Rabbit snuffles is one of the most popular illnesses in animals. In fact, it is found in up to 10% of rabbits which appear normal. Snuffles is a bacterial infection in rabbits caused by more than one sort of bacteria but the most common one being Pasteurella multocida.  Other common bacteria for rabbit snuffles are Bordetella (kennel cough) and Pseudomonas. Snuffles is considered as highly contagious and eventually spreads to affect eyes, ears and other organs. It is therefore advisable for rabbit breeders to pay close attention to animal health. They should acquire necessary skills and knowledge on rabbit snuffles treatment. Note that in order to administer relevant treatment, there is need to be aware of the symptoms.

Symptoms of Rabbit Snuffles

Almost every rabbit breeder has experienced or is at least familiar with snuffles. Some animal farming researches refer to the illness as a devastating respiratory disease. This is due to its overwhelming effects which rapidly lowers productivity resulting in losses.Symptoms of the illness include runny eyes, runny nose, sneezing, skin infections and head tilt among others. Rabbits with dental diseases are prone to developing snuffles owing to their tooth roots that pass very close to the tear duct. Overgrown tooth roots tend to push upwards obstructing the tear duct causing some form of blockage.  Various researches have suggested that rabbits kept in poorly ventilated hutches may also be prone to developing snuffles. The build-up of toxic gases from urine and wood shaving such as cedar are most likely to cause irritation and nose blockage. Farmers are therefore advised to provide animals with clean environments to prevent disease manifestation. Rabbit snuffles treatment should be administered timeously to ensure maximum productivity and profit generation. The following are some of the effective methods for rabbit snuffles treatment.

Antibiotics for Treating Rabbit Snuffles

Rabbit snuffles treatment is usually administered through the use of antibiotics. Rabbit snuffles treatment using antibiotics often lasts about 14 to 30 days depending on the breed, maturity and severity of the condition. Antibiotics commonly used include enrofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and trimethoprim sulfa. Antibiotics are usually in the form of drops or cream that is applied directly to the eyes. Some symptoms including nasal sinuses may require oral antibiotics. Examples of commonly used, safe and effective oral antibiotics for pasteurella include enrofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, marbofloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfa, chloramphenicol, and azithromycin. Penicillin can be given by injection only in severe or chronic cases. Farmers are advised to consult a veterinary professional if they suspect signs of the illness. This is done to determine the specific bacterium causing the disease which is of the essence in prescribing relevant types of antibiotics. Relapse is common when treatment is stopped, especially if there has been permanent damage to the nasal passages. It is not unusual for some rabbits to require lifelong treatment, either continuously or off and on as symptoms return.

Other rabbit snuffles treatments are administered by flushing the tear duct with an antibiotic solution. Flushing removes any pus and bacteria from the blocked duct and helps the antibiotics to penetrate the duct and be more effective. Note that this antibiotic treatment should only be practised by an experienced veterinarian. In severe cases, supportive treatment consisting of fluids and supplemental nutrition may need to be given as well. Another essential point to note is that although signs of snuffles disappear after treatment, bacteria often remain present though in small quantities.  For this reason, the infection may return hence the need to be aware of treatment methods.

Nebulisation

This rabbit snuffles treatment method is usually used as human treatment for respiratory diseases such as asthma. Fortunately it can also be used as treatment for small mammals suffering from snuffles. The nebulisation rabbit snuffles treatment is used to hydrate the lining of the respiratory tract and dilute exudate so that it can be expelled easily through sneezing or coughing. This method is administered through the use of a nebuliser. Its purpose is to convert liquids and medicine into a fine mist that is breathed in.  The most commonly used fluid is saline. Additional medication can be added to the saline solution including antibiotics. The upside of using the nebulisation method is that it can be safely administered by rabbit breeders at home. Prior to administering therapy, it is sensible to ensure the correct working order of the equipment. Some nebulisers are noisier in comparison to others and rabbits tend to be spooked by the noise, hence a quieter option is preferable. The length and frequency of nebulisation should be determined by a veterinarian. However, 15 to 20 minutes twice daily is normal at the beginning of treatment and this may be reduced as symptoms regress.

Steam Therapy for Treating Rabbit Snuffles

Steam therapy is one of the most widely used home remedies to soothe and open the nasal passages and get relief from the symptoms of a cold or sinus infection. A number of agricultural research studies recommend this form of treatment for most animal species, rabbits included. Steam therapy, also known as steam inhalation involves the inhalation of water vapour.  The water vapour produced works in a similar manner to a humidifier. The warm, moist air is thought to work by loosening the mucus in the nasal passages, throat, and lungs. This may relieve symptoms of inflamed, swollen blood vessels in nasal passages. Getting a rabbit to sit close to a humidifier can be a daunting task, especially when it is experiencing irritation from the illness. As such, it is sometimes necessary to lock the animal in room with hot steam. This is most likely to provide relief.

Alternative Rabbit Snuffles Treatment Methods

Rabbit snuffles treatment is widely managed through the use of various types of antibiotics. However, there are other methods that can be used as an alternative. These depend on the severity or progression of the illness. Farmers must determine the cause of the diseases prior to the administration of treatment. This helps to provide appropriate treatment. There are a number of alternative methods for rabbit snuffles treatment. These are often preferred over antibiotics as they are considered to cause less harm to both animal and human health. A paediatric ear syringe can be used to gentle suction the noise removing any blockage mucus or other material. Another method used to treat rabbit snuffles involves use of a mild, paediatric antihistamine such as Benadryl. This helps to shrink swollen nasal membranes. Together with a tear duct flush, which also helps flush the nasal passages, these treatments can be very effective at clearing the animal’s respiratory problems. If your rabbit is found to have problems with its teeth, it may need to have them clipped or filed. This is usually performed under general anaesthesia. A veterinarian may also recommend some changes to the rabbit’s diet to help prevent further teeth problems that can cause snuffles.