Betsy wants to know what causes weepy eye.
Lots of things. Some of them are benign and some are not. How can you tell which one your rabbit has?
That's the million dollar question.
A dust storm, mold in hay, smoke in the air, dust in the feed, an allergy, a bacterial invasion, pressure from the sinuses, pressure from (badly) growing teeth, stress, an injury...these can all cause the eyes to tear. Tearing eyes are not always a sign of a worst case, but if they don't clear up on their own then odds are you have something that is an issue. Tearing eyes that don’t go away, and end up dripping uncontrollably get the name Weepy Eye. Weepy eye is one symptom of Snuffles. (Please feel free to add more information to the comments section as I am always eager to learn more on this!)
Since I keep a breeding herd, I have arrived at zero tolerance for weepy eye. I have found in the past when I tried to fix it, that some cases respond right away and I never see them again, and some linger/reoccur no matter what I do. I found I could make it go away temporarily, (tea bags in their drinking water!!!) only to have it surface with another stressful situation. And I learned a hard, hard lesson about breeding a rabbit that ONCE had a weepy eye; most of his offspring from his first litter also had it. In his case, I suspect there was a genetic predisposition to pressure on the sinuses from a bad teeth/jaw formation OR to a weak immune system that will succumb to Pasteurella Multocida, Bordatella, or some other bacteria that rabbits do not ward off well. Neither of these conditions is fair to pass on to future bunnies. (I know breeders who routinely breed rabbits with this condition and are not bothered by it, so know thy breeder if it is important to you.)
Weepy eye will make its appearance here in summer, which is pretty stressful on my herd. I have been acquiring more information on the variations in rabbit keeping among other breeders and have come to the conclusion that I have to breed for my own environment/stress level, and it is unfair of me to bring in angoras that have been kept in climate control even though they are raised local to my area. You can’t tell by looking if an Angora will do well in high heat and humidity, but that’s how I keep my herd, so I need animals that can live well through it. With the occasional summer getting to 90*F or better for weeks on end, it is a challenge to weed out stock that won’t thrive here, and so I look for a pet home for a suspect.
Posted by countrywool
at 8:31 AM EDT