Garlic for Rabbits?

by Lite
(Canada )

Hi, I need your help.

My bunny boy is 9 yrs old and about 3 months ago I took him to the vet because he was sneezing.

After Culture, examination the vet found resistance to antibiotic or something I forgot. (I remember I heard resistance to something.)

They tried one kind of antibiotic, then another for another 3 weeks (something called Bytral), but it didn't help.

So I gave him little bit of garlic powder on his salad for a week.

His nose isn't very wet now, and he's not sneezing a lot but I've learned garlic can cause anaemia. Is this true?

What else can I do to help him?


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Jul 02, 2018
Garlic in herbal tonic NEW
by: Anonymous


I am so confused...i know there are sites that say that Garlic is POISON to rabbits.(WAG's site, they also claim that grapes are poisonous to rabbits)

I often think that vets do not want competition at all.

Here is a paper saying that garlic can treat coccidia:

I am not going to go into my sotry because it is too long. my vet and i disagree, she sent bunny home with no hope..

She is 11 years old, and had been coughing and sneezing. I have her on Baytril...

I also have a rabbit herbal formula from a rabbit herbalist for pasteurella and an infection formula.

Both have garlic in them..(it is near the last ingredient on the list, which means there is very little.)

These formulas appear to have helped her.
Coughing and sneezing are almost gone, and her energy and demanor are amazing.

BUT now i am spooked.
The herbalist just says it is entiirely safe.
I don't know what to do.

Oct 01, 2015
by: Kerry


Yes, I realised you were not the original poster but your concerns are of equal importance.

I have updated the Top 10 and added information that will hopefully make the subject of garlic more clear.

However, I do not feel removing it entirely is helpful as it needs to be discussed.

The benefits of garlic to normal healthy rabbits as a preventative supplement, far outweigh the possible allergic reactions to a minority group.

Human beings can also be affected by certain foods such as gluten, milk, nuts etc but these foods are still available to purchase and consume. It is up to us to read labels and gather information that will ultimately guide and help us.

The same can be said for rabbits. As responsible rabbit owners, it is up to us to judge from the evidence and facts before us as to whether we wish to give our rabbits garlic or not.

I believe I have updated the list correctly and added as much data as I can for rabbit owners to make an informed decision.

If I did not include garlic then I would be doing many rabbit owners an injustice as they have a right to make informed decisions of their own based on the most recent evidence as it stands (Feb 2014).

However, as the page outlines, much more in vivo tests need to be done to establish the benefits of garlic on carcinogens.

Thanks for your comments, it really does mean a lot that you took the time to express your views and concerns.

I hope I have helped in some small way to clear up your issues and that you can now make a decision based on this further evidence.

The new information can be found in the article further below and also on this page:

Oct 01, 2015
(A bit confused) person
by: Anonymous

Just a note, I am not the original poster.

My bun is only a year and a half. I had stumbled across your article and based on it was think of giving my bun some garlic until I saw the comment from the original poster and your response to it.

If there are truly such a wide range of problems associated with garlic and rabbits then I suggest removing it from your list of *top 10 for rabbits and make a note of all the problems with it and that it can in fact cause severe allergic reactions like that.

Oct 01, 2015
Conflicting Evidence
by: Kerry

I'm sorry if I have confused things with my writing.

Some of the back story of the previous comments was omitted and it made for a somewhat conflicting report.

When I originally compiled the 'Natural Antibiotics' page and listed garlic as no. 1, it was about 3 years ago and the research data I was going on was not as clear as it is today.

However, I have recently researched new data collaborated in February 2014 from this report; 'The Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Organosulfur Compounds...' by Georgia Schäfer and Catherine H. Kaschula, from the Department of Medical Biochemistry, and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cape Town, respectively, and I have since corrected the previous comment to reflect both the new data and some of the details omitted in the back story so I hope that the new explanation clears up any confusion.

I have also made it clearer on the natural antibiotics page and moved garlic lower down the list because of the dangers that have now been discovered.

You can read the new list here:

Please remember that I am not a qualified Vet and I only offer my help and advice based on my research and experience and I apologise again if I have confused matters.

I do hope you can take from this what you need and that your rabbits are well and fit :-)

Warmest regards

Sep 30, 2015
A bit confused...
by: Anonymous

So my rabbit was just prescribed some antibiotics by his vet and he refuses to take them (he will take pain meds like a treat but with this one, even when I squirt it in the side of his mouth he refuses to swallow and lets it dribble out).

I am doing research right now and was thinking about mixing it with just a bit of pineapple juice or maybe juice a grape.

Then I was reading this article and since you listed garlic as the best I was thinking of offering him just a sliver, yet here you are saying it is harmful to rabbits. Which is it?

Jul 21, 2015
A Few Words of Caution
by: Kerry

There is lots of conflicting data about garlic and this is down to the complex compounds that are found within it in its various forms (fresh, crushed, powered, aged etc).

While garlic is great for us humans it is NOT good to give older rabbits too much.

An older rabbit such as yours (over 9 years) will have a low immune system and the garlic (in any form) may cause serious upset to the bodies normal daily functions.

There really is no telling as to how each individual rabbit may react so it is best to avoid it where the immune system may be compromised.

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a species in the onion genus, Allium and this genus contains toxins that are dangerous for rabbits when given in large quantities.

Garlic has an immunosuppressive effect (reduces the activation or efficacy of the immune system) in rabbits, and rabbits may have an anaphylactic reaction. Meaning some rabbits may have an allergic reaction to certain compounds such as allicin.

This means that even medication may cause anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death.

Apart from allistatin, garlic has many other substances (including vitamins and minerals), but allistatin I, allistatin II, alliin, allicin, garlicin and ajoine are the strongest antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, immune-enhancing and anti-platelet compounds found in large quantities in garlic.

This is why some rabbits will crave garlic. They know there are goodies within it! But at the same time there are compounds that may cause a severe allergic reaction.

It's a bit like you craving a delicious chocolate bar only to find it has nuts in it, to which you are highly allergic. You would enjoy the chocolate but the nuts would cause your tongue and throat to swell and your airways will become constricted. Your body will go into shock and will begin shutting down.

As humans can go into anaphylactic shock so too can rabbits, especially when they're old, very young or recovering from illness.

The best course of action is to avoid garlic unless you are sure your rabbit has had it safely before and they're immune system is normally strong.

It's good to give your rabbit plenty of dark greens, hay and fresh water, and completely eliminate fruit, high sugar veg and treats from the diet.

Make sure they get lots of fresh air and exercise (at least a football pitch worth every day) as this will activate, stimulate and invigorate all their internal organs in ways that are quite unique to rabbits.

Look at the diet page for more info:

Luckily your gorgeous brave bun is very strong and have a determination to survive, especially at that age ;-)

Good luck and I hope bunny gets better real soon.

Kerry :-)

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