Conjunctivitis is an infection of the eye, normally caused by opportunist bacteria entering a small wound in the eye or in the eyes of animals who’s immune systems are already compromised. Eye infections and injuries should always be checked out and treated by your veterinary surgeon.
If you suspect a foreign body is in the eye, irrigate the eye with saline irrigation solution (available in sachets from chemists or drug stores) or colloidal silver to allow the object to float to the surface. Wet your finger and sprinkle it with a little pepper or cinnamon then hold it under the rabbit’s nose to make it sneeze the object out sometimes works. Don’t get the powder on its nose though as it is an irritant to the delicate mucus membranes. Some grass seeds have small barbs or hooks which make removal difficult. If in any doubt get your vet to check it out.
Runny eyes can be related to dental problems, draughts, allergies to bedding, ammonia from urine, urine spraying by another rabbit or guinea pig, an infection, injury or foreign body. They may also be the result of scratching by long, broken and dirty nails especially on the back feet which are commonly used to scratch the face. All these will have to be checked out.
Male rabbits sometimes get one runny eye due to an excess of male hormones when they’re not used for breeding.
Dental issues can affect the eyes
Dental problems can be checked out by looking at the incisors or front teeth which, if not normal, might indicate problems with the back teeth or molars.
Allergies can often be resolved by changing the litter and bedding used. Galen’s Herbal Tincture Blend No.III contains a blend of herbs which may help. Luke warm chamomile tea or homoeopathic eyebright mother tincture in water as a soothing eye wash. Colloidal Silver is a valuable first aid treatment for sore or infected eyes. Spray into the eye several times a day.
If low grade pasteurella (snuffles) is suspected as the cause of runny eye in rabbits try dosing with the homoeopathic nosode for pasteurella multocida in calves.