Allergies in Rabbits (Symptoms, Causes & Solutions)

Allergies in Rabbits (Symptoms, Causes & Solutions)

As you know spring is already here which means hay fever and allergies for most of us but did you know that rabbits can also have allergies? This is a topic that hasn’t been really researched but I feel like it’s very important to cover. So in this article, I want to go through all the signs and symptoms that may indicate your rabbit is allergic to something, discuss a list of potential allergens and give you some tips on what you can do to minimize those allergic reactions.

Signs & symptoms of allergies in rabbits

Signs & symptoms of allergies in rabbits

So let’s go through the typical signs and symptoms that your rabbit might display if they are allergic.

Sneezing is probably the most evident and logical sign of allergies and it can be confused with snuffles. But the difference here is if it’s just allergies when the sneezing should not be as constant.

Your rabbit’s nose might be slightly wet and there could be a slight clear discharge if they have been sneezing recently. A vocally discharged from a nose again can also be a sign of snuffles with allergies it won’t develop into white discharge.

Just as humans when we have hay fever our eyes can become sore and red, rabbits can get that too. You will see the eyes might become red and irritated from the prolonged contact with the allergens.

If something is irritating its nose and face, your rabbit will try to get rid of it by excessively touching its nose and face with its front paws. This could be seen as excessive grooming.

Your bunny might also repeatedly rub its face on the ground to get rid of an allergen that is irritating its face.

If you notice any of these symptoms take them to the vet for a checkup. The vet can run blood tests to exclude any potential infections such as snuffles and confirm if they do have allergies.

What can cause allergies in rabbits?

What can cause allergies in rabbits?

Rabbits have very sensitive lungs and respiratory systems hence something that might not irritate us as much can be really overpowering to your rabbit.

It’s no surprise that dust can be a serious culprit when it comes to allergies. The tiny dust particles can easily irritate your bunny’s nose or eyes as they can get in everywhere around the house.

This might sound counter-intuitive as hay is the main part of the diet but rabbits can be allergic to certain hay types.

Timothy hay has an especially bad reputation for causing allergies. Hay also contains hay dust which is small dry crumpled hay bits and the biggest allergen when it comes to hay.

overpowering scents which can easily irritate your bunny's lungs

Things such as perfume, incense, or air freshness can have overpowering scents which can easily irritate your bunny’s lungs as well as its nose and eyes.

Any scented laundry detergent and softness can also make your bunny’s lungs very sensitive and irritated no matter how delicate and nice they smell.

If a cleaning product is especially strong such as bleach and you use it to clean your floors the fumes will rise from the floor and into the surrounding air which your rabbit might breathe in therefore irritating the lungs.

Breathing in the smoke from cigarettes is not pleasant for us, let alone for your rabbit which can trigger allergic symptoms.

If you have a fireplace in your house and you tend to use it a lot the burning carbon dioxide fumes can make anyone’s lungs aggravated including your bunnies.

Unfortunately, there isn’t really a medication for rabbits that will cure their allergic reactions.

a small dose of pediatric antihistamines

In severe cases, a vet might allow you to give them a small dose of pediatric antihistamines to clear the nose a little bit.

But minimizing contact or removing an allergen is the only way to potentially eradicate allergies in rabbits.

In order to remove a source of allergies you need to know who the culprit is and sometimes that can be difficult to establish as it can be a combination of different allergens. That’s where the power of observation comes in.

Notice when and where your bunny is getting the symptoms. If they start sneezing when they eat the hay then hay is probably the allergen. If they have persistent red eyes then it could be due to dust around the house. You just need to try on an error to find the cause.

And when you figured it out follow these tips for each allergen in order to minimize those allergic reactions.

How do you prevent rabbit allergies? (Solutions)

How do you prevent rabbit allergies? (Solutions)
  • The only way to keep that dust at bay is to just hoover and dust the house more frequently. You might not like to clean but it will greatly benefit your rabbit.
  • Perhaps it’s time to switch to a different type of hay. You can try other hays out there which might be better suited to your bunny and won’t cause allergies.
  • Some companies offer hay taster packs where they can send you small samples of different types of hay for you to try out. With the hay dust there’s always going to be some but choosing good quality hay from good companies or from local farms will ensure that the hay dust is minimal.
  • Try not to light any strong-scented candles or incense in a room where your bunny is. If you really want to light a candle or incense opt for a more subtle and natural scent instead. Similarly, avoid spraying air fresheners or perfume in the room where your bunny normally hangs out.
  • Change the regular laundry detergent you use to clean your bunny’s towels and blankets for a more natural hypoallergenic fragrance-free one. You also don’t need any softness to clean your bunny’s blanket, a detergent is more than enough.
  • Equally, you can switch your harsh floor cleaning chemicals for the ones that contain more natural ingredients such as simple soap, using white vinegar lime or lemon juice dissolved in water is also a great cleaning alternative.
  • Avoid smoking in the house and go outside away from your bunny to have a smoke. The further you go the better the chance that the smoke won’t get to your rabbit.
  • When you light your fireplace make sure there is good air circulation coming into the house. Either by opening a few windows or turning a fan on. This will allow the carbon dioxide fumes to diffuse more quicker hence minimizing the contact that your bunny might have with the fumes. I would also recommend keeping your bunny out of the room when the fireplace is lit.
  • Prolonged exposure to allergens could leave your rabbit with frequent irritation of the lungs and nose making them prone to respiratory infections. That’s why it’s vitally important to try and remove the source of allergies as much as possible.

Also, read Why do rabbits need hay [Detailed Guide].

So there you have it guys. I hope this article might help some of you especially if you suspect that your rabbits might have allergies. My rabbit seems to be allergic to laundry detergents and dust so I wanted to share my knowledge and tips with you. Comment down below if your bunny is allergic to something as well.

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