Rabbits’ noses are usually dry and, unlike dogs’, are not moist.
If you notice nasal flow in rabbits, this is an alarming sign.
What are the reasons for a wet rabbit nose and what you can do about it, we tell you in this article.
General reasons for nasal discharge in rabbits.
If the rabbit’s nose is moist and even shows discharge, this may indicate allergies, infections or injuries. From a cold to a breaking through inflammation of the roots of the teeth, various causes can be responsible for this.
This means that in any case a visit to the vet is necessary.
Let’s now take a closer look at the individual causes!
Nasal discharge in rabbits
Nasal discharge is not always immediately noticeable in rabbits.
However, wet fur under the nose indicates that excessive amounts of secretion are being produced. This is often accompanied by sneezing, fatigue and loss of appetite. Foreign bodies, allergies or diseases can be the cause.
The search for the trigger is therefore difficult and should be carried out by a veterinarian.
However, you yourself can help by observing your pet closely and describing the appearance as well as the color and texture of the discharge. Because this can often at least narrow down the possible trigger.
Rabbits can suffer from allergies just like other mammals.
If nasal discharge occurs, dust, pollen or components of the bedding are usually responsible.
clear and thin secretion
red eyes and nose
In connection with an allergy, itching may also occur.
Your pet may therefore rub and scratch itself conspicuously. Since allergic reactions can increase in intensity if the triggering allergens continue to occur, the cause must be found and eliminated.
Often, just changing the bedding can be enough to solve the problem.
Finding the cause may require patience on your part. Bedding, hay, straw, pollen and green fodder are typical sources of allergens. You should therefore first avoid all possible stimuli and only reintroduce them one by one.
This will make it easier to find the exact trigger.
In addition to allergens, substances that irritate the nasal mucosa or the respiratory tract can also cause a wet rabbit nose.
Dust, strong-smelling cleaning agents, smoke and even deodorant or perfume are potential triggers.
Added to this is dry air.
When humidity is too low, the mucous membranes become stressed. Since one of their tasks is to moisten the air we breathe, they may overproduce secretions due to heating air or air conditioning.
In this case, the discharge is also clear, watery and thus thin. A slight admixture of blood is possible if the mucous membrane becomes cracked and superficial blood vessels burst.
Prevention is possible by paying attention to the humidity in the cage location, providing adequate ventilation, and keeping potentially irritating substances away from your rabbit.
This includes very dusty bedding, hay or straw. Make sure they are of high quality.
In addition to warming and moistening, another function of the nasal mucosa is to clean the air we breathe.
If foreign bodies, such as small pieces of hay or straw, are inhaled, the production of nasal secretions increases.
The body thus tries to flush out the foreign body.
If no injury has occurred, the discharge remains clear and is watery. Again, there may be some blood mixed in if the foreign body has created a scratch or even pierced the mucosa.
In the best case, the secretion is sufficient to flush out.
However, inflammation may also occur. In this case, the secretion becomes more viscous and mucous, may be bloody or purulent.
Swelling, redness and persistent sneezing are also possible. It is noticeable that the clear discharge occurs on both sides, but in the case of suppuration it is only present on one side.
Rhinitis or a cold should be taken very seriously in rabbits. In contrast to humans, the course of such an infection is more difficult, can lead to pneumonia more quickly and can be fatal.
It is therefore crucial to consult a veterinarian immediately in this case.
Risk factors for such a disease include:
contact with sick people or animals
weakened immune system
The high number of possible reasons also means that you can well prevent a cold in your rabbit.
Choose the location of the cage carefully. It should not be exposed to drafts and, if the floor is very cold, it should be additionally insulated from below.
Make sure that your rabbit does not get wet even when it is outdoors, as this will quickly lead to hypothermia. For this reason, you must also make sure that your rabbit is protected from the cold and wet when kept outside in a hutch.
If you are currently suffering from a cold, avoid direct contact with your animal and air it more frequently. This will reduce the number of germs in the air and the risk of infection.
The same applies to sick animals!
If you keep several rabbits, you should separate them spatially for the duration of a cold. This prevents a spreading.
Strengthen the immune system by a balanced and species-appropriate diet.
The supply is crucial for the body’s own defense and should therefore be well adapted to the needs of your animal. Sufficient exercise and little stress also help to keep the rabbit healthy.
Another possible cause for a wet nose and nasal discharge is problems in the mouth or teeth. This can be, for example, an inflammation of the roots of the teeth, the gums or an injury.
Also too long nail teeth come into question!
An infection with the formation of pus destroys cells. Abscesses can develop. If these are found in the upper jaw, they can break through to the nasal area.
The result is purulent, yellow to greenish discharge, which often contains blood admixtures. The discharge is often mucous and viscous.
It is also noticeable that your pet’s appetite decreases significantly and drinking can also be difficult. Due to the pain, solid food is no longer consumed.
It is also characteristic that liquid or mucous to purulent secretion usually only comes out of one nostril.
Possibilities for prevention are to provide sufficient roughage to wear down the teeth and to check them frequently.
Inflammations, injuries and malocclusions, as well as teeth that are too long, are thus noticed early and can be treated. Resulting complaints can be kept to a minimum and can be treated more quickly and easily.
It is best if you get your rabbit used to having its mouth looked at right from the start. This reduces the stress for your animal and the effort for you. Check the mouth for redness, swelling, plaque, uneven wear, cracks in the teeth or points.
Blood or discoloration are also clear warning signs that require an immediate vet visit.
Trimming of the nail teeth, medication to treat infections, and a temporary switch to soft foods may be necessary.
How can you support the treatment?
The therapy depends on the respective cause. However, you can support it in any case. The following criteria are important for this:
cleanliness in the cage
avoid irritating substances
give food rich in vitamins and minerals
provide sufficient water
Clean the outside of the nose, remove discharge and incrustations.
In this way you reduce the germ load, protect and strengthen the immune system and provide your animal with comprehensive care.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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