"Since I got Lyra home, she has had at least one or two sneezing fits a day. She has no discharge and is eating drinking well. Could it be the hay? I’ve never heard a rabbit sneeze quite like that, but it’s not all the time, only once or twice a day like I said.
Any ideas or suggestions? Her cage is fairly sparse for litter training so she just has hay, wood pellets for litter in her litter box, a wood hide and a lava block to chew. Plus pellets and water."
My short response to her was "Rabbits sneeze sometimes. If you see no snot, or wet front paws it's probably just a sneeze."
I was reassured to hear that she saw no snot, and no wet front paws. A sneeze is sometimes just a sneeze.
But what about those times when a sneeze is NOT just a sneeze and is indicative of a bigger problem?
Causes of Sneezing
1. Dust and other irritants
Dust and other irritants
The bedding used, or the chemicals you use to clean, could be irritants as well.
I knew a girl who had a lovely bunny who one day started biting her and it was so surprising. After lots of questions we tracked it down to she changed her perfume and it was negatively affecting her bunny. She got rid of the perfume and the bunny reverted to his normal sweet self. Not sneezing...but an example of how something we don't know about can cause a problem with your bunny.
But, given the anecdotal evidence I do think that rabbits can have seasonal allergies when there is most dust and pollen in the air, or a dry summer with farmers working their fields. Some rabbits can really struggle with the dust and other irritants that are in the air.
I firmly believe that rabbits who really struggle with allergies or a sensitivity to dust particles should NOT be used for breeding. There are so many rabbits out there that don't struggle, why would you perpetuate the health issue?
BESIDES a rabbit who is struggling with dust and/or allergies, would be more susceptible to the third reason.... illness.
Respiratory illnesses can be very dangerous to bunnies. It can make them so ill they can't eat, drink or breathe properly. They tend to be highly contagious, therefore putting any of your other rabbits at risk.
Diseases that cause snot in rabbits generally one of:
1. Bordatella. Treat it! Rabbits usually recover.
2. Pasteurella. This one is hard. Here is Dutch Rabbit's approach.
3. Pneumonia. Often buns die from pneumonia very quickly. It can literally have them on death's door overnight.
2. Tooth issues. Drainage from the eye goes into nasal cavity.
3. Nasal Tumour.
4. Foreign body. Hay, or some particle stuck.
5. Trauma, such as a head attack by a predator.
My approach to excess sneezing or snot-laden rabbits can be found in this blog post. Always keep and use your best rabbits. If you just have one, do your best to keep them healthy, but let them go if it's time for them to go.