Pet Information > ASK Experts > Exotic Pets > Rabbits > Crusty paws

Crusty paws

22 10:27:00

Hi there,

  My rabbit Paulie is a 6yo netherland dwarf male.  Recently he has started
having crusty paws and noticed him excessively cleaning his face.  Fearing
that it was snuffles, I brought him to the vet.  (About a week prior, he had
had his teeth filed and had a flush done.)  During the filing the vet didn't
notice any infection, and still didn't suspect any infection when brought back.  
He was put on Baytril for two weeks.  After the treatment he still had the icky
paws, but I have noticed he hasn't been cleaning his face. He was started on
an additional two weeks.  Throughout this process, he hasn't changed his
eating habits or attitude.  Could it be allergies?

Dear Shalyn,

Allergies are pretty rare in rabbits, and it's doubtful this would pop up this late in his life.  An upper respiratory infection is the more likely culprit.

Nasal cultures don't always yield reliable results because of the high probability of contamination with other bacteria around the mouth and nose, but we've found that if you swab the area around the nose with chlorhexiderm flush, let it dry, and *then* do a deep nasal swab, the results are better.  If there's something growing up there, it should show up with a culture and sensitivity test:

Many bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to commonly used antibiotics such as Baytril, so a C & S is really important if the Baytril isn't working well.  Lately, we've found that we get better results with zeniquin (marbofloxacin) or dicural (difloxacin) if a fluoroquinolone is called for.  For Pasteurella, combining one of these with bicillin/duplocillin is sometimes very effective.

Please also read:

If you're not sure your current vet is very experienced with rabbits, you may be able to find another vet here for a second opinion:

I hope this helps.