You've probably heard of Snuffles or Pasteurella. It is a bacterium that lives in the upper respiratory tract of rabbits. All
rabbits tend to have it but it doesn't cause any symptoms unless the rabbit becomes stressed or unwell.
The symptoms are usually sneezing and a discharge from the nose and sometimes the eyes. If your bunny is sneezing
regularly and wiping it's nose with it's paws, s/he probably has Pasteurella.
Snuffles can be treated with antibiotics, such as Baytril. See your vet if you think that your bunny has Snuffles as the
condition is very uncomfortable for them but can be easily treated.
Snuffles is infectious to other rabbits so if you have more than one bunny, it's best to separate the patient until they have
finished their course of antibiotics.
Peanut had Snuffles when he first came to stay. As we were unsure of his condition and hadn't heard of Pasteurella at the
time, we thought he may have had an allergy. After two trips to the vet, we decided to give him a go on Baytril. He was
medicated twice daily for one month and eventually he stopped sneezing and is much better now. He still now has a sneeze
occasionally but is pretty good.
Some bunnies stay on the brink of Snuffles throughout their lives even though they stop sneezing. We have to keep an eye
on Peanut as I'm sure he could easily get it again. He must have had the condition for quite a while before we met him as he
makes all sorts of funny noises now which makes me think he has internal scarring. When he was desexed, the vet was
aware of his condition and even said after that she had to turn him around as his breathing was unusual.
Munchkin has had Snuffles since she came to stay with us. She was on Bactrim for 5 days but this seemed to upset her -
she was very quiet (apparently it causes nausea). She then went onto Baytril, once a day for 10 days and this made a huge
difference. We moved her enclosure into the bathroom as the steam from the shower can help make her breathing easier.
Unfortunately her 10 days of medication wasn't enough to fix the condition and it came back within 2 days. On & off she was
on Baytril but it hasn't fixed her condition (it looks like it's possibly deeper than just in her nose). We are currently trying a
different method of treatment using drops in her eyes nightly. We need to rent a nebuliser from the chemist & attempt to get
her to inhale more of the drops but as yet we haven't started this treatment.
If you find that you need to medicate your rabbit for this condition or any other, there are a few ways that you can try. One is
the direct method which usually requires wrapping your bunny in a towel and slowing syringing into the mouth (this method
can be very stressful to the bunny & person if the bunny is not used to being picked up & restrained).
Another way which we seem to find works very well is syringing the medication into a piece of apple (or whichever fruit your
rabbit enjoys). The apple is cut into a small wedge and by using the blunt end of a skewer, push holes into the fruit (not
going right through, just to the edge of the other side). When you have measured your medication, then syringe it into the
holes and give to the patient. This will not work for everybunny but it sure takes the stress and tension out of medication if it
Another method we used for Munchkin was to syringe the antibiotics onto her pellets. She only got a little amount and ate it
all including her medication. Unfortunately, she is a fussy eater & decided after a period of time that she wouldn't eat her
pellets or fruit so the drops are currently an easier option.
For more information, please refer to these websites.
Excellent rabbit medical
Do Your Bit