Rabbit Pasteurella, known as snuffles, is a serious upper respiratory disease that requires the quick attention of a veterinarian.
Snuffles is caused by Pasteurella multocida, a bacteria. Although many rabbits may be carriers, it does not cuase any problems in those whose immune systems are healthy and can fight off most infections.
But rabbits with compromised immune systems can be at risk for infection by the bacteria.
Symptoms include runny nose, sneezing, crusting around the nostrils, dried mucous on the rabbit’s front paws from rubbing the nose, conjunctivitis, blocked tear ducts. The bacteria can invade the ear canal causing a head tilt or rolling over. The mucous can change to pus and spread to the lungs and around the heart area and become an abscess.
The bacteria can be passed through your contact with an infected rabbit leaving residue on your clothes or shoes or directly from one rabbit to another.
Keeping your rabbit’s litter box and cage clean is important because harmful odors can affect your rabbit’s immune system, limiting his/her ability to fight infections.
Treatment usually involves prescribing antibiotics. If an abscess is present, it may require surgical removal. Ear and eye infections are treated locally.
If your rabbit develops a low-grade pasteurella infection, it could mean administering antibiotics for life. If you suspect your rabbit is ill, s/he should see a vet immediately.