10 Common Rabbit Diseases, Illnesses, & Ailments (and How to Treat Them)

10 Common Rabbit Diseases, Illnesses, & Ailments (and How to Treat Them)
Article By 

| Featured on Spruce Pets
Rabbits are well-loved parts of many families that have the joy of caring for them. But unfortunately, and just like other pets, rabbits are prone to a variety of problems and diseases. Some diseases are more common than others and by being educated on these problems you may be able to prevent them or at least learn to recognize the signs and symptoms more quickly in order to get your rabbit help.

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10 Common Rabbit Diseases, Illnesses, & Ailments (and How to Treat Them)

10 Common Rabbit Diseases, Illnesses, & Ailments (and How to Treat Them)

Article Featured on Morning Chores
In my time of raising rabbits (and communicating with a lot of others who raise rabbits) I’ve noticed there are certain illnesses and ailments that commonly occur in rabbits. It is important to understand these and also recognize them in a timely fashion so they don’t get out of hand.
So I’m bringing you a list of the 10 most common illnesses and ailments among rabbits (in my opinion) and how you can effectively treat them or stop them from occurring.
Here are the most common illnesses and ailments among rabbits:

1. Ear Mites

The first time I came across ear mites I panicked. Ear mites are tiny little bugs that set up shop in your rabbit’s ears. The ear will look really crusty, brown, and itchy.

So if you see your rabbits scratching their ears a lot, check them. After having a bout with ear mites, I now check my rabbit’s ears almost daily to be sure I keep a jump on them.
But if your rabbits get ear mites, don’t feel bad. My rabbits live in really clean conditions and are fed a proper diet and still ended up with them. What I found in my research is that ear mites often live in hay.
Well, if you are feeding your rabbits a proper diet it should include mainly hay. If you notice your rabbits ears are full of gunk, then it is time to get to work. You’ll need a dropper ( I actually use a squirt bottle like this.)
Then fill it with oil of any kind. I usually use vegetable oil because it is inexpensive, and then place a few drops of oil in the infected ear twice a day for 7 days. This smothers the ear mites and relieves the crusty skin from the ear.
However, it is important to mention, do NOT pick the scabs out of your rabbit’s ears. They will clear up naturally. Picking at it will be painful for your rabbit and also open them up to more possibility of infection. Just let the oil do the work.
But you can try to prevent ear mites by keeping hay in a hay feeder and not just allowing your rabbits to lay in it. I also try to put a drop of oil in each of my rabbits’ ears once a week as a preventative measure for ear mites.

2. Snuffles

Photo by Mumbles Minis Rabbitry

You need to realize up front that it is not normal for an animal to ‘get a cold.’ I made this mistake with my chickens and lost a large portion of my flock one year.
So when you see that your rabbits have nasal discharge or are sniffling then you need to pay attention to what is happening. Other symptoms of the snuffles are matted paws, sneezing, and watery eyes.
Basically, this disease is best prevented by keeping your rabbits on a healthy diet and also keeping your rabbitry clean. The snuffles is a bacteria so if you keep their immune system ready to fight while also not giving bacteria a place to grow, then you should stay ahead of this disease.
However, if by some chance your rabbits develop this disease, then it is usually best to try and treat them with antibiotics, though they are not guaranteed to treat this illness.
So the best way to defeat this disease is to never let it set-up with your rabbits.

3. Heat Stroke

Photo by binkybunny.com

Heat stroke is something you have to really pay attention to when it comes to keeping rabbits. The reason is that they are very well insulated.
So on blistery cold nights you might be fearful of them freezing to death. When in reality if you provide a way to block the wind and give them extra hay (as chewing keeps them warm), then your rabbits should be just fine.
However, summer is a different story. Your rabbits need to be kept in the shade with lots of water as heat can quickly get to them. So if your rabbit is lethargic and it is warmer outside, then you’ll need to act quickly.
Be sure to quickly decrease their body temperature by spraying them gently with cool water. Then you will need to take them to a vet so they can be treated with IV fluids.
But your best bet is to try to avoid heat stroke all together. You can do this by giving your rabbits frozen water bottles. They can lay next to these bottles and absorb some of the cool.
Also, you can blow a fan on your rabbits indirectly so cool air can circulate around them. Don’t blow it directly on them as this can cause problems for your rabbit.

