Diseases of Rabbit

Many breeders believe that all rabbits carry the Pasteurella multocidia organism in their respiratory tract. This is not true! Though some may indeed carry the infection, there are many which do not. 

{This is why I breed toward disease resistance. If any rabbit shows signs of infection they are culled] Pasturella manifests itself in many forms. The most common is what is referred to as snuffles. 

This is a purulent discharge from the nose. Should you see matting on the inside front paws you can most assuredly blame Pasteurella. 

Symptoms The first signs of the disease are sneezing and discharge from the nose and or eyes. Not every sneeze is indicative of the presents of Pasteurella. A rabbit may sneeze when it gets water up it's nose while drinking, or it may have an allergy to something in the area. Hay dust, colognes etc. These sneezes will have a clear watery discharge or none at all. If there is persistant sneezing with matting of the inside of the front paws and a colored discharge from the nose or eyes it is safe to assume the rabbit has a Pasteurella infection.

This is an extremely contagious disease for which there is NO CURE! There are treatments which will mask the symptoms but the rabbit remains contious. Any rabbit which you treat places your whole herd at risk of infection. The Pasteurella germ can be carried on your clothing and person. It is of extreme importance that you change your clothes and wash theroughly before going near any other rabbits. Isolate any sick rabbit immediately and care for the herd first and the isolated animal last. Disinfect it's cage and any other equipment the rabbit came in contact with.


Ventilation is important in snuffles control since both humidity an ammonia are involved in the spread and growth of this condition. Ammonia is present in rabbit urine, having it build up in the atmosphere has a bad effect on both humans and rabbits. If you can smell it while walking through your rabbitry, think how it is effecting your rabbits. By removing the urine and feces from the rabbitry you are decreasing the amount of ammonia in the surrounding area.


Rabbits can be treated with a number of antibiotics but to this point none have been successful in bringing about a cure. The best treatment for Pasteurella is prevention. Through A.R.B.A. [American Rabbit Breeders Association] they are trying to develop a cure for snuffles, but it is still a long way off. For now, strict sanitation, good ventilation and culling will go a long way in helping to prevent the spread of this dreaded disease.


There are two types of Coccidiosis Intestinal and Live Form. The disease is caused by a protozoan parasite which attacks the bile duct or the intestinal tract. There are ten different species of the genus Eimeria which may infect the intestine. Generally these are not of much concern, unless a case of enteritis makes an apperance. This can lead to enterotoxemia and or Mucoid enteropathy, although enterotoxemia has been reported in rabbits which are free of Coccidiosis. Liver Coccidiosis is a problem as it causes white spots on the liver which renders the rabbit uneatable.