Possible URI? Very concerned!

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lynne2809

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Hi everyone! I have a 2.5 year old male Lionhead named Mickey. Mickey is a completely indoor bunny and he is 100% free roam in my bunny-proofed bedroom. I’ve noticed over the past few days that he’s had some thin, watery discharge from his nose. Usually I would not be worried about this and would assume that it is just condensation from him breathing, but I’ve noticed him sneezing multiple times per day as well. He’s also been laying around more often. After he was running around yesterday, he was laying down and breathing heavily with his mouth open. His head was not tilted back as if he was mouth-breathing, but I was still concerned. He seemed fine after he calmed down for a bit. He has never had an upper respiratory infection before (knock on wood). There is no thick or colored discharge from his nose. He is eating and drinking normally and pooping normally as well. He also seems like he has normal amounts of energy (he has been binkying around as usual). When I put my head near his nose, I can hear a very slight whistling sound when he is sniffing. He just say hello to me after I got home from work and he had some treats and then I noticed that he had the hiccups for about 60 seconds (I’ve never heard him have hiccups before but it didn’t last very long). I’m not sure if this could just be some minor nasal irritation from dust, hay, fur, etc. or if it could be a respiratory infection or pneumonia. I am super paranoid about him developing pneumonia because I know that it is often fatal in bunnies, but I don’t want to stress him out by taking him to the vet and starting him on antibiotics if it’s unnecessary. Are the signs of pneumonia typically more severe and obvious? Should I continue to watch him over the next week or so or should I take him to the vet ASAP? Thanks in advance!
 

JBun

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If he is actually mouth breathing, even if his head isn't tipped back, this is potentially a very concerning sign. A rabbit that has been running around and is tired from exertion, should still never be breathing from the mouth. It's hard to say if it could be something serious or not, since your rabbit is still behaving pretty normally, and there isn't any thick sticky discharge. But mouth breathing at all, in any rabbit, would be a concern to me and something it's probably best to get checked out right away.

 

lynne2809

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If he is actually mouth breathing, even if his head isn't tipped back, this is potentially a very concerning sign. A rabbit that has been running around and is tired from exertion, should still never be breathing from the mouth. It's hard to say if it could be something serious or not, since your rabbit is still behaving pretty normally, and there isn't any thick sticky discharge. But mouth breathing at all, in any rabbit, would be a concern to me and something it's probably best to get checked out right away.

Thank you for your reply. I’ve been keeping an eye on him since my post and he has been completely fine. I haven’t noticed any more sneezing and his nasal discharge is still just very thin and watery and there are very small amounts of it- almost like it is just condensation from him breathing. He did wake me up in the middle of the night thumping tonight and breathing fast, so I was very worried that it was because he was having breathing issues, but after I pet him and fed him some treats he seemed to relax and return to normal. Does this sound like it could be something like pneumonia, or does that seem unlikely since he is still eating, drinking, pooping, etc?
 

lynne2809

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Thank you for your reply. I’ve been keeping an eye on him since my post and he has been completely fine. I haven’t noticed any more sneezing and his nasal discharge is still just very thin and watery and there are very small amounts of it- almost like it is just condensation from him breathing. He did wake me up in the middle of the night thumping tonight and breathing fast, so I was very worried that it was because he was having breathing issues, but after I pet him and fed him some treats he seemed to relax and return to normal. Does this sound like it could be something like pneumonia, or does that seem unlikely since he is still eating, drinking, pooping, etc?
I’ve also been putting my ear near his nose to listen for any wheezing while he is breathing and it is completely quiet. He just ran around, ate some hay, drank some water, and had some treats. I’m wondering if maybe the thumping tonight is unrelated - maybe he just heard something that startled him?
 

JBun

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It sounds like something startled him.
 
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