4. GI Stasis

Photo by Vet Girl on the Run

GI Stasis is a serious and often fatal disease. Your best bet is to completely prevent the disease by feeding your rabbits a diet high in fiber which basically means giving them lots of hay.
However, you will recognize GI Stasis because your rabbit will become bloated, lethargic, suffer from loss of appetite, not drink fluids, and also quit going to the bathroom.
If your bun starts showing any of these signs it is important to give them lots of fluids and hay. As well as massage their bellies.
But if you see no movement in their systems, it might be time to call your vet as it could potentially require surgery.

5. Sore Hocks

If you’ve ever seen a rabbit with sore hocks, it just looks painful. But the good news is that sore hocks is easily preventable.
So sore hocks is when the rabbit is either living in less than ideal conditions, or they have no where to rest their feet and their feet become callused and sore on the bottoms. Which are two important things to keep in mind if you are raising rabbits in wire hutches.
It is important to provide your rabbits with either nesting boxes to rest their feet in, a board to rest their feet on, or to provide them with mats.
However, if you have a larger breed rabbit this is very common with them where they have so much weight on their hocks. So be sure that they especially have really clean living conditions and lots of room to rest their feet.

6. Bloat

Bloat is a big deal! If your rabbit develops this it will most likely be a fatal blow to them. So the best way to handle bloat is to prevent it from happening.
But first things first, bloat is when your rabbit’s stomach has an imbalance of bacteria in it. This causes their bellies to look like a balloon and begin to swell.
This disease happens when your rabbit eats too much green food, wet grass clippings, moldy food, not enough fiber in their diet, if they are fed irregularly, or if they eat food that is spoiled.
So keep this in mind when feeding your rabbits. We feed our rabbits protein pellets, but they eat mainly a diet of hay. During the warmer months we use fresh vegetables and weeds as a treat, but they do not get them regularly for this very reason. We also feed our rabbits fodder. They love it, but they don’t get an excessive amount of it either.
It is important to pay attention to what you feed your rabbits. Also, you should pay attention to their poop. Make sure that they are still going regularly and that everything looks like it should.

7. Coccidiosis

This is something you hear talked about regularly if you belong to any type of rabbit group online. As soon as someone posts a stomach issue with their rabbit this dreaded disease is one of the first suggestions thrown out there.
But I’m very grateful for all of the information that has been shared in some of the groups I belong to because I learned a lot about Coccidiosis (also referred to as Cocci.) This is why I stopped raising my rabbits in a colony setting. It makes breeding hard to keep up with and cleaning a lot more difficult too.
So out of fear that my rabbits would develop this horrible disease I decided hutches were a safer bet. Much to my surprise, my rabbits actually appear much happier in a hutch. I think they feel more secure.
But as far as cocci goes, you’ll know your rabbits could possibly have it if they begin to develop diarrhea, have a lack of appetite, won’t drink, become very weak, and their stomach appears bloated. This is a disease that is carried my parasites. The parasites set up shop in the gut of the rabbit and therefore is spread through their feces.
It is usually fatal and will often times set up in baby kits around the ages of 4-6 weeks. If you are raising your rabbits for meat, you’ll need to pay attention for this disease because you will not want to eat a rabbit that has been impacted by this disease.

8. Flystrike

This is a terrible disease and one that I hope you will be able to keep from your rabbits. Flystrike happens when flies lay their eggs in moist areas of skin on a rabbit. These eggs will hatch into maggots within 24 hours.
They then will live under your rabbit’s skin and release poison that will kill your rabbit. Again, the best method to treat this disease is to prevent it.
You will need to be sure that your rabbit’s hind quarters are kept very clean. If you have a rabbit that is overweight or a female that has a large dewlap, then it may be hard for them to clean themselves properly.
If this is the case, be sure to clean your rabbits daily.
Also, be sure to keep their hutches clean and make sure your rabbit does not sit around in soil bedding. You’ll also want to limit the amount of fresh veggies and grass they get as this causes diarrhea which also attracts flies.
But if you notice maggots attached to your rabbit’s hind quarters, you’ll need to immediately call your vet. They will be able to administer treatment in a way that won’t harm your rabbit.
However, if you aren’t near a vet, then you will need to carefully administer these next steps.
First, you’ll need to grab the tweezer and begin pulling the maggots out of your rabbit’s skin. Then you’ll want to soak your rabbit’s bum in warm water. But be sure to dry their hind quarters thoroughly after the fact.
Next, you’ll need to carefully shave off any dirty or soiled hair around their bum. But you must be careful as rabbit’s skin is very thin and you could really harm your rabbit.
Finally, you’ll need to administer antibiotics to your rabbit to insure that no infection sets up. But again, if you have the ability to get to a vet, I’d recommend letting them do these steps as they are able to sedate your rabbit so nothing is uncomfortable for them while they receive this treatment.

