Why My Rabbit Has a Crusty Nose? (Complete Information)

You may have seen crusty or cracky skin on your rabbit’s nose or face. Of course, this condition makes every owner worry about their fluffy pet. But the question is why? Why my rabbit has a crusty nose? What causes crusty noses in rabbits? How can we treat them? Let’s find out all your answers in this article.

Syphilis, URI, and fungal infection can cause crusty noses in your rabbit. Other reasons include improper bedding, poor feeding, and direct contact with an infected animal. Not treating such issues at early stages can make them suffer from critical conditions. 

This article discusses the causes of crusty noses and how we can prevent this condition. So let’s find it out.

Rabbit crusty nose.

Some rabbits with crusty or cracked noses act normal, while others may find it uncomfortable and irritating. Every rabbit has its different behavior. In addition, their vulnerability to infection is determined by immunity, age, diet, etc.

Your rabbit can get its crusty nose if they come in contact with dirty bedding, dust particles, hays, or items. This may also be the first indication of URI.

A crusty nose can be caused by syphilis, fungi, or URI ( upper respiration infection), which should require immediate treatment or medication. In addition, you must take your rabbit to the vet if you find any changes in its behavior or appearance.


Syphilis is a bacterial condition/disease that can cause sores around the nose, which might confound a rabbit’s diagnosis. 

Spirochete Treponema cuniculi cause this infectionwhich can infect both wild and domestic rabbits. Also, it can transmit its infects to other cage mates. 

A rabbit can get syphilis by direct or sexual contact with the infected rabbit’s sores or after delivery during the vaginal passage.

Syphilis can be temporarily inactive for a long time, which may keep your rabbit to stay sick for years. A stressful incident or a suppressed immune system might bring off bacterial sickness.

Syphilis affects the mucosa-epithelium junction of sexual organs, the anus, or the face, primarily the nose and eyelids. They may begin as swelling and redness in these regions but will advance to pimple-like lesions, then ulcerate, and eventually crust.

If left untreated, it may spread to surrounding areas and other vulnerable portions of the rabbit’s body (e.g., from genitalia to the face or the anus).

Fungal infection: 

Fungal skin infection usually occurs in areas where the air contains moisture, humid and hot weather in summer, and damp and cold weather in winter.

Fungal infections or crusty sores can occur on the face, like the nose, ears, near the mouth, or on the body. Because this sort of disease is frequently fungal, antibiotics – either orally or as a gel or cream – may not be effective. If this happens, it may be beneficial to use human anti-fungal topical medications off-label.


Upper respiratory infection is a severe disease that can cause a life-threatening problem if not treated promptly. 

Some rabbit owners may expect it as the flu that will go away in a few days, but this condition is a cause of concern. It happens when a germ or virus reaches the respiratory system and disrupts normal function.

Loss of appetite, unusual sneezing, nasal discharge, unusual terror or aggression, coughing, a heavy yellow or green mucous discharge, and lack of energy can be the symptoms of infection.  

An upper respiratory infection can also often happen because rabbits have mandibles that are expanded laterally, allowing more access to the upper airway structures. 

Therefore, these viruses and bacteria can quickly enter their upper respiratory organs, including the nasal cavity, nose, mouth, nostrils, larynx, and pharynx.

URI is a severe life-threatening problem. If not treated on time, your poor infected rabbit can spread the disease to its other cage mates. Therefore, isolating your infected rabbit from the other pets would be best.

Is it normal that my rabbit has a crusty nose?

If your rabbit has a crusty nose, it is a sign of a problem that needs to be treated by your vet, whether mild or severe. In this condition, your pet may sneeze, cough, or may rub its nose, which indicates they are suffering from pain.

An occasional sneeze is okay if your rabbit has no health issues. They only try to remove its nasal discharge, which stops in a few hours.

However, if your rabbit’s crustiness or crusty nose disappears and reappears in a period, it is a sign of URI or syphilis that requires immediate treatment from the vet.

Why is my rabbit’s lip crusty?

Sometimes, when you overfeed sour fruits like tomatoes or apples to your rabbit, it can cause a bacterial or fungal infection that makes your pet’s lips crusty. 

Therefore, removing acidic fruits from your rabbit’s diet is essential to eliminate the possible cause.

How can we Treat the crusty nose of rabbits?

Treatment strategies differ depending on the state of the rabbit when the infection is diagnosed. Syphilis, fungi, or URI can cause a crusty nose in a rabbit. Therefore, here are the treatments according to the conditions.


Your vet may suggest you the therapy of choice for rabbit syphilis is 4-6 rounds of the narrow spectrum antibiotic penicillin G (benzathine/procaine: 42.000 – 84.000 UI/kg, SC, IM) at intervals of 5 to 7 days.

However, do not administer penicillin to a rabbit orally; it frequently causes severe diarrhea.

During the treatment, keeping track of the rabbit’s eating habits is critical. Your rabbit must eat and drink on its own. However, if they don’t, force-feeding with the syringe and injectable fluids is necessary. 

Also, do not stop the antibiotic; otherwise, bacterial resistance will begin in the body. 


If you find your rabbit sneezing a lot, you must visit the vet for your rabbit’s health checkups because that could be the primary sign of URI.

Broad-spectrum antibiotics such as chloramphenicol palmitate and enrofloxacin are used to treat URI. 

Your veterinarian will guide you on providing medications until your rabbit recovers.

Fungal infection:

If your rabbit has reddish, dry, and cracky sores on your rabbit feet, legs, and face, including its ears, eyelids, nose, or mouth, it can probably be ringworm.

Your veterinarian will consider treatment depending on the severity of your rabbit’s sores. They may suggest:

  • Miconazole shampoos, 
  • Miconazole or clotrimazole cream (Topical anti-fungal medications), 
  • Keratolytic 
  • Oral drugs include Itraconazole and Griseofulvin ( do not use Griseofulvin if your pet is pregnant or breeding).

The treatments for this infection may continue for at least two weeks after your rabbit’s sores heal or two cultures are negative for fungus.

How can we prevent these conditions?

We know prevention is better than cure. Therefore, trying to prevent our rabbits from these diseases and infections will save the money of visiting the vet and make our rabbits live long, healthy life.

Therefore, there are some tips and tricks to prevent infections and make your rabbit healthy and safe. Some of them are listed below:

  1. Keep the wild rabbits away from your domestic rabbit to avoid infections.
  2. Do not mix your new rabbit with other cage mates. Keep the new rabbit in isolation for at least 14 days.
  3. Provide good options for bedding. 
  4. For bedding, you can use a thick layer of newspaper as a bottom and short-chopped straw or soft, fresh hay on top of it.
  5. Keep the cage of your rabbit clean. The cage should be cleaned and disinfected at least twice a week.
  6. Housing that has good ventilation helps to decrease the levels of respiratory disease.
  7. Always take your rabbit to the vet for health checkups once in six months, even if they have any symptoms.
  8. For rabbit skincare, monthly shampooing will keep the fur and skin of your rabbit clean. Before choosing any shampoo, make sure to consult your vet first.
  9. Keep your rabbits indoors by providing a secure shed in winter.

Also read: Rabbits Won’t Eat Critical Care.


  1. A crusty nose can be caused by syphilis, URI, or skin infection like fungus.
  2. Treatment of these diseases is essential; otherwise can cause life-threatening problems.
  3. Low immune, direct or sexual contact, improper bedding, and food can cause infections and diseases.
  4. Crusty lips can be caused by overfeeding acidic fruits to your rabbit.
  5. You must visit your vet if you find any changes in your rabbit’s behavior or appearance.

Reference: Pdsa, rabbit, NCBI.

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