Sneezing

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Lilsakli

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I adopted a new male rabbit two weeks ago, two days later he started this sneezing fit of about 5 in a row then intermittently throughout the day. The fur around his nose looks a bit matted, particularly more so on the right side. Sometimes he cleans himself after sneezing 5 in a row. But in the instances of 1-2 sneezes, I really do not see any nasal discharges or snot coming from his nose. They seem more like dry sneezes. His paws are not matted. He has no eye discharge or scleral redness. He's not wheezing or demonstrating any difficulties breathing. He is eating, drinking, and playing as usual. No fatigue whatsoever. He was going through a heavy shed during the first week and a half that now appears to be lightening up. I vacuumed his pen area at least twice a day and tried to shake off the dust from his Timothy hay. I've also introduced herbs in his diet that I read up online that are supposed to boost the immune system (i.e. dandelion greens, echinacea, oregano). I am very afraid this might be pasteurella (as his did come from a 100 hoarding rabbit situation), but I understand his nasal discharge would need to be cultured. I know he needs to see a vet, but the earliest appointment I can get for him is Aug 2nd for a wellness exam (with rabbit savvy vet). I am unable to get a sick visit with this vet as he's not an established patient yet (which is frustrating). I have called other vets to no avail. Their excuse is that they are backed up d/t Covid, and that I should take him to an animal emergency hospital if his condition worsens. Do you guys have any recommendations on what else to do in the meantime. Should I take him to the animal emergency hospital?
 

John Wick

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There are non-chronic, treatable upper respiratory infections so whether your rabbit has pasteurella or something else is unknown at this time. Regardless, starting antibiotic treatment as soon as possible is wise. If this is a URI of some sort, the earlier treatment is started, the better. It gives less time for the infection to multiply and become worse. It is possible that your rabbit's immune system will keep it at bay during the wait and symptoms won't get too much worse, but it's also possible it will start getting worse.

Is there another exotic vet somewhere by you that you're able to get an earlier appointment?

Also as a note, personally I've had vets who forgo doing cultures and do trial and error for URI treatment instead. Cultures take time and can be unreliable (I've been told).
 

Lilsakli

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Man, I would hate to do trial and error with antibiotics because won’t that create resistance? There’s not a lot of rabbit savvy vets near me - I live in western mass, but I can try looking for vets that are further away drive.

I do have some degree of distrust towards vets in my area. One particular vet did a physical exam for my rabbit that lasted less than 5 minutes (I wasn’t sure what exactly was done as I could not go into the building due to covid). She was given a clean slate of health, but she passed away during spay surgery. Vet told me it was probably reaction from anesthesia, but I never did the necropsy, so I will never know.

Regardless, for my new guy, I will try calling out to more vets.
 

John Wick

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Trial and error, in my experience with a rabbit who had a particularly stubborn URI and from reading others' experiences online, tends to be successful. It is typically clear within a week whether the current med is going to work or not. My understanding is resistance is more a danger when it is long-term use, rather than less than a week.
 

Shmibunny

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Assume the worst (some kind of infection) and take her to the vet--but try to find the best vet you can. Resistance is not really a concern at this point, nothing has even been tried yet. It's more something that may happen with prolonged (or uninfinished course) antibiotic use or on/off usage.

In some cases sneezing fits without discharge can be caused by the type of litter the bun has (like with my lop when she was young). What are you using? But it can be dangerous to assume something like this if it's not the case.
 

Lilsakli

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I use feline pine wood pellet as a litter and I change it every 3 days. There’s no particular trigger I can detect from the sneezing, they appear to be random. I tried an air filter near him, I also changed his pen location - didn’t really make a difference. My other rabbits sneeze here and there, but not as excessive as him. I will definitely research into more vets, and I get it, since I tried everything else, I guess a trial with antibiotic would not hurt.
 

Shmibunny

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Please change into something that isn't made of pine wood as that always releases essentials oils that can be irritating to the airways, unfortunately. Straw pellet litter (for horses) is a better alternative. These days I just use towels/mats that get changed daily and it actually works really well.
 