9. Head Tilt

Head tilt is another disease that is very common to hear about in rabbit groups, but I’ve also been very thankful for all of the knowledge I’ve gained on this topic from the groups too.
So head tilt is when your bunny flops his head to one side. It is also referred to as wry neck. Their eyes often go side to side in a rapid movement too.
The reason for head tilt is many, and the treatment will depend upon the reason. I’ll go ahead and tell you, a vet will be the only true way to determine what has caused your rabbit’s head tilt.
These are what can potentially cause rabbit head tilt:
Trauma: A blow to the head can cause brain damage which equates to the rabbit holding his head to one side or the other permanently.
Cancer: If your rabbit has a tumor growing in his head, neck, or spine this could cause the rabbit to develop head tilt.
Stroke: We often see similar physical signs in humans that have had a stroke. A rabbit really isn’t all that different. So if your rabbit suddenly develops heads tilt don’t count out the idea of them having had a stroke.
Middle/Inner Ear Infection: If your rabbit has an ear infection, it could be causing signs of vertigo which equates to him leaning his head over.
There are a few other reasons as well such as: cervical muscle contraction, intoxication, and cerebral larva migrans.
But as mentioned above, there is no way of knowing exactly what has happened to your rabbit without the help of a vet. Then understanding what caused the issue will make the treatment vary greatly.

10. Red Urine

The first time I encountered this with my rabbits, I was so glad I had done my research and participated in rabbit groups because I knew what I was looking at.
So red urine just means that your rabbit is urinating a reddish, pinkish, or maybe even a brownish color. But don’t panic. It usually just means that they’ve been eating too much of something like carrots for instance.
However, if nothing in their diet has changed, or they keep urinating odd colors after the food has cleared their system, then it might be wise to get a urine sample and let a vet check it out.
Obviously, there are a lot more illnesses that occur in rabbits. But I do hope that this overview of some common illnesses with rabbits will help you as you raise your own rabbits whether it be for farming purposes or as a pet.
However, we want to hear your thoughts. Is there another illness that you think new rabbit owners should be aware of? If so, what are the symptoms and the treatments for such an illness?


Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital (OVSH) has been serving the Portland and Beaverton area community since 1979. Drs. Steven F. Skinner (Neurology, Neurosurgery) and Robert T. Franklin (Internal medicine.) We welcome referrals from veterinarians all over the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help your pet regain health and live a long and happy life.

Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital

Address
9339 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy,
Beaverton, OR 97005.
Phone: 503.292.3001
Fax: 503.292.6808
Email: info@ovshosp.com

10 Common Rabbit Diseases, Illnesses, & Ailments (and How to Treat Them)

10 Common Rabbit Diseases, Illnesses, & Ailments (and How to Treat Them)

Article Featured on Morning Chores
In my time of raising rabbits (and communicating with a lot of others who raise rabbits) I’ve noticed there are certain illnesses and ailments that commonly occur in rabbits. It is important to understand these and also recognize them in a timely fashion so they don’t get out of hand.
So I’m bringing you a list of the 10 most common illnesses and ailments among rabbits (in my opinion) and how you can effectively treat them or stop them from occurring.
Here are the most common illnesses and ailments among rabbits:

1. Ear Mites

The first time I came across ear mites I panicked. Ear mites are tiny little bugs that set up shop in your rabbit’s ears. The ear will look really crusty, brown, and itchy.

So if you see your rabbits scratching their ears a lot, check them. After having a bout with ear mites, I now check my rabbit’s ears almost daily to be sure I keep a jump on them.
But if your rabbits get ear mites, don’t feel bad. My rabbits live in really clean conditions and are fed a proper diet and still ended up with them. What I found in my research is that ear mites often live in hay.
Well, if you are feeding your rabbits a proper diet it should include mainly hay. If you notice your rabbits ears are full of gunk, then it is time to get to work. You’ll need a dropper ( I actually use a squirt bottle like this.)
Then fill it with oil of any kind. I usually use vegetable oil because it is inexpensive, and then place a few drops of oil in the infected ear twice a day for 7 days. This smothers the ear mites and relieves the crusty skin from the ear.
However, it is important to mention, do NOT pick the scabs out of your rabbit’s ears. They will clear up naturally. Picking at it will be painful for your rabbit and also open them up to more possibility of infection. Just let the oil do the work.
But you can try to prevent ear mites by keeping hay in a hay feeder and not just allowing your rabbits to lay in it. I also try to put a drop of oil in each of my rabbits’ ears once a week as a preventative measure for ear mites.

2. Snuffles

Photo by Mumbles Minis Rabbitry

You need to realize up front that it is not normal for an animal to ‘get a cold.’ I made this mistake with my chickens and lost a large portion of my flock one year.
So when you see that your rabbits have nasal discharge or are sniffling then you need to pay attention to what is happening. Other symptoms of the snuffles are matted paws, sneezing, and watery eyes.
Basically, this disease is best prevented by keeping your rabbits on a healthy diet and also keeping your rabbitry clean. The snuffles is a bacteria so if you keep their immune system ready to fight while also not giving bacteria a place to grow, then you should stay ahead of this disease.
However, if by some chance your rabbits develop this disease, then it is usually best to try and treat them with antibiotics, though they are not guaranteed to treat this illness.
So the best way to defeat this disease is to never let it set-up with your rabbits.

3. Heat Stroke

Photo by binkybunny.com

Heat stroke is something you have to really pay attention to when it comes to keeping rabbits. The reason is that they are very well insulated.
So on blistery cold nights you might be fearful of them freezing to death. When in reality if you provide a way to block the wind and give them extra hay (as chewing keeps them warm), then your rabbits should be just fine.
However, summer is a different story. Your rabbits need to be kept in the shade with lots of water as heat can quickly get to them. So if your rabbit is lethargic and it is warmer outside, then you’ll need to act quickly.
Be sure to quickly decrease their body temperature by spraying them gently with cool water. Then you will need to take them to a vet so they can be treated with IV fluids.
But your best bet is to try to avoid heat stroke all together. You can do this by giving your rabbits frozen water bottles. They can lay next to these bottles and absorb some of the cool.
Also, you can blow a fan on your rabbits indirectly so cool air can circulate around them. Don’t blow it directly on them as this can cause problems for your rabbit.

4. GI Stasis

Photo by Vet Girl on the Run

GI Stasis is a serious and often fatal disease. Your best bet is to completely prevent the disease by feeding your rabbits a diet high in fiber which basically means giving them lots of hay.
However, you will recognize GI Stasis because your rabbit will become bloated, lethargic, suffer from loss of appetite, not drink fluids, and also quit going to the bathroom.
If your bun starts showing any of these signs it is important to give them lots of fluids and hay. As well as massage their bellies.
But if you see no movement in their systems, it might be time to call your vet as it could potentially require surgery.

5. Sore Hocks

If you’ve ever seen a rabbit with sore hocks, it just looks painful. But the good news is that sore hocks is easily preventable.
So sore hocks is when the rabbit is either living in less than ideal conditions, or they have no where to rest their feet and their feet become callused and sore on the bottoms. Which are two important things to keep in mind if you are raising rabbits in wire hutches.
It is important to provide your rabbits with either nesting boxes to rest their feet in, a board to rest their feet on, or to provide them with mats.
However, if you have a larger breed rabbit this is very common with them where they have so much weight on their hocks. So be sure that they especially have really clean living conditions and lots of room to rest their feet.

6. Bloat

Bloat is a big deal! If your rabbit develops this it will most likely be a fatal blow to them. So the best way to handle bloat is to prevent it from happening.
But first things first, bloat is when your rabbit’s stomach has an imbalance of bacteria in it. This causes their bellies to look like a balloon and begin to swell.
This disease happens when your rabbit eats too much green food, wet grass clippings, moldy food, not enough fiber in their diet, if they are fed irregularly, or if they eat food that is spoiled.
So keep this in mind when feeding your rabbits. We feed our rabbits protein pellets, but they eat mainly a diet of hay. During the warmer months we use fresh vegetables and weeds as a treat, but they do not get them regularly for this very reason. We also feed our rabbits fodder. They love it, but they don’t get an excessive amount of it either.
It is important to pay attention to what you feed your rabbits. Also, you should pay attention to their poop. Make sure that they are still going regularly and that everything looks like it should.

