Watery eye

Hi, I've got a 5 month old mini rex boy that has had a watery eye the past couple months. A week ago he began to lose fur around the eye and 2 days later there was white mucus in corner of eye.

Took him to vet and said his tear duct was blocked. It's not from an overgrown tooth. They said they have to give him anesthesia and put a needle through the duct to clean it, but putting him under could be a risk of never waking up again.

Should I get this procedure done? What are the chances of rabbits under going anesthesia that they will be ok? If not, then he will just keep losing fur around eye and prob spread and probably have to give him antibiotics for the rest of his life. It won't go away unless I do this, but I just don't want to lose him. And is this a genetic issue? I wanted to breed him. His appointment is in a week to get the procedure done.

Thanks, Shane


  • snopanda wrote

    Eye drops worked great on my mini=lop. no more blocked ducts. Try that first.

  • rabbitrabbit wrote


    First question I always have is to confirm that the vet you are seeing is one that frequently works with rabbits? In most areas rabbits are considered an exotic pet in the vet world, not all vets are properly trained to work with them.

    On your recent visit did they do a fluorescein stain and flush to confirm that the duct is permanently blocked? That is usually step one. If it is a permanent block, some people choose to do prescription eye drops first, then decide how to proceed. 5 months isn't too young but some people prefer to wait until they are full grown. Of course each case is different so can't give you true advice, just what I know others have done when their rabbits have had blocked ducts.

    Anytime anesthesia is used there is a chance that any pet may not wake up. With trained vets this usually isn't an issue though, especially if they have proper current equipment and frequently work with rabbits. That is critical. This article is a few years old but has a bit of an overview:

    If you are ever unsure, don't hesitate to get a 2nd vet opinion just for peace of mind. If there is an animal ophthalmologist in your area that treats rabbits that is who I would go to. You can also ask your current vet for their history of rabbit anesthesia and the percentage that didn't wake up. 

    Personally I wouldn't breed him, there are already more than enough rabbits looking for homes!

    Good luck.

  • Jumpy wrote

    That is great advice rabbitrabbit and snopanda. I'm a little uncomfortable with this vet. I've lost a rabbit before due to heart attack there so I wonder about their care. 

    No flush was performed. There is another vet I went to before further away that I have a better feeling about so I will go there and get a second look. Finding percent of anesthesia success is good to know. I will see if this second vet recommends an eye drop before I ask for one. Is the eye drop a corticosteroid?

  • rabbitrabbit wrote

    I'm not sure on what eye drops are usually used. Of the folks I know that went through this, one just said "prescription eye drops" and the other said "antibiotic eye drops".

  • debbie wrote

    Hello Shane ~ you are receiving good advice and as a 23 year "bun mom" myself I believe I have good advice to add as well.  This will be rather long and for that I apologize but there is good information here that I believe you will learn and can use.

    First of all, I sense fear in your post.  Understandable but be at rest, no need to be fearful as this issue can be corrected.  No it's not a genetic issue and yes, it's imperative you are working with an experienced "exotics" vet.  Not all vets "are created equal" and have experience working with rabbits.  As an example, it would be like you and I going to see a dentist (or whoever) when we should be seeing a surgeon.  Does this make sense?  

    In the past I have had buns who underwent the nasolacrimal duct flush with no problems.  
    Sometimes doctors can be so dramatic and that drives me nuts. Yes, buns need to be anesthetized simply because they won't stay still.  From the way you detailed that in your post I get the feeling that the vet you are working with "may not be" an experienced exotic vet.  Just my opinion but that's how I interpreted that sentence.  Your sweet little one is only 5 months old so personally I see no reason why he/she won't get over this and be fine (if you should choose to go that route).  Easier said than done but don't jump to conclusions (I.E. when you said, "he will just keep losing fur around eye and prob spread and probably have to give him antibiotics for the rest of his life. It won't go away unless I do this.")

    I believe the reason the fur is coming off is because of the salt in the tears.  I really think that once this issue is correted, the fur will grow back.  For the white mucous you can use a very soft cloth with warm water and clean the area. 

    Just last month my PJ was dealing with teary eye.  I thought he (or his sister) had inadvertantly scratched his eye.  My exotic vet did the stain accompanied with the black light to see if the cornea was stratched.  It was not.  He then did a thorough check of the teeth to see if it was a tooth (molar) issue.  It was not.  And it's good that you had Jumpy's teeth checked as well.  My vet thought PJ was dealing with a blocked nasolacrimal duct and put PJ on Ofloxacin.  Didn't work.  

