On one of the boards that I am on, a person was mentioning they were isolating their buck in order to determine the cause of his sneezing and many people said that "oh, we hope it's just allergies".
My thought was... I don't care if it's allergies. I would not want to keep around a repeated sneezer. It's one thing if it's the odd thing...water up the nose, dust in the air, food bowl dive. That's a one off type of thing that you just don't worry on and say "silly rabbit" to (at least at this point in my regime).
But a rabbit that sneezes when you feed him hay, or sneezes when put into a different cage, or sneezes when you change the bedding... A rabbit that you are fair certain has allergies... that rabbit I would not want to keep around as a breeding animal.
Sneezing animals are animals to be watchful of.
- snuffles (pasteurella)
Sneezing is one of the first signs of herd health that tell you that something is wrong. That your animals are in distress of some sort whether it be short-lived (silly rabbit stuff listed above) or that there is something more serious going on.
So to tolerate, or to have to work round an animal that sneezes does one of two things.
1. causes excess worry. Oh.. that rabbit has sneezed, let me stand around watching for snot, let me pull out out that rabbit and isolate him for a month, let me check him over for other signs of distress.
2. and when all that proves no signs of illness, over time that produces a lack of concern over sneezing. WHICH can prove to be deadly should something significant develop.
My goal is to produce animals that look, act, sound, that for all intents and purposes are as healthy as I can breed them to be.
To that end I cull out sneezers (that are from silly rabbit issues). They will go for critter food as I don't want other people potentially breeding that weakness into their own lines.
To that end if I have rabbits that do odd things (for instance I have two rabbits that for the last two nail trimmings have wheezed when I pick them up)...both of those rabbits will be going to pet homes. They don't sneeze or otherwise act poorly. They in fact act in perfect health. But they will be leaving this rabbitry and going to pet homes.
Why do I treat them differently?
Because sneezing is an indicator problem. Wheezing (at this point in my knowledge) is not.
These two rabbits don't sneeze. They simply wheeze and ONLY when picked up and carried about. The wheezing gets louder when flipped to trim nails, but as soon as bun is returned to cage stops wheezing. IMMEDIATELY. it's actually quite interesting to observe.
I leads me to think that it's a stress reaction.
I want to breed fairly bomb proof rabbits and breeding rabbits that react to stress by wheezing is not something I want to do.
So repeated sneezers get culled, wheezers get rehomed to pet homes, with full disclosure. :)
I have purebred, pedigreed show and pet type of rabbits. I also have meat rabbits. This standard holds true for all my rabbits regardless of their purpose in life.
I think that if someone is breeding rabbits they should reach for the highest goals they can maintain, regardless of what their purpose is in breeding. To always breed for healthy rabbits. They are far easier to maintain and less worrisome on the brain and heart.