Lilsakli

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Are you able to post a link for safer rabbit litter that can be used. I prefer wood pellets as my two other rabbits drink and pee a lot. I was getting wood pellets at lowes that cost 5 dollars, but they do not have it in stock anymore. So that is why I switched to the feline pine, which I was getting at a target store. For my other boy, I was and am still using All Small things paper pellet as he does not pee nearly as much as the others. I did initially try paper pellets before the pine pellets for the rabbit affected with the sneezes, but he was sneezing then too.


thanks
 

John Wick

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Pine pellet litter is actually fine if it went thru the kiln drying process, which many pine pellets litters do go through if I recall correctly. I use the tractor supply horse stall pine pellets as litter due to its high absorbency.
 

JBun

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Wood pellet litter is just fine. The harmful oils are removed in the pelleting process. It's what many of us on here use for our rabbits.

There are some instances where the sneezing can be from an environmental sensitivity, or in rare cases a sensitivity to a particular hay. Do you use any scented or strong smelling chemical cleaners, air fresheners, or are there other strong smells(eg. cigarette smoke) anywhere near your rabbits area? Do you use scented soap to wash your rabbits blankets(if your rabbit uses any)? Have you seen actual white snot or has it all been clear?

Things you can try while waiting to find a vet. Clean your rabbits area using a vinegar/water mix, to clean away any chemical residues. Wash any blanket bedding with unscented laundry soap and some added vinegar. Get rid of any chemical air fresheners. Try a different type of hay like orchard instead. Try a different type of pelleted litter, or something like aspen bedding. You're basically just trying to rule out any possible environmental sensitivities as the cause.
 

Lilsakli

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No cigarette smoking, air freshener, or candles. The only thing I can think of is the tarp I got from the target store has a chemical scent to it. His shed fur was also sticking to the tarp, so I started putting cardboard over that. I’ll spray it down with vinegar and if that doesn’t work I will change over to a fleece blanket.

I think I may have seen a white snot one time two weeks back that was within his right nostril, but I have not seen it since then.

It’s strange that he had not sneezed much or in the succession as he did before, but that really varies day to day. I do have a sample of orchard grass I ordered from small pet select, I will see if he will eat that.
 

JBun

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White snot is a definite indication of a bacterial infection. So if you think you saw it or you see it again, try and get him seen as soon as you can. Maybe you'll luck out and they'll have a cancellation so you can get in sooner. If you adopted him from a shelter or rescue, I would find out if they cover vet treatment and costs, because this is a likely preexisting condition to when you adopted him. They may also be able to get him seen sooner by their vet.
 

Lilsakli

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Yea I’m going to call around to different vets again on Monday. I adopted him from House Rabbit Network, so I will try to call them on Monday as well. I spoke with his previous foster and she’s had him for a couple weeks and did not hear any sneezes from him. I’ve been very worried and feel discouraged. I also feel my other rabbits may have already been exposed to him as well. They have all been kept separated since I first noticed his sneezing fit.
 

TreasuredFriend

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Baytril and SMZ/TMP were both Rx'd for our sneezing boy. Weirdly enough, once his area was revamped and perhaps allergens eliminated, he hasn't sneezed intermittently like he did a few years prior. @John Wick and @JBun - I ditto your helpful advice.

@Shmibunny One of my rescue friends also uses cloth diapers or bedding for her special needs' buns with ongoing medical concerns. Lots of laundry if you have multiples. Several of our disabled girls were kept on towels or bath mats when I knew they would not digest the fibers.
 

Shmibunny

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Wood pellet litter is just fine. The harmful oils are removed in the pelleting process. It's what many of us on here use for our rabbits.
Oh, all right. I guess it just didn't work for my lop. Her sneezing seemed to eventually stop when we switched all bunnies in the house away from wood pellets. Despite many vet visits and antibiotics just in case, never found another explanation.

I wish the best for OP's bun. xx
 

JBun

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If it doesn't clear up with the baytril and you feel the symptoms are severe enough to warrant medicating on a daily basis, you could ask the vet about trying benedryl(diphenhydramine). That's what's usually prescribed for rabbit allergies in the US.
 
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