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Weepy eyes in rabbits

Photo of two rabbits on white background

Overview

  • If your rabbit has weepy or watery eyes, it's likely they have an underlying problem such as dental disease, an infection, or irritation.
  • Eye discharge can be clear, white, yellow, green or sometimes red.
  • Book an appointment with your vet if your rabbit has weepy eyes, even if they seem ok in themselves – the sooner problem is treated the better.

General information and causes of weepy eyes

If your rabbit has weepy eyes, or wet fur surrounding their eyes, this indicates a problem, even if the discharge is clear. Dental disease is the most common cause of weepy eyes in rabbits but there are a few other possible causes.

Some of the most common causes of weepy eyes in rabbits include:

  • Dental disease - your rabbit’s teeth sit very close to their eyes and tear ducts, so any problems with them are likely to affect the eyes as well.
  • Dacryocystitis (tear duct problems) - the tear ducts are tiny tubes that help drain tears from the eyes (into the nose). If one becomes blocked, inflamed or infected, tears struggle to drain and weepy eyes develop.
  • Eye infections
  • Respiratory infections - airway infections can cause weepy eyes. Rabbit ‘snuffles’ caused by the Pasteurella germ is a common infection.
  • Eye injuries
  • Eyelash problems - such as extra lashes that grow from the inside of a rabbit’s eyelid and irritate the eye.
Photo of a healthy rabbit eye

This rabbit has a shiny, healthy eye with no weeping.

When to contact your vet

Always contact your vet for an appointment if you notice your rabbit has weepy eyes. Rabbits naturally hide pain, so even if your rabbit seems ok in him/herself, symptoms such as weepy eyes shouldn’t be ignored.

Published: August 2020

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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst