Nasal (and other URT) Foreign Bodies in Lagomorphs

Click here for full page view with caption. Nasal foreign body and rigid endoscope

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Physical / Traumatic Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names  
Disease Agents
  • Grass seeds, hay, hair shafts or other materials. (B600.13.w13, B601.7.w7, B602.17.w17, J513.1.w1)
Infectious Agent(s) --
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s) --
General Description
Clinical signs
  • Sneezing (repeated or paroxysmal)
  • Rubbing of the nose (with the forepaws and/or on the ground.
  • Usually unilateral nasal discharge.
  • Upper respiratory noise (rales), loud.
  • Sometimes respiratory distress and mouth-breathing - particularly if the foreign body is deep in the nasopharynx

(B600.13.w13, B601.7.w7, B602.17.w17, V.w44)

Further Information
  • Visual inspection of the nares may reveal the foreign body. (B600.13.w13, B601.7.w7)
  • Check the patency of the nasal passages by occluding one side then the other and listening. 
  • Inspection of the nares using a rigid endoscope, 1.9 mm diameter. (B601.7.w7, J513.1.w1)
    • This requires general anaesthesia and is only possible in larger rabbits. (B601.7.w7)
  • Radiography. (V.w127)
  • MRI. (V.w127)
  • See: Imaging in Lagomorph Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Note: foreign bodies may also be in the pharynx or trachea. (B602.17.w17)
  • If possible, manually remove the foreign body; use endoscopy if necessary (Imaging in Lagomorph Diagnosis and Treatment). (B600.13.w13, B601.7.w7, J513.1.w1)
    • Sometimes the offending material can be pushed through into the oesophagus. (J513.1.w1)
  • Flushing the nasal passages: under general anaesthesia and with the rabbit intubated (Endotracheal Intubation of Rabbits), flush the nasal passages with sterile saline. (B601.7.w7)
    • Make sure the rabbit is positioned so that any foreign bodies and purulent material can drain out of the mouth. 

(B600.13.w13, B601.7.w7, V.w44)

Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species
Disease Author Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referees Brigitte Reusch BVet Med (Hons) CertZooMed MRCVS (V.w127)

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