Runny eyes (epiphora) is fairly common in rabbits and has a variety of causes...
Runny eyes (epiphora) is fairly common in rabbits and has a variety of causes.
Dental disease (malocclusion), the misalignment of teeth, can sometimes put pressure on or even block the rabbit's tear duct, leading to runny eyes. Similarly, an abcess in the rabbit's jaw can cause problems to the eyes.
Other causes include bacterial infections such as Pasteurella, scratches on the cornea, irritation caused by dusty or mouldy hay or bedding, and ingrowing "eyelashes".
In severe cases, the hair around the rabbit's eye(s) can fall out, leading to even more problems with broken, inflammed skin.
Rabbits living in pairs will often keep each other's eyes dry so that a runny eyes problem may only become apparent when the rabbits are separated.
- wet hair around one or both eyes
- pus in the corner of one or both eyes
- strings of mucus coming out of one or both eyes
- rabbit likely to be washing its face more often
Prevention / Treatment
Rabbits with runny eyes should always be seen by a veterinarian in the first instance to establish the root cause.
Runny eyes may be treated with eye drops given twice daily. Blocked tear ducts may be flushed out under anaesthetic. It is important to keep the hair around the eye(s) as clean and dry as possible to prevent infection. Use a tissue or cotton wool ball to absorb the moisture around the eyes.
Keep the rabbit's living conditions as clean and dust free as possible.