Rabbits in the nest have a closed crusty eye. The kits are sleepy, lethargic and they are not nursing from the dam. Its a bacteria similar to pink eye in some cases.
First priority is to clean the eye lid using a wet Q-tip or damp rag. Try to examine each eye looking for deformation or infection and possibly blindness. If one kit has a infection it may very well be contagious to the other kits in the nest.
The very first case of nestbox eye that we had in our rabbitry was one that was Entropion.
“9.5.2 Congenital Eyelid Disorders
Entropion and ectropion occur in rabbits, especially in loose-skinned breeds such as the French lop. Short-nosed breeds, such as the Netherland dwarf, are prone to inadequate tear drainage and epiphora due to the conformation of the lower eyelid. Taut eyelids, a shallow medial canthal lake or mild medial lower lid entropion compromise drainage of tears through the punctum lacrimale. The natural bend in the nasolacrimal duct at the lacrimal foramen and at the base of the upper incisor can be enhanced in flat-faced individuals with a short, distorted nasolacrimal duct.” published as “Opthalmic Diseases” in the ”Veterian Key“ stated as the fastest veterinarian medicine insight engine.
The following photos are from a rabbit at Mountain Brook Farm and Rabbitry of an Entropion eye resulting in blindness of the eye. The rabbit is of the Holland Lop Breed and is in the first breeding litter from a doe.
The following Mountain Brook Farm and Rabbitry photos are those of a healthy eye from a Holland Lop…
Our rabbitry originated in the spring of 2017. Our date is now January of 2023 and this is the first case of Nestbox eye that we have had. It was not clearly understood until later development that what we have in a kit is actually Entropion. Looking back at the kindle I believe this manifestation is what caused the entire kindle to develop a eye infection or bacteria resulting from the one kit in the litter. Who Knew? This was the dams very first litter and it was a December pregnancy and January kindle in the coldest month. The breeding was a unrelated sire and dam.
Anywho now moving forward we are informed and would likely separate an affected kit from the rest of the litter or cull it to protect the whole from an infection. It is difficult to detect and differentiate from any other in the litter who is displaying nestbox eye symptoms. Look for swelling, folds in the eyelid and blind spotting in the eye itself. Basically if you clean eyes in the litter though a continuous reinfection occurs then evaluate the whole and isolate the one if you can find it.
Mountain Brook Farm & Rabbitry
Veterian Key - https://veteriankey.com/ophthalmic-diseases/
Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropion