Abscesses are a common problem for rabbits. They can present as an abnormal swelling or as an open draining infection for example from their tear ducts. These are usually related to tooth root abscesses.
Usually the abnormal swelling is covered by a thick layer of skin and are full of dry, thick material resembling the appearance of cottage cheese. Rabbit abscesses do not respond well to lancing and draining in the same way as abscesses in cats and dogs.
Surgical removal of the entire abscess is often required. Unless the abscess is removed with its thick outer covering intact, recovery can be lengthy and may not be successful. Entire removal of an abscess can be problematic particularly in certain locations.
Many abscesses are caused by dental disease and these can often penetrate the bone meaning complete removal is not possible.
Long term antibiotics are often required along with analgesia for pain relief. In recurring cases, regular opening and curetting of the abscess to remove its contents can help for a limited time until the rabbit’s quality of life is compromised.