How to treat a bunny rabbit with an abscess on their chin
Abscesses on Bunny Rabbits
Abscess on bunny rabbits face or chin
Abscesses are painful for any pet and when they appear on the face of your bunny rabbit, it's not a good idea to ignore them.
Abscesses can occur for many reasons and that is why it is important to get them checked out. There could be a bigger underlying problem behind it,so if they are left untreated, it could become more serious.
There can be two reason they occur on the face:
1. An infected tooth
2. An infected wound
In the case of the tooth being infected, it will need to be pulled. In the case of it being an infected wound, it will need to be lanced and treated with a case of antibiotics.
If your bunny rabbit cut their chin while rubbing something outside, this cut could then later become infected without your knowledge.
Indoor rabbits are just as prone to getting abscesses as outdoor rabbits. They too can rub their chin against something inside and it might be a bit sharp which causes a tiny nick in their chin which then gets infected.
Cause of the abscess
Once it's has been established what is the cause of the abscess treatment will begin.
If the abscess is internal, then the root of the problem must be established. It could be an infected tooth which can be treated once removed.
If the abscess is external then it is a cut that has become infected. This will need to be lanced to remove the pus.
Visit the Veterinarian
Once you've noticed the lump on you pets face, the next step is to bring them to the veterinarian to get a proper diagnoses. Never ever attempt to drain an abscess yourself. Not all abscesses are an infected cut.
Also it's vital that the veterinarian correctly drains the pus to ensure it is all removed as some can actually be left behind which can then cause a re-occurrence of abscesses.
If you drain it yourself, you might end up causing pain to your pet. Get advice first before you do anything.
How do you know your bunny rabbit has an abscess
Abscess are lumps which when pressed appear hard.
They can also be quite flexible in the area they appear in and you will be able to feel it under the skin of the rabbit.
It might not seem at first like an abscess, if you have a hairy bunny you might mistake it for knotted hair.
A sure sign something is up is when your bunny rabbit will not like being touch near the area where the abscess is. This is because they will be sore in this area and pressing on it hurts them.
What happens in the clinic
The veterinarian will first check your bunny rabbits body to ensure that there are no other lumps on their skin. Once they establish there isn't, they will then focus on the face.
Either yourself or the veterinarian nurse will hold your pet, and they will lift up the head to get a good look at the area affected by the abscess.
They will feel the lump on the chin and try to establish that yes, it is an abscess. They are usually able to identify this visually as they know what to look for. You bunny rabbit at this stage will not be enjoying this and will try to pull back the head when the veterinarian is pressing on it. So be patient with them.
Once they have determined that it is a abscess and not something more serious, they will need to lance it. Some abscesses have very little pus in them and when lanced nothing comes out. This means you caught the abscess early.
They will not be able to identify that the abscess has insufficient puss till the do attempt to lance it.
What is an abscess?
An abscess is tissue which has become infected and inflamed.
Once bacteria gets in under the open cut on the skin, it build ups in the location and forms a pocket of pus which over time can get larger and larger.
Keep monitoring your pet
Rabbit Check Up
Do you ever carry out a check up on your rabbit at home?
Handling the abscess if it is external
To drain / lance the abscess the veterinarian will get a needle and insert the tip of it into the abscess. They will then attempt to squeeze the abscess to drain the pus that has build up. They will continue to squeeze the abscess till it seem to be completely clear. If the abscess is quite large, surgery will be required as it could be to stressful for you bunny rabbit.
In some case an abscess can have no pus in them or very little. In this instance the veterinarian will put your bunny rabbit on a dose of antibiotics like Baytol. They will leave the wound alone and not touch it. Your bunny will be required to get a dose each day for a set period of days. The dosage could vary from pet to pet as the pets weight determined how much they get.
Handling the abscess if it is internal
However, if the abscess is quite large and is caused by an infected tooth, your bunny will need to have surgery to remove it.
All the skin and bone (if necessary) which is infected will also need to be removed. The area will then be cleaned with an antibiotic solution. Rabbit abscesses seem to be able to stretch to all areas and have talons which the veterinarian must ensure they have removed to ensure no re-occurrence.
In some cases depending on where the abscess is some veterinarians may try a method where they pack the abscess with a caustic material like antibiotic beads which help to clear the infection from the inside out. Of course the severity of the abscess would also play a part in the choice of this method. Usually lancing is the choice of veterinarians.
The wound is left open to allow healing to occur.
Treatment after abscess is lanced
When you bring your pet home it will be up to you to carry out the aftercare. You might be required to clean the wound daily with an antibiotic solution to ensure the wound remains clean.
This allows a scab to form and skin to rejuvenate. A dose of antibiotics will also be given to you to give to your pet for a week or two to help ensure the infection is all cleared.
Abscesses can reoccur and that is why it is important to try to treat them as early as possible. Also if they are correctly treated the first time, you can reduce the chance of them appearing.
Medicine use to treat abscesses in rabbits
One medicine which is used to treat infections in pets is Baytol. It's specifically for dogs and cats, but many veterinarians give it to rabbits too. My bunny rabbit was give Baytol to help clear up his abscess, thankfully it did the job, with no side effects.
To find out more about Baytol read here.
Bicillin is another medicine which is used to treat abscesses where surgery is not a suitable option.
Feed Your Rabbit
Feed Your Bunny
After the veterinarian has dealt with the abscess, your bunny rabbit will not be themselves for a few days.
Their chin area will be sore and they will not want to be touched so be gentle if you are handling them. This is why it's important that you watch them to ensure that they eat. If they don't want to eat their nuggets then make sure you have plenty of hay and water in their cage.
It is important that they eat some form of food, don't let them starve as this can be dangerous for their health.
Veterinarian talking about abscess
Check up after abscess treatment
Once your bunny has been treated for the abscess they will be sent home.
They will be called back for an additional check-up a few days later by the veterinarian to see how they are progressing. They will check the wound and see if it is healing well.
They will ask you to keep an eye on it and if you see any change then you will need to bring back your bunny rabbit to them.
RSPCA Rabbit Health Check Advice
Monitor Your Pet
It's up you, the bunny rabbit owner to carry out periodical checks on your pet. Rabbits cannot tell you if something is wrong.
You need to check ears, eyes, nose, body and feet to ensure everything is in good condition.
Ensuring that your bunny rabbit is eating and drinking is also important. Rabbits can be fussy eaters and overtime might stop eating their food for the simple reason they don't like that type anymore.
In this case all you can do then is buy a different brand or type of food for them.
Bunny Rabbit Care GuideClick thumbnail to view full-size
© 2013 Sp Greaney