Eye swelling secondary to an abscess created by an upper cheek tooth infection in a rabbit

Zena Wilkerson

This photo shows a 7 year old Dutch rabbit presented with a bulging left eye. The most common cause for this is an abscess in the tissue behind the eye. The most common cause for an abscess in this area is an underlying tooth infection. Rabbit abscesses, particularly those associated with dental disease, are very challenging to treat.

Xena xray

Skull x-rays showed a suspicious area of the cheek (molar) tooth in the area just below the eye socket (red arrow).

Zena Wilkerson           Zena Wilkerson

After a week of injectable penicillin therapy our patient was anesthetized and the area of interest examined using our special rabbit dental exam equipment. The red arrow points to some dark teeth at the back of the mouth and these were the ones that were infected.

Zena Wilkerson

The infected teeth were loosened and removed.

Zena Wilkerson            Zena Wilkerson

Pus was subsequently expressed from the openings left by the extracted teeth; by applying gentle pressure to the swollen tissue surrounding the eye. You can see that copious quantities of nasty, infected tissue was removed.

Zena Wilkerson

Next, the abscess area was flushed and then packed with an antibiotic gel called Doxrobe® that will treat the infection locally. In addition, our bunny will receive Penicllin G injections three times weekly. Follow up visits will be necessary to see if the infection is resolving and to assess the mouth for healing. Sometimes other procedures are necessary to rid the body of all the infection. Time will tell, but for now our patient is more comfortable and is doing well.