Swollen Eyes in a Rabbit

Updated November 21, 2016

Rabbits develop swollen eyes for a number of different reasons. Sometimes the swelling is accompanied by redness, excessive tearing or other symptoms. If you know what to look for, you can help your pet rabbit.


Many rabbits' eyes become swollen if they have dental infections or tooth decay. Other more serious causes include myxomatosis, a potentially deadly rabbit disease, and pasteurellosis, a contagious and equally hazardous bacterial infection.


Rabbit dental disease is also accompanied by upper respiratory infections, lethargy and depression in addition to swollen eyes. Rabbit myxomatosis is spread by bloodsucking insects such as fleas, ticks and mosquitoes and causes swelling in the eyes, around the ears, and in the genitalia. Redness or swelling of the eye that is accompanied by matted fur on the inside front legs, nasal discharge and sneezing may point to pasteurellosis.


Rabbit dental disease is treated by extracting the infected tooth. There is no definitive treatment for myxomatosis. Pet Education recommends keeping the animal comfortable by providing fluids. Approximately 90 per cent of all rabbits with the acute form of myxomatosis succumb to the disease. Pasteurellosis is treated with antibiotics, but the disease is antibiotic resistant. Go Pets America recommends having the rabbit euthanized if symptoms reappear.

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