    My "go to" remedy (not only for myself but also for my buns) is Manuka Honey.  Yes, honey.  Manuka Honey is four-fold: anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral.  It hits all the areas.  It comes in three strengths: 10+, 15+, and 20+.  For general use for myself and for my buns I give the 10+ strength.  The higher strengths are "the big guns" and personally I wouldn't use them on my buns; too strong for them.  The 10+ strength is good for them.  Anyway, getting back to PJ.  As with any "anti-biotic", (Manuka Honey is not an anti-biotic, I'm just using that word okay) I put PJ on a ten day regime of Manuka Honey.  I put about a 1/2 teaspon on my fore finger and let him lick it off.  Sometimes he gets a little aggressive chomping down on my finger but once he realizes it's my finger he lightens up and licks away.  HE LOVES THIS STUFF.  Again, it's honey, it's food so there's no way it will harm your bunny.  My vet uses it; knows I use it and is completely fine with that.  I would suggest you Google manuka honey and educate yourself what it is and what is can do.  PJ did his ten day regime and I took him off the honey.  A few days later his eye began to tear again so back we went with another ten day regime.  Whatever it was that was causing this issue has gone away.  Just keep administering until the issue is gone.  That's what I do.  You can find Manuka Honey at any better health food store (or Amazon).  If you decide to try it make sure you purchase NEW ZEALAND MANUKA HONEY.  It HAS to be New Zealand Manuka Honey as not all honeys are alike.  

    I bet you Shane that if you try this, this teary eye issue will go away.  When I tell other "bun parents" about this they are apprehensive at first because they are not knowledgeable about the benefits of Manuka Honey but I've done this too many times, I know it works.  

    Another thing you really need to think about Shane (not now but soon) is getting your little one spayed or neutered.  The occurrence of reproductive cancer is both sexes is 95% (I know from first hand experience) so "getting fixed" is really a necessity.  

    Regarding breeding your litte one.  PLEASE do not do that.  Rabbits are the third most popular pet behind dogs and cats and also the highest pet to be released to shelters because people do not realize how much work they are.  There are so many precious bunnies out there now waiting for their forever home; don't add to the problem by adding more.  Enjoy your sweet little one for who he/she is.  And if you'll forgive me for saying this, if it's because you need money, there are other ways to earn income.  Remember, animals have emotions and feelings too.  They know when their mate or "child" has been taken away from them.  How would you feel if someone you love was suddenly taken away from you.  You wouldn't like it and neither would your bunny.   So please do not do that.

    If you would like to communicate with me, I'd be happy to help you.  Again, I have 23 years experience with bunnies and my best friend used to be an exotics vet tech and has 40+ years as a bun Mom.  Also Dr. Sherwood and Sara are excellent resources for knowledge. So that's a lot of experience here to help you.  Don't be in fear.  Don't fret.  We've all been through this and can help you okay :))

  • debbie wrote

    Shane ~ it's Debbie again.  If you Google Manuka Honey, I would suggest you go to a website called  Mike Adams is the "host".  He is a scientist and has created his own laboratory testing all kinds of foods, et al.  IMO he's excellent.  I suggest this website because like vets, not all websites are knowledgeable websites and can give you the wrong info.  Some mainstream websites may poo-poo the benefits of manuka honey because they have no knowledge about it.  Enjoy your day and kiss your sweet little one for me :)

  • Jumpy wrote

    Thanks for the info debbie! I just touched back with this forum today because I took him for the second opinion vet this morning. I would have ordered that stuff a few days ago if I checked in sooner, but will do today. And yes, I'm a fan of NaturalNews! Will definitely give it a try.

    In the meantime the vet gave me erythromycin eye ointment for a week. He also said if it didn't work he has to flush the tear duct. If I have to get it done it will be with him for sure. He did a thorough check on him and gave me more confidence the way he explained things and handled my bunny. 

    I will update with changes and see if the ointment works first, then the Manuka Honey.


  • debbie wrote

    Hi ~ good news; thanks for sharing :)  I don't know where you live but before ordering the honey on line, to save time do you have a Trader Joe's or other excellent health food or vitamin store near you?  Remember the strength level.  Personally for a bunny I'd stay with the 10+ strength.  Let me know how you do and kiss your sweet little one for me 💋

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