Snuffles is a respiratory tract problem which is similar to the common cold in man. This disease is highly contagious and can become worse if left untreated. My first rabbit, Aoi, died because of this disease. At first I did some research about rabbit snuffles when I notice Aoi had a runny nose. Then I came across of one rabbit owner that said his rabbit also had a snuffle. He just isolate the infected rabbit, place it in warm place and soon the rabbit will recover itself.
Well I try to follow his advice but I noticed that Aoi's condition is worsening from day to day. At last I decided to bring Aoi to vet since I saw her become hard to breath. From snuffles it leads to pneumonia which made Aoi gasping for air. But I'm too late! That evening when I'm just about to take Aoi to the vet, I saw her lying breathless in the cage. She's dead. I kept blaming myself for her death. If I take her to the vet early she would be alive and never end her life in such a terrible condition. It's such a painful lesson to me.
What is the cause?
It can be caused by different factors but the most common one is infection with the bacteria Pasteurella multocida. There're different strain of this gram negative bacteria and depend on the strain the signs can be either mild to severe. Rabbits can be easily infected by this bacteria when they're stressed or has suppressed immune system.
What are the signs of snuffles ?
The infected rabbit will develop a watery discharge followed by sneezing and then thick whitish to yellowish nasal discharge. In some severe cases the rabbit will develop pneumonia or bacteremia (a bacteria enter the bloodstream).
How to treat?
Bring the rabbit to the vet is the best you can do. Usually the treatment is by giving the infected rabbit an antibiotics for 14-30 days. If the infection goes for days or weeks without treatment, this disease will become chronic and very difficult to eliminate.
How to prevent?
Before buying a rabbit, ensure that the rabbit is free from any infection, especially runny nose. Observe all rabbits on location and make sure snuffles is not present. However, a healthy appearance rabbit can also develop signs of sickness later on if she's stressed.
Reducing stress is crucial to prevent a rabbit become infected. Common causes of stress in rabbits are:
-aggression from other rabbits
Rabbit owner should be aware of the signs of this disease and seek veterinary attention at the first sign of illness.
Beware, I'm watching you!