Why Does My Rabbit Have Red Eyes?

Red-eyed rabbits look quite unique and beautiful.

While most rabbits have eyes that are a slight shade of pink, sometimes the light will hit your bunny’s eyes just right and make them look bright red.

Don’t worry; this isn’t really a cause of concern!

Rabbits usually have red eyes due to their genetic makeup.

However, they do tend to develop red eyes due to infections or other eyesight issues too.

Today, we’ll cover all the reasons why your bunnies could have red eyes.

Why Do Rabbits Have Red Eyes?

If a rabbit has red eyes paired with white fur, they usually have albinism.

Although there are a few exceptions, albino rabbits mostly have bodies that are devoid of any color.

That is why they only have white coats.

Even the appearance of the red-eye comes from reflections within the rabbit’s eye. Their iris isn’t red in color.

People often believe that red-eyed rabbits are more aggressive and wild. In reality, your rabbit’s eye color has no effect on their behavior whatsoever.

Many albino breeds are actually known for their mild and gentle temperament. Let’s learn more about albinism in your bunnies.

What is Albinism in Rabbits?

A rabbit’s eye color normally comes from its iris. Their genes produce a pigment that will reflect a particular wavelength of light, forming the eye color that we see.

However, in albino rabbits, the genes that signal eye and coat color production are left inactivated.

This results in your albino rabbits having red eyes and white fur.

While albinism does occur in the wild as well, it is quite a rare occurrence. Most albino rabbits have been specifically bred to be sold as pets.

Albinism is a genetic mutation that often makes your rabbit’s eyes highly sensitive to sunlight.

Therefore, you should keep the lights around your home quite dim. If you take your bunnies out for some exercise and play, ensure that there is plenty of shade.

You should also consider applying sunscreen on your albino rabbit’s body if they’ll be under direct sunlight. Make sure to use a child-safe sunscreen with no scent and a high SPF.

Besides being sensitive to light, albino rabbits don’t suffer from any other health issues.

They usually enjoy a good quality of life when under the care of responsible rabbit owners.

Breeds That Are Highly Prone to Albinism

All breeds of rabbits are capable of carrying an albino gene.

However, since it is a recessive trait, the chances of this trait being expressed are low.

Certain rabbit breeds have been bred to express the albino trait more often than others.

Florida White

The Florida White rabbit is the only breed that only has white fur with red eyes. They were previously bred to be lab animals.

Thankfully, due to numerous companies now opting for cruel-free testing, these rabbits are now considered the perfect pet.

Florida White rabbits are known for their friendly nature and sparkling red eyes.

Himalayan and Californian Rabbits

The Himalayan and Californian rabbit breeds both have the albino gene, but their markings make them quite unique.

These rabbits have dark markings around their ears, nose, tails, and feet.

This is rather uncommon among albino rabbits, as they usually lack any pigmentation.

Angora Giant Rabbits

Lastly, we have the Angora Giant rabbits.

They have earned their name by being the largest rabbit breed recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association.

These rabbits resemble tufts of clouds due to a soft and puffy coat.

The most remarkable characteristic of this breed is the fact that its coat isn’t made of fur. Instead, it’s made of wool to keep them warm during winters!

If your rabbits aren’t albino, they will probably have colored eyes and fur. Rabbits with brown or black fur but red eyes aren’t albino.

These red eyes are probably due to a medical condition that should be seen by a certified vet.

Do Rabbits with Red Eye Need Special Attention?

Albino rabbits are usually the same as any other rabbit and require the same basic care.

Their diet, enclosure size, chewing opportunities, etc., should all be kept the same as other rabbits. Even their grooming requirements are just like other rabbits’.

However, since the white fur is likely to get dirtier or stained more often, you might want to keep a few packs of hypoallergenic wipes around.

They’re perfect for a quick clean-up!

Other Reasons behind Red Eye in Rabbits

Your rabbits can only be considered albino if they lack pigmentation all over their body.

Colored-fur rabbits developing red eyes are usually the result of a health condition called hyperemia.

Hyperemia is a condition in which your rabbit’s eyes become inflamed. This is a result of an excessive blood flow towards your bunny’s eyes, caused by diseases or infections.