7. Coccidiosis

This is something you hear talked about regularly if you belong to any type of rabbit group online. As soon as someone posts a stomach issue with their rabbit this dreaded disease is one of the first suggestions thrown out there.
But I’m very grateful for all of the information that has been shared in some of the groups I belong to because I learned a lot about Coccidiosis (also referred to as Cocci.) This is why I stopped raising my rabbits in a colony setting. It makes breeding hard to keep up with and cleaning a lot more difficult too.
So out of fear that my rabbits would develop this horrible disease I decided hutches were a safer bet. Much to my surprise, my rabbits actually appear much happier in a hutch. I think they feel more secure.
But as far as cocci goes, you’ll know your rabbits could possibly have it if they begin to develop diarrhea, have a lack of appetite, won’t drink, become very weak, and their stomach appears bloated. This is a disease that is carried my parasites. The parasites set up shop in the gut of the rabbit and therefore is spread through their feces.
It is usually fatal and will often times set up in baby kits around the ages of 4-6 weeks. If you are raising your rabbits for meat, you’ll need to pay attention for this disease because you will not want to eat a rabbit that has been impacted by this disease.

8. Flystrike

This is a terrible disease and one that I hope you will be able to keep from your rabbits. Flystrike happens when flies lay their eggs in moist areas of skin on a rabbit. These eggs will hatch into maggots within 24 hours.
They then will live under your rabbit’s skin and release poison that will kill your rabbit. Again, the best method to treat this disease is to prevent it.
You will need to be sure that your rabbit’s hind quarters are kept very clean. If you have a rabbit that is overweight or a female that has a large dewlap, then it may be hard for them to clean themselves properly.
If this is the case, be sure to clean your rabbits daily.
Also, be sure to keep their hutches clean and make sure your rabbit does not sit around in soil bedding. You’ll also want to limit the amount of fresh veggies and grass they get as this causes diarrhea which also attracts flies.
But if you notice maggots attached to your rabbit’s hind quarters, you’ll need to immediately call your vet. They will be able to administer treatment in a way that won’t harm your rabbit.
However, if you aren’t near a vet, then you will need to carefully administer these next steps.
First, you’ll need to grab the tweezer and begin pulling the maggots out of your rabbit’s skin. Then you’ll want to soak your rabbit’s bum in warm water. But be sure to dry their hind quarters thoroughly after the fact.
Next, you’ll need to carefully shave off any dirty or soiled hair around their bum. But you must be careful as rabbit’s skin is very thin and you could really harm your rabbit.
Finally, you’ll need to administer antibiotics to your rabbit to insure that no infection sets up. But again, if you have the ability to get to a vet, I’d recommend letting them do these steps as they are able to sedate your rabbit so nothing is uncomfortable for them while they receive this treatment.

9. Head Tilt

Head tilt is another disease that is very common to hear about in rabbit groups, but I’ve also been very thankful for all of the knowledge I’ve gained on this topic from the groups too.
So head tilt is when your bunny flops his head to one side. It is also referred to as wry neck. Their eyes often go side to side in a rapid movement too.
The reason for head tilt is many, and the treatment will depend upon the reason. I’ll go ahead and tell you, a vet will be the only true way to determine what has caused your rabbit’s head tilt.
These are what can potentially cause rabbit head tilt:
Trauma: A blow to the head can cause brain damage which equates to the rabbit holding his head to one side or the other permanently.
Cancer: If your rabbit has a tumor growing in his head, neck, or spine this could cause the rabbit to develop head tilt.
Stroke: We often see similar physical signs in humans that have had a stroke. A rabbit really isn’t all that different. So if your rabbit suddenly develops heads tilt don’t count out the idea of them having had a stroke.
Middle/Inner Ear Infection: If your rabbit has an ear infection, it could be causing signs of vertigo which equates to him leaning his head over.
There are a few other reasons as well such as: cervical muscle contraction, intoxication, and cerebral larva migrans.
But as mentioned above, there is no way of knowing exactly what has happened to your rabbit without the help of a vet. Then understanding what caused the issue will make the treatment vary greatly.

10. Red Urine

The first time I encountered this with my rabbits, I was so glad I had done my research and participated in rabbit groups because I knew what I was looking at.
So red urine just means that your rabbit is urinating a reddish, pinkish, or maybe even a brownish color. But don’t panic. It usually just means that they’ve been eating too much of something like carrots for instance.
However, if nothing in their diet has changed, or they keep urinating odd colors after the food has cleared their system, then it might be wise to get a urine sample and let a vet check it out.
Obviously, there are a lot more illnesses that occur in rabbits. But I do hope that this overview of some common illnesses with rabbits will help you as you raise your own rabbits whether it be for farming purposes or as a pet.
However, we want to hear your thoughts. Is there another illness that you think new rabbit owners should be aware of? If so, what are the symptoms and the treatments for such an illness?


Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital (OVSH) has been serving the Portland and Beaverton area community since 1979. Drs. Steven F. Skinner (Neurology, Neurosurgery) and Robert T. Franklin (Internal medicine.) We welcome referrals from veterinarians all over the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help your pet regain health and live a long and happy life.

Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital

Address
9339 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy,
Beaverton, OR 97005.
Phone: 503.292.3001
Fax: 503.292.6808
Email: info@ovshosp.com

Why Buying Your Child a Rabbit for Easter Is a Bad Idea

Rabbits are prey animals. They don’t like being picked up and cuddled. The child wants to carry it around — but for a prey animal, such as a rabbit, it’s terrifying.

Is your household ready and willing to care for a new rabbit beyond the holiday?

Article by  Jillian Blume | Featured on Petful.com
If you’re thinking of buying your child a bunny for Easter, think again.
Rabbits and children are not a match made in heaven — and the evidence is the surge of bunnies dumped in parks or surrendered to shelters. The baby bunnies for sale at pet stores are typically taken from their mothers too young, and they aren’t healthy.
“They die within a week or 2 after being bought,” says Cindy Stutts, founding board member of Rabbit Rescue & Rehab in New York City. “And even if they manage to survive, children often lose interest, and the rabbits are either brought to a shelter or dumped outside.” And, as we all know, domesticated animals are not able to survive in the wild.

The Facts

Collectively, Rabbit Rescue & Rehab and Animal Care & Control take in around 600 rabbits a year, says Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.
That makes rabbits the 3rd largest animal shelter population after cats and dogs. “Rabbits have come into AC&C with broken backs or legs because people don’t know how to handle them,” says Hoffman. “There’s a whole host of issues.”
Why Buying Your Child a Rabbit for Easter Is a Bad Idea

Bunnies Are Not Stuffed Animals

“Rabbits are prey animals. They don’t like being picked up and cuddled. And that’s the one thing a child wants to do,” says Stutts. “Children think a live bunny is like an animated stuffed toy. The child wants to carry it around — but for a prey animal, such as a rabbit, it’s terrifying.”
What happens next isn’t pretty: Your sweet bunny starts biting, kicking and scratching.
For example, a rabbit brought back to the pet store and currently in the shelter growls and boxes, says Stutts. “She doesn’t want anyone putting a hand into her cage. So she’s going to a foster home that will be able to understand her and help her learn to trust again.”

Medical Complications

As prey animals, rabbits are built for speed, so they have lightweight skeletons. That means their bones break easily. “A frightened rabbit that kicks out can break its own back. The lucky ones get dumped at the shelter,” says Stutts.
Some lucky rabbits have undergone physical rehabilitation, as was the case of Rabbit Rescue & Rehab bunny Ariel, a rabbit found abandoned in a Queens garden. “Her back was broken,” says Stutts. “But she had a will to live.”
The Animal Medical Center donated funds from its AMC TO THE RESCUE fund for her rehabilitation. “She finally got adopted to a fabulous home, and she’s a bunny in a wheelchair now,” says Stutts.
There are other issues to consider as a parent if you’re still thinking of getting your child a rabbit — such as the emotional consequences for children if they either accidentally kill or severely injure their bunny.
This sobering video gives several reasons to not buy a bunny for Easter:

Breeding Like Bunnies

Rabbits bought from pet shops or online typically haven’t been spayed or neutered.
“It’s very difficult to identify the gender of a young rabbit,” says Hoffman. “You may think you’re getting a pair of brothers or sisters, but you may be buying mom and pop who will then give birth to a litter.”
This is not to say that bunnies aren’t great pets — as long as you know how to care for them. “In the right circumstances, they’re wonderful if you’re in an apartment,” says Stutts.
And adopting from a shelter means not only that you’re saving a life, but also you’re also getting a rabbit who’s been spayed or neutered. It’s not easy to find a veterinarian trained in neutering and spaying rabbits. “It’s a much more delicate operation,” says Hoffman.
The bottom line? If you’re ready to take care of a bunny, adopt from a shelter. But if you really want to get a bunny for your child, give a stuffed rabbit instead. Or even a chocolate rabbit.


Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital (OVSH) has been serving the Portland and Beaverton area community since 1979. Drs. Steven F. Skinner (Neurology, Neurosurgery) and Robert T. Franklin (Internal medicine.) We welcome referrals from veterinarians all over the Pacific Northwest. Our goal is to help your pet regain health and live a long and happy life.

