Pasteurellosis in Rabbits

By Link the Bun
Published on: October 19th, 2020

Pasteurellosis is a disease which affects lots of living creatures, including rabbits. Pasteurellosis is a bacterial disease that can cause infections in the eyes, ears and nose.

Key Points

  • This is a bacterial disease that can cause nasal and sinus infections, ear and eye infections, pneumonia and abscesses within bones, joints and internal organs.
  • Pasteurella is often found via direct contact within the air, contaminated environments, litter and food bowls.
  • Pasteurellosis can also come from an infected mother during birth
  • Pasteurellosis often doesn’t show symptoms as a rabbits immune system can help fend it off.


Rabbits immune systems have been known to fight against pasteurellosis, however, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious.

  • Sneezing and thick discharge from nose
  • Discharge can appear as clear at first but may eventually become red due to blood
  • Difficulty breathing (Due to nasal issues)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pain and lethargy
  • Reluctance to move (Lameness)
  • Inflammation of eye tissue causing tears (Conjunctivitis)

What Treatments are there?

  • Whilst lots of rabbits have an immune system that helps fight this, others may develop a severe respiratory issue and will require hospitalization.
  • Clear nostrils of discharge to allow for easy breathing
  • Remove dusty environment, replace any hay or litters
  • If your rabbit is struggling to breathe, take them to a vet for oxygen supplementation
  • Your Vet may offer antibiotics for 2 – 6 weeks as this will help clear up the infection. However, relapse is very common after treatment and is more common if there has been permanent damage to their nasal passage.
  • If the pasteurellosis case is severe, your vet may offer some oral anti-biotics including penicillins, marbofloxacin, ciprofloxacin etc

Can pasteurellosis be prevented?

There’s only a few things you can do to prevent pasteurellosis, the main prevention method is to simply avoid contact with infected rabbits and environments which were exposed to the disease.

Alternatively, you will simply need to avoid stressful conditions (Dirty environment etc). Consistantly cleaning toilets & feeding areas would definitely help with this.

What should I do if I think my rabbit has pasteurellosis?

Your first point of action is to contact your local vet for an emergency appointment. If your rabbit is showing symptoms, it’s likely that their immune system requires some assistance fighting this off.

If left untreated, it can create toxins which can cause permanent damage to your rabbit.

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