has any experience with this and if there is anything I can do to prevent it? He gets some pellets and hay first thing in the morning so I'm not sure which he might be choking on.
 

JBun

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He's probably choking on his pellets. What brand of pellets do you feed? Have you ever had him to the vet to have his teeth checked?

Just be aware that anytime a rabbit has a choking episode, it puts them at risk of developing aspiration pneumonia, which can be fatal with in days. Particularly if you see bits of food in the fluid coming out of the nose and mouth. In which case a prompt vet appointment and your bun being put on a rabbit safe antibiotic is essential in stopping the development of pneumonia.
Basic rabbit choking information. See a rabbit savvy vet before needing or trying any technique! 'Heimlich maneuver', Centrifugal Swing, Thoracic compressions, Back slaps & Regurgitation info. (note warning and caution to consult with vet first)
 

kimmycup1

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I recommended he go to the vet the first time it happened, since I read that he could develop pneumonia, but he is my mom's rabbit and she doesn't have any income so unless it's serious or someone else pays for it, then the vet is never really an option(which I don't agree with because animals often have unexpected emergencies and it's our responsibility as a pet owner to take care of them, but she still has them anyway) so no, he has not had his teeth checked by a vet. I'm pretty sure the brand of food he is on is called manna pro. Probably not the healthiest, but he doesn't get a lot. He doesn't have an issue eating vegetables, and I don't watch him eat his pellets but I might try to set up a camera to see if I can catch what is going wrong
 

JBun

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The likely cause is him snarfing pellets down and they get stuck in the throat. Options there are trying a pellet like oxbow that is a smaller size pellet, which could possibly make a difference in the pellets getting stuck in the throat(but no guarantee). Scatter feeding sometimes helps slow down scarfing the pellets up. Otherwise to stop the choking episodes from happening it's going to take eliminating pellets and only feeding hay(f it turns out hay isn't contributing as well), free feeding pellets so he stops scarfing them(which isn't the most desirable option), or soaking the pellets to make it into a mush(needs to be made up fresh so it doesn't develop mold) so there won't be any whole pellets to get stuck.

The other possibility is that he has developed molar spurs on his back teeth, causing him to chew incorrectly because of the sharp points digging into the cheek and tongue and making chewing difficult. And this causing him to have problems chewing up and swallowing his food the way he needs to. And for this it would take a dental exam, and if something is found, have the corrective dental work done.
 

kimmycup1

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I've been watching him eat his pellets, and he isn't eating fast and I've been thinking back to when he has these episodes, I never notice pellets in his bowl, so now I'm wondering if it's the hay. We get a big bale of hay from a local store, and he's been on the same hay since we've had him besides when he was on alfalfa as a baby. It's just regular timothy hay.

I also have not noticed any discomfort while he's eating his pellets. They are pretty small in size and fairly soft. He gets fresh hay in the morning and evening, and also gets a few pellets at both times so he always eats his pellets then moves onto his hay and will snack on that throughout the day. This morning I gave him pellets, then gave him the hay a little while later hoping it would make a difference.
 

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