Hello all! I'm really perplexed and hope someone can shed some light on this for me.
My daughter has an approx 2-3 year old male (not fixed) pet rabbit, Oreo. About 2 months ago (maybe a little more), he started periodically making a "squeaking" noise. Sounded just like a dog squeak toy. At that time, we noticed he would squeak most often when we was cleaning his face, which he seemed to be doing more often. Took him to a vet, they found nothing. The squeaking continued. We changed his bedding, that seemed to help for a day or so. Anytime the bunny was outside of the cage running around, never a peep...only when IN the cage.
Fast forward to now, the squeaking has totally stopped and now he is having these mini sneezing fits (lasting about 5 seconds or so) ending with a loud gagging noise. He ONLY does this when eating. Not really any other time. Throughout this entire time, there has been NO other symptoms. NO discharge from nose, eyes, eating drinking and pottying just fine. His behavior is pretty much the same. The only other thing I've noticed a little is that he doesn't seem to like his face or cheeks touched too much. We had him out last night and I was gently touching the side of his face...he would abruptly turn towards me and then commence to rapidly "digging" with his front paws.
This is just so weird. We've had many bunnies and I'm PRETTY good at figuring things out. I also hope that nothing serious has been missed. I know with rabbits, when they are very ill or sick, they usually perish quickly. Unfortunately, I've been there with a few other of our pet bunnies. This has been going on for a few months with no changes. I'm not entirely sure most vets are "experts" when it comes to small animals. I felt a little dismissed when I took him there initially.
What do you guys think? Everything I've read seems to indicate either a dental issue, allergies, I've even read that sometimes this kind of thing can be telling of a mating sign, like puberty? (No other bunny with him). Could it be behavioral? I wouldn't think so because it's literally only when eating. And the squeak toy noise was replaced with these sneezing/gagging fits. He NEVER did this the entire time we had him, and we haven't changed anything..food, bedding. We only tried a bedding change after the squeaking started.
I can't remember his breed at the moment. When my daughter wakes up, I'll post that info in case it helps. Thanks a million for any ideas you can offer! I'm stumped!!
As I was reading your post I also thought about the possibility of a dental problem. It's been a few months since he's been checked. If a vet is willing to do a thorough exam of the mouth, that might be helpful. Often they just use a tongue depressor and take a quick peek at the front teeth and look for any plaque in the mouth indicating a fungus or such. I wonder if they would have to sedate the bunny to look at all the teeth and back of the throat. But with the tenderness around the face and squeaking when eating, I'm thinking a tooth has gone bad. See if you can tell which side bothers him more. That would be a good start.
Thank you so very much! It seems likely from what I read that a dental issue could be the culprit. I'm going to search out a vet who specializes in small animals and have him checked. I used to take my ferrets to a small animal vet years ago when I had them. Also, we have a new guinea pig, so I'l need a vet for Fred as well. :0)
Thanks ever so much, I appreciate your input.
BTW, not that it probably matters, but Oreo is a New Zealand Dwarf.
He's quite adorable. We used to have a dwarf bunny, black and white as well. We also had a large lop eared bunny and the dwarf bunny thought Muffin, the lop eared, was her baby. Very protective and bossy. What a funny pair they were.
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