Oregon Veterinary Specialty Hospital

Address
9339 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy,
Beaverton, OR 97005.
Phone: 503.292.3001
Fax: 503.292.6808
Email: info@ovshosp.com

GI Stasis in Rabbits

GI Stasis in Rabbits: A Deadly Condition

When considering rabbit health, it is important to note that rabbits tend to hide signs of ailing health because they are prey animals. In the wild, sick animals are pinpointed by predators first. This self-preserving instinct to hide illness lives on in domesticated rabbits, so it is critical to continually monitor your rabbit for any changes in behavior.
One very serious, fairly common health issue pet rabbits face is gastrointestinal stasis. GI (or gut) stasis is a potentially deadly condition in which the digestive system slows down or stops completely.
Bad bacteria then builds up in the intestines and releases gas into the system, causing very painful bloating and further decreasing a rabbit’s motivation to eat or drink. This compounds the problem because the rabbit will become more dehydrated and starved of essential nutrients and roughage.
Read more

Preventive Health Exams Are Key to Your Pet’s Good Health

Protect your pet’s health and quality of life by taking it to your veterinarian for a health exam at least once per year. Twice a year is recommended, especially for senior pets.
A health exam will help determine the general well-being of your pet and can identify potential problems. Early detection of diseases can improve your pet’s chances of successful treatment, and save you money over the long run, too.

Pets Age Faster Than Humans

Pets age at a faster rate than humans; they may experience age-related health changes before you realize it. Taking your pet to the veterinarian once a year is equivalent to you seeing a doctor or dentist about only once every seven years!
Keep your pets healthy with yearly preventive health exams. A happy, healthy pet starts with a plan:

  1. An annual health exam (twice a year recommended, especially for senior pets)
  2. Disease prevention, including parasite prevention and vaccinations
  3. Pet health insurance
Thinkstock

What to Expect at Your Pet’s Preventive Health Exam

History

Be prepared to discuss your pet’s health history. This is the time to mention any unusual behavior, changes in appetite, or other changes you may have observed. Your veterinarian will check the pet’s temperature, pulse, respiration rate, and weight.

Nose, Ears, & Eyes

Your veterinarian will check your pet’s nose for abnormal discharges, as well as changes in color, texture, moisture, or shape. Pets who shake their heads or scratch their ears may have an ear infection. Your veterinarian will perform a visual check of your pet’s ear canals for signs of inflammation. Your pet’s eyes will be examined for inflammation, cataracts, and overall condition.

Teeth & Mouth

Your veterinarian will check your pet’s gums, teeth, tongue, and palate for abnormalities. Dental tartar can lead to infection, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. A teeth cleaning and polishing may be recommended.

Heart & Lungs

Your veterinarian will listen to your pet’s heart and lungs. Early heart disease and respiratory problems can be detected during this examination.

Reproductive System

Your pet’s reproductive system will be examined. If your pet is not already spayed or neutered, your veterinarian may discuss its many health benefits beyond birth control.

Skin & Coat

The skin and coat are indicators of your pet’s health. Your veterinarian will check the condition of the skin and hair, and will also check for fleasticks, tumors, and wounds.

Overall Body

Your veterinarian will feel the pet’s abdomen to assess the condition of internal organs and will check the condition of the legs, feet, joints, muscles, and lymph nodes. Blood work and urinalysis may be warranted, especially for senior pets. Tests and/or treatment for heartworm or intestinal worms may be recommended or performed.
This head-to-toe examination will help keep your pet happy and healthy!
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Partial or Complete Loss of Muscle Control in Rabbits

Paresis is defined as weakness of voluntary movement, or partial paralysis, while paralysis is the complete lack of voluntary movement.

Symptoms and Types

Four of the main types of motor dysfunction include:

  • Quadriparesis or tetraparesis – weakness of voluntary movements in all limbs
  • Quadriplegia or tetraplegia – absence of all voluntary limb movement
  • Paraparesis – weakness of voluntary movements in hind limbs
  • Paraplegia – absence of all voluntary movement in the hind limbs

Their symptoms may present suddenly or gradually. However, sudden onset ofparesis/paralysis is common following an injury to the spine. In fact, many rabbits sustain a fracture or a dislocation of the spine just by suddenly jumping within their cages due to a startling event such as a loud thunderstorm, fireworks, or loud noise from unfamiliar people or pets in the home. Other symptoms associated with these conditions include:

  • Abnormal walking pattern (unable to hop or get up; dragging of affected limbs)
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Loss of hair, flaking over the head, shoulders, and tail due to inability to properly groom
  • Severe obesity due to lack of exercise

Causes

In rabbits, weakness may be due to the effects of organ or metabolic disease, obesity, or to direct damage to the nerves. If the nerves are injured — either within the brain or spinal column — they will not communicate properly with each other and the rest of the body. This can lead to to increased stiffness in the muscles, and hypersensitive reflexes. If the peripheral (outer) nerves are damaged, meanwhile, absence of muscle reflexes and decreased muscle tone is seen.

