Rabbits are docile and loveable creatures that prove to be ideal pets. However, no matter how loving and playful they are, they need a lot of attention and care.
Rabbits are prone to various health issues due to their anatomy, including vision problems. But can rabbits go blind?
If you own a rabbit or are planning to buy one, you should be aware of these problems. This way, you can give them the required attention and care.
Read on to discover whether rabbits can lose their vision and go blind.
Can Rabbits Go Blind?
Rabbits can go partially or completely blind due to various eye problems. However, this shouldn’t worry you because they can make do without their vision quite well.
The eyes of a rabbit are located on either side of its face. This allows them to see things from afar. However, this also makes it challenging for them to look in front directly.
They often get eye injuries and problems due to foreign objects getting into their eyes. This can even result in temporary or permanent vision loss. But don’t worry!
You won’t have to care much for your rabbits even if they go blind. These creatures are good at adapting to blindness and can care for themselves.
But what causes temporary or permanent blindness in rabbits? Let’s find out.
What Causes Blindness in Rabbits?
The placement of their eyes gives rabbits an edge in the wild. However, it can also be a cause of problems, including blindness.
Temporary or permanent blindness in rabbits can be caused by various reasons:
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, is a common cause of vision loss in rabbits. It is the inflammation of the conjunctiva in your rabbit’s eye, which is the pink area surrounding its eye.
Harmful bacteria usually cause conjunctivitis in the eye. If your rabbit lives in a dirty cage or plays in dirty water, it can get conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis is a minor infection. However, it can cause serious damage and vision loss in rabbits as it progresses really fast.
An infection causes abscesses in an open wound. If your rabbit’s eye is injured and gets infected, it may get an abscess.
The abscess in a rabbit’s eye will usually form under the eye, causing it to swell.
If there is swelling in a wound under your rabbit’s eye, it can be due to an infection in the wound. If it is not taken care of right away, an abscess will form and may result in vision loss.
If the cornea, the outermost layer of your rabbit’s eye, gets damaged, it can cause an eye ulcer. This can be a result of an injury to the eyeball or something stuck in the eyeball.
Ulcers cause holes in the cornea that can either be a little spot or spread across the entire eyeball. They can seriously damage your bunny’s eye and cause immense pain.
If your rabbit is scratching their eyes too often or is keeping them shut, it could be due to an eye ulcer. Find out what’s causing irritation and pain in their eyes.
Some rabbits are born with birth defects that can cause blindness. Congenital issues are the most common cause of rabbits being born blind.
One of the most common congenital issues that cause blindness in rabbits is Buphtalmia, also known as infantile glaucoma.
If your rabbit has a cloudy or tinted eye, a flat cornea, or a bigger corneal diameter, it may have infantile glaucoma.
If there is any foreign object in your rabbit’s eye, it will cause irritation and eventually an infection in the eye. This can be anything ranging from a food particle, debris, or a piece of their bedding.
These light items can often get stuck in your rabbit’s eye and not be visible. If you notice that your rabbit is scratching their eyes with their paws, there may be something stuck in them.
Make sure to take your bunny to a vet immediately before it results in a bad infection or even blindness.
Also known as Iris Prolapse, a protruding iris is a condition that causes the iris of your rabbit’s eye to protrude.
The iris in a rabbit’s eye controls the dilation of the pupils and helps them see clearly.
If your rabbit has a protruding iris, you will notice a bump on the cornea of their eye. Make sure to get it checked as soon as possible.
Although a protruding iris is not a common condition, it can be caused by an abscess in their eyes.
A rabbit’s vision can deteriorate due to age, just like humans. As your rabbit gets older, it is more prone to developing cataracts.
A cataract causes cloudiness in the lens of your rabbit’s eye and distorts their vision.
If the cataract covers the entire lens of your rabbit’s eye, it will cause blindness. Cataracts can occur in both eyes and are very common as your rabbit gets older.
A proptosis is a rare eye condition in rabbits, but it is also the most painful. It is caused by a serious trauma inflicted on the rabbit, such as an accident.
Proptosis causes the eyeballs of the rabbit to pop out of its head.
How to Find Out Whether a Rabbit Is Blind?
There are many signs that can tell whether your rabbit is blind partially or completely. By keeping an eye out for these signs, you can take better care of your bunny and keep them safe.
The most common signs of blindness in rabbits include:
If your rabbit is blind, you will notice that they are having a hard time navigating. They will be really careful when moving around the house and even in places that they are familiar with.
They will also move slowly and often bump into things that are in their way. If your rabbit has suddenly started bumping into things or is stopping suddenly in the middle of a room, it may have vision problems.
No Response to Stimuli
The best way to determine if your rabbit is blind is by seeing its reaction to stimuli. Try placing something in front of your rabbit that scares them.
If they don’t respond to this, their vision may be impaired.
You can also try calling out to your bunny from a distance. If they are unable to figure out where the sound is coming from, there may be a problem in their vision.
Sudden vision impairment can also take a toll on their other senses.
However, your bunny will get better at it over time and be able to react to your call even without their vision. This is because they adapt very quickly to blindness.
Easily Startled by Sounds
Another common sign of vision loss in rabbits is when they easily get startled by a sound.
As a result of vision loss, all the other senses in your rabbit will be heightened. Consequently, they will become more sensitive to even normal situations.
For instance, a rabbit with impaired vision may get startled when you open its cage even though its eyes are pointed in the same direction.
No Response to Light
Another quick way to determine if your rabbit is visually impaired is by pointing a torch into their eyes. A healthy pupil in your rabbit’s eye will react instantly when you shine a light on it.
However, if the pupil remains intact and does not change, it is a sign that your rabbit’s vision is impaired.
In addition to these behavioral changes, there are also many physical changes that can tell if your bunny’s vision is impaired.
Some of the most common signs include a dilated pupil, pink eye, cloudy lens, swelling in the eyeball, or a wound in or around the eye.
How to Prevent Blindness in Rabbits?
Watching your little bunny have problems with its vision can be hurtful. However, you can prevent this from happening by being more careful of their health and hygiene.
To prevent blindness and other vision problems in your rabbit:
- Make sure to notice their behavior. If your rabbit is behaving and reacting differently to light or is scratching its eyes with the paws, take them to a vet.
- Make sure to keep them in a clean cage. Their living conditions should be clean and free from harmful bacteria that can infect their eyes.
- Make sure your rabbit does not play in dirty water.
- Make sure there are no pointy objects or sticks around their cage or play area, which could hurt their eyes.
That’s how you can take care of your bunnies and protect them from common vision problems.
However, if your bunny still gets visually impaired, don’t worry! They are known to quickly adapt to vision impairments and can rely on other senses to survive.
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