Red eyes caused due to a medical issue will be followed by swelling, tearing up, and pain.

It could occur due to a variety of underlying conditions, including environmental triggers, bacterial infections, eye damage, or corneal ulcers.

What are the Symptoms?

Are you worried about your rabbit suffering from hyperemia or think an eye infection could be causing their red-eye?

Here are some symptoms to look out for.

  • Swollen eyelids and difficulty in the opening eye.
  • Discharge leaking from the eyes and nose.
  • Noisy breathing and gasping due to a respiratory tract infection.
  • Low energy levels.
  • Alopecia (fur shedding off) around the face.
  • Tear-stained eye corners, nasal area, and cheeks.
  • Overgrown/ grinding teeth.
  • Blurring vision resulting in uncharacteristic clumsiness.
  • Hunched posture.

Causes of Red Eye in Non-Albino Rabbits

There are a number of different conditions that could cause red-eye in rabbits that don’t express the recessive albino trait.

Let’s find out what they are so you can better understand why your rabbit has red-eye.

Conjunctivitis – The rabbit’s conjunctiva becomes inflamed and infected due to injuries, internal trauma, or bacterial/ fungal attacks.

Dacryocystitis – An infection stemming from the lacrimal sac. Dacryocystitis is often related to dental problems and infections.

Glaucoma – Glaucoma is a common health problem in rabbits caused by intraocular pressure. It causes red-eye followed by a milky white cornea and can result in blindness if not treated promptly.

Dental Disease – Tooth problems often cause your rabbit’s face to become swollen, thus affecting their eyes as well. Dental diseases also result in discharge from the eye.

Keratitis – Trauma that results in an inflamed cornea.

Corneal Ulcers – These are open sores found around the cornea. Ulcers are the most common cause of red-eye and other ophthalmic issues in rabbits.

Best Treatment Plans for Red Eye in Rabbits

If your rabbit is showing signs of an eye problem or has developed red eyes, it is best to seek professional medical attention ASAP.

These issues can be quite serious and result in permanent blindness if not handled properly.

Your vet will offer ointments, antibiotics, or eye drops to help cure the red-eye.

In case of any dental problems, they might need a tooth removal. You might need to take them in for regular eye check-ups as well.

Here are some effective treatment plans that your vet will suggest to cure your non-albino rabbit’s red-eye.

Applying Topical Medication

Most eye conditions can be treated using topical broad-spectrum antibiotic creams.

Your vet will do a sensitivity test beforehand to isolate the infection-causing bacteria. They will then select the most effective topical solution accordingly.

Opt for Systemic Treatment

If the condition is serious, your vet will recommend systemic anti-inflammatory solutions to provide relief.

This will be followed by antibiotic therapy to ensure that your rabbit’s condition is treated well.

Hospital Treatment

If the case of red-eye is quite severe, your rabbits will require hospitalization and surgery.

Be sure to get a second opinion from a trustable vet before any surgical procedures.

How to Ensure Your Rabbit Recovers Well?

Your pet’s road to recovery from the red-eye largely depends on what caused the medical issue.

Most rabbits will make a full recovery within a few weeks and continue to hop about happily.

However, you will need to take all the necessary precautions and be diligent with the vet visits.

Make sure to follow any medication plans administered by your vet and apply the topical eye treatments regularly.

It helps to keep a close eye on your bunny during the recovery process and give them plenty of attention.

Seek out your vet if you notice any issues or the symptoms return.

In Conclusion

Your rabbit’s genetic makeup determines whether they have natural red-eye or if it’s the result of a medical condition.

Albino rabbits with red eyes live happy, healthy lives without requiring extensive care or grooming.

You will just need to provide some extra shade and buy a few tubes of child-friendly sunscreen to keep them happy.

On the other hand, if non-albino rabbits develop red eyes, the matter isn’t quite as simple.

They will need medical attention, accurate diagnostics, and effective treatment plans.

As soon as you notice your non-albino rabbit’s eye getting swollen and red, seek out a vet and get a thorough check-up done.

It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our beloved bunny’s health!

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