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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Sneezing fit – can they be caused by hay/fur in the air?

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    • henry2809
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      Can a sneezing/coughing fit be caused by a new bag of hay/fur in the air from shedding? I got a new bag of Oxbow hay yesterday and it is much softer than the last bag that I had and it is in much smaller pieces. My bun also likes to stick his whole face into his hay container when he eats. I have a Ring camera in the room where my bunny free roams and I saw that he had a sneezing/coughing fit this afternoon (it almost sounded like a barking sound). It was about 6-7 of them and then he was fine. I came home a few hours later and he did one more sneeze/hack sound while he was eating his hay. He is eating, drinking, and pooping totally normally. I am thinking this is due to the new bag of hay, as the timeline would make sense since I noticed the sneezing today and JUST got the new hay yesterday, but I am VERY paranoid about my bunny’s health (as you can probably tell from some of my other posts). I think this anxiety is the result of his very serious episode of stasis back in August where he had to stay at a teaching hospital for a few days. He has an appointment at the vet in 9 days for his RHDV vaccine booster – do you think it would be okay to wait until then to mention it to his vet or should I bring him in sooner? He was sneezing a few months back and I rushed him to the vet on a Saturday because I was terrified that he had pneumonia, but the vet said that he was perfectly healthy and that pneumonia is actually very rare in adult rabbits. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Also, if anybody has any advice about how to be less anxious/paranoid about my bunny’s health, I would really appreciate it. It’s almost like I am a hypochondriac for my bunny and I am always monitoring him for illness. I feel like I am not actually enjoying him because I am always so worried about losing him.


    • LBJ10
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      If it was just this one incident, then I would just watch him. Are you able to switch the hay out for something different?


    • henry2809
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      I only noticed it today. I could go pick up a new bag of hay tomorrow. I get the same brand every time (Oxbow Western Timothy) but each bag varies a little bit in texture, how much dust, etc. so I may have just gotten an extra dusty bag? It would be the same hay, just a different bag. I just listened to him breathe by putting my ear near his nose and his chest, and I didn’t hear anything out of the ordinary.


    • henry2809
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      I’m just incredibly paranoid about pneumonia since I know it’s almost always fatal (this forum has scared me about pneumonia) so I usually get really anxious when he sneezes/coughs even though last time, back in September, his vet reassured me that it’s very rare and sneezing is usually due to irritation from hay/fur or a mild URI- not pneumonia.


    • Wick & Fable
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      If you are taking fine care of your rabbit, including but not limited to proper diet, clean environment, and general good husbandry practices, it would be highly unusual for pneumonia to suddenly appear out of nowhere. A mild URI is much more common than full-blown pneumonia. You’ll see here (https://wabbitwiki.com/wiki/Pneumonia) that the symptoms of pneumonia, if developing, actually are associated with a URI, and what anecdotally I’ve seen is pneumonia crops up with the rabbit is not properly treated for a URI, paired with poor rabbit care practices, allowing the infection to get so bad that we see pneumonia develop.

      Also, re: forum reading and getting anxiety (which, absolutely been there done that on my end… it is scary to read about other’s experiences!), remember that people post and ask questions online usually when things are going wrong, not well, unexpectedly, and/or they are simply lost and overwhelmed. As a consequence, we can get a skewed perception of how prevalent some of these conditions actually are and how severe their presentation/prognosis may be. Online, you’ll find a lot of the “worst case scenarios” and rarities, since those experiences are what draw people to seek help online.

      The answers provided in this discussion are for general guideline purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose or treat your pet. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or a qualified behaviorist.


      • henry2809
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        Thank you so much for your reassurance and advice. I completely agree with everything that you said. I just spent about 2 hours in my room with him, and he is totally normal as far as I can tell. He is playing, binkying, eating, drinking, pooping, and begging for treats and I haven’t heard any more weird sneezing/coughing sounds. I really do suspect that it was probably due to the new bag of hay since I just started using it last night and the sneezing started today. I’ll keep an eye on him and mention it to his vet at his RHDV booster appointment next week!


      • henry2809
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        One more thing that I forgot to add, I did give him 1 cc of baby gas drops 3 days ago when his stomach was acting up a bit. He is super hard to medicate, so about half of it got in his mouth and the other half ended up all over his nose and face and he ran away and cleaned his face off. I assume if this were aspiration pneumonia, I would be seeing a lot more symptoms, the sneezing fit would not have occurred just twice yesterday, and he would likely be deteriorating very fast since it occurred 3 days ago, would that be correct? In other words, I would know by now if it were aspiration pneumonia? He seems totally normal, he hopped up onto my bed to say good morning, he ate and pooped a TON overnight, ate some basil and treats this morning, etc.


    • henry2809
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      Alright everyone, I just left for my vacation and I will be gone until Saturday afternoon. His pet sitter will keep an eye on him and let me know if there’s anything to be concerned about but I am an anxious bunny mom right now.

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Forum HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Sneezing fit – can they be caused by hay/fur in the air?