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will first need to confirm that the problem is weakness or paralysis by localizing the problem to either the lower or upper motor neuron system. Several tests will be conducted to determine the underlying cause of the motor dysfunction. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel.
Both voluntary and involuntary motor responses will be analyzed, with urinary and bladder function checked. X-ray imaging is an important diagnostic procedure for the discovery of this disorder’s origins. Spinal X-rays will be taken to assess fracture or dislocation of a calcified disc, narrowed disc spaces, bony tumor, or vertebralmalformation, and skull X-rays may show a dental disease, which, if chronic, can lead to weakness and chronic debility. Whole body X-rays may identify an underlying heart disease, tumors, kidney stones, or orthopedic disorders. In addition, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to evaluate potential brain disease. An abdominal ultrasonography will be done if an underlying metabolic disease (e.g., renal, hepatic) is suspected.
Since partial or complete loss of muscle control is most often linked to a trauma or diseased condition of the spine or nervous system, the most effective method by which to determine the location of a spinal cord injury, tumor, or infection is to take a sample of spinal cord fluid (cerebrospinal fluid [CSF]) for analysis. Your doctor will also need to get a clear view of the spinal cord. Using a technique called a myelography, which uses an injection of a radiopaque agent into the spinal space in order to improve visibility on X-ray, he or she will be able to view any apparent abnormalities in the spine. The veterinarian may also need to take a nerve sample, or a sample from the muscle tissue, for biopsy.

Treatment

Your rabbit will be cared for as an inpatient if it presents with severe weakness or paralysis, or until bladder function can be ascertained (an indicator of the severity of the condition). If possible, the veterinarian will treat the underlying cause of the paresis or paralysis. For example, pain relieving medication as well as anesthetics andgastric protective agents may be provided. If paralysis is present, the bladder may be emptied by manual compression. Inability to urinate voluntarily can make the rabbit more susceptible to infection, so it will be important to monitor for signs of urinary infection and the spread of infection into the bladder.
For fractures and damaged nerves, your doctor may be able to surgically repair them. It must be kept in mind that some injuries are too traumatic for repair. The final outcome will be dependent on the diagnosis.

Living and Management

If your rabbit is having problems with urinary continence, you will need to make extra efforts to keep the bedding clean so that the rabbit is not in soiled bedding. Additionally, keep the fur clean and dry; check and clean your rabbit’s genital and hind leg area frequently to prevent urine scalding.
You will need to restrict your rabbit’s activity until spinal trauma and disk prolapse can be ruled out. If your rabbit has been placed on cage rest, you will need to make sure to move your rabbit at regular intervals in order to prevents lung congestion and pressure sore (bed sore) formation by turning it from one side to the other four to eight times daily. This is very important, as the rabbit will not be able to do this on its own. If your rabbit is unable to urinate on its own, you will need to perform manual expression of its bladder regularly enough tot prevent the possibility of bladder infection. Your veterinarian will go over the procedure with you so that you can perform this task at home.
If your rabbit is only affected in the hind legs, a cart — the type that is made for small breed dogs — may sometimes be fitted for larger rabbits, and may be tolerated for limited periods. Encourage oral fluid intake by offering fresh water, wetting leafy vegetables, or flavoring water with vegetable juice, and offer a large selection of fresh, moistened greens such as cilantro, romaine lettuce, parsley, carrot tops, dandelion greens, spinach, collard greens, etc., and good-quality grass hay. You should also continue to offer your rabbit it’s usual pellet diet, as the initial goal is to get the rabbit to eat a full diet. If your rabbit cannot, or will not eat, you will need to syringe feed a gruel mixture. High-carbohydrate, high-fat nutritional supplements are contraindicated and should not be given with the approval of your doctor. Do not give your rabbit any foods or medicines that have not been preapproved by your veterinarian.
Original Article https://www.petmd.com/rabbit/conditions/neurological/c_rb_paresis_paralysis