Eye Discharge

Here's what might be amiss if your bunny's peepers look irritated.

When you gaze lovingly into your rabbit's eyes, they should be clear, bright, and free of discharge. If your pet looks teary or you notice wet fur under his eyes, these may be signs of a serious medical condition.

Your pet's drippy eyes or unsightly goo are protective mechanisms that prevent injury and flush irritants from the delicate eye. Allergies, viral infections, recent trauma (from a piece of hay or a towel rubbing on the eye, for example), foreign objects, or blocked tear ducts can cause a thin watery discharge, while bacterial infections cause thicker secretions (which can be white, yellow, or green).

What You Can Do at Home
If you notice any discharge, wipe your pet's eyes gently with a cotton ball moistened with warm water to prevent it from accumulating. This discharge can irritate the skin below the eye, a condition called moist dermatitis. Don't use an eyewash meant for humans it may inflame your bunny's eye.

When to Call the Vet
Occasional clear discharge is normal, but if you're cleaning your bunny's eyes several times a day, or if your pet's also sneezing or coughing, call the veterinarian.

Take your pet to the doctor if he rubs his eye, squints, exhibits thick or colored eye discharge, or if the tissues around the eye are red. If the eye's cornea looks bluish or bloodshot or appears punctured or cut, your pet needs emergency care. A word of caution: Blindness can result from some eye conditions, so don't postpone your pet's examination.

What Your Vet Will Do
The doctor will examine the eyes and surrounding tissues and may use numbing eye drops or sedation to calm your pet. Treatment varies depending on the cause, but may involve flushing blocked tear ducts or using topical medications to clear up any infection. The good news is that most cases of eye discharge respond well to the appropriate treatment.