4 Signs Your Rabbit May Have an Eye Infection

Rabbits can make wonderful pets, but they can also suffer from several health problems. Eye infections are some of the most common, and it can be quite hard to prevent them. Issues arise because of the rabbit's anatomy. They have very large eyes on either side of their head to make sure they can see predators approaching in the wild. Unfortunately, those large eyes are prone to infection, and infection can cause serious damage and discomfort.

With that in mind, you need to make sure you can spot the signs of an eye infection in your rabbit, so here are four typical red flags.

1. Swelling

Some infections are caused when the eye gets punctured, but this is relatively rare in domestic rabbits. Instead of seeing any infection in the eye itself, you're more likely to notice swelling directly below the eye. These little bumps can appear very quickly, and you should be able to see or feel a noticeable difference between the affected eye and the unaffected eye.

2. Closed Eye

The pressure created by an infected abscess below the eye is extremely uncomfortable, so it's common for rabbits with bad infections to keep one of their eyes closed. Of course, rabbits often keep their eyes shut when they are relaxing, but you should take it as a warning sign if only one eye is closed while the other stays open. If pus is building up behind the eye, your rabbit will be in a lot of pain.

3. Discharge

Depending on the location of the infection, you may notice that your rabbit's eye starts to leak a sticky discharge. When this occurs, the eyelid will usually turn red; this is easier to see in rabbits with lighter fur, although it should still be discernible if the fur is darker. You may also notice tears spilling down from the infected eye. This is due to the tear glands being plugged by inflammatory material, which prevents them from draining normally.

4. Behavioural Changes

Finally, you may notice that your rabbit suddenly starts behaving strangely. In most cases, they will act more lethargically than usual, seemingly uninteresting in anything that would usually excite them. They may also go off their food—a sure sign in rabbits that something is wrong. Such behavioural changes may be due to issues other than an eye infection, but you should take your rabbit to a veterinary hospital in any case.