What is Snuffles?

What is Snuffles?

If you have read any rabbit resources regarding respiratory infections, snuffles will have appeared before you. Commonly labelled “Snuffles”, this is really referring to rhinitis – ie nasal/sinus infection.

Signs of snuffles include;

  • Stertor – Snoring sounds
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal disease
  • Nasal discharge- serous first, then purulent as it becomes chronic

Commonly snuffles is labelled as being caused by Pasteurella multocida – Pasteurellosis. This may NOT technically be wrong. This concept has arisen primarily from rabbit colonies – for production or science – that end up with widespread respiratory infections. However, as you may remember from dealing with calves in calving sheds, pigs in piggeries, or cats in a cattery – not all respiratory disease is due to infection, or pasteurella.

Factors that may cause upper airway inflammation or irritation:

  • Air quality
  • Stressors
  • Crowding
  • Poor Hygiene
  • Viruses – Myxomatosis or RHDV
  • Foreign bodies

But how does this apply to pet rabbits?

  • Air quality – ie smoking indoors, incense, candles, etc
  • Stressors – other pets, other people
  • Crowding -lots of rabbits, pets or people in a small space
  • Poor hygiene – dirty bedding or housing
  • Viruses
  • Foreign bodies

So if you see a snuffling rabbit – examine them, if possible check out a deep nasal swab and send it off for C&S.

Hop to it!


  • Varga, M. Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. 2nd ed. Elsevier. 2014.

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