Bunny's rear legs are possibly injured, I have questions - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Bunny's rear legs are possibly injured, I have questions

I've already scheduled a vet appointment for tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, I work 2 jobs so I couldn't take him today.

I noticed last night that one of my bunnies, James, was hopping strangely. His spine looks off, and his back legs are definitely not aligned, so his back end sweeps sideways when he hops. He's not dragging his legs, but he's not moving as much as usual and he was very clumsy, almost knocking over the hay box last night.

As far as I know, nothing of note has happened to him outside the cage. I've been so busy the last few weeks that I haven't even been home enough to let the buns out for exercise, so they've unfortunately been cooped up in their cage for quite a while. I know it's terrible of me, but I've been working long hours at 2 part time jobs. The workload will be lightening and settling soon, though, as I'll be back to one job next week.

Has this happened to anyone else's bunnies? I'd just like to get an idea of what could be wrong, and what kind of treatment James might need. I've never been to this vet before, but my old vet is 2 hours away in another city, because I moved about a year ago. Is it possible that he somehow injured himself in the cage? Both buns have been in the same cage for over a year now.


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 01:15 PM
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I'm just taking a guess here, but it could be lack of exercise. Bunnies need to hop and move their legs, or they can become cramped. Again, that's just a guess and it's good that you're taking him to the vet. How big is the cage that holds your two buns?

Do you live with someone who can take them out for you? Or maybe a close friend or relative can come by and take them out when you're not at home. Or perhaps you can ready a bunny-proof room for them to stay in during the time you're at work so they have more room to hop. Hopefully whatever your bunny has is temporary and he makes a full and quick recovery.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 01:38 PM
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My thoughts are that he either broke it, stepped on something really painful, or its something nuerological.
Do you have any shelves in his cage? He could have jumped for the shelf, missed, and landed on it funny. Thats how one of our rabbits broke a front paw.
And I agree with Hikaris isdea of a bunny-proofed room. My bedroom is completely bunny-proofed, so I let my Smudge run around in there all day, weather Im around or not.
I hope everything goes OK with James!



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"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethen, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 02:25 PM
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I suspect he has a back injury. Try to keep him from moving as much a possible until he can see the vet. If it is his back, he will need to take it easy until it heals. Rabbits can injure their backs if they kick out their back legs and hyperextend them. A rabbit might do that in a cage if something frightened him.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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I think it might be his back. His spine feels strange. I'll let you know more after the vet checkup tomorrow. The appointment had to be changed to evening because I had to switch clinics. =/ The receptionist who made my appointment last night didn't know the vet for Friday only takes dogs and cats.

I can't do a bunny-proofed room, as much as I'd want to. The bunnies live outside because my mom wouldn't let me keep them inside when I moved back in with my parents. They have an outdoor run and weatherproofed hutch under the balcony so that they're always in the shade.

James gets spooked really easily, and we've had a recurring problem with a raccoon in the backyard the last few summers. There weren't any problems last year, but I wonder if it was around and happened to scare him. There is a shelf in the cage, and the log house is usually kind of under it. (They push it around a lot) My thoughts would be that if that's what happened, he could have freaked and missed the shelf, and fell badly on the log house.

Oh, and the cage is 2x4 feet on the bottom, 3 feet tall. That's double the size of the cage they had when they were indoors, though I still think it's a bit small. But building materials are expensive, so I had to keep it reasonable. If it were up to me, it would have been twice the size it is now =P But my dad did most of the building, so it was more up to him and how much patience he had for "helping" me.


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Last edited by MattMouse; 08-06-2009 at 06:32 PM. Reason: additional info
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 12:04 PM
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What did the vet say?


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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The vet said he has a parasite infection. Forgot the actual name of it. It's affecting his nerves on his spine, so he's lost feeling in his left back foot, and his right back foot is responding slower than normal.

I've separated the buns (sadface), to make sure the other one doesn't get the same infection. The vet said since Matt is bigger than James and seems to have more Dutch genes, he could have had an easier time fighting off the infection. James has a lot more dwarf genes, and she said she's seen a disproportionately larger amount of dwarf rabbits getting this kind of infection. I've got 2 different kinds of antibiotics to give him, and the vet suggested feeding him a teaspoon of flax seeds a day because the omega 3 will help keep down inflammation, help him gain some weight back, and could definitely help to start repairing the nerves.

He still seems a little worse today, though. He's eating much less today than he was yesterday. Any suggestions on how to convince him to eat the flax? He wouldn't eat from my hand, and when I put the seeds in his food bowl, he just angrily tipped the whole thing over. Plus, I gave him only half of the amount of pellets he usually eats when I fed him yesterday, and there's still about half of that left today. He's only 1066 grams.


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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 01:36 PM
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Can you mix oats and flax together? I'm hoping the antibiotics work quickly.

Just curious - how did he diagnose parasites?


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 02:39 PM
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I'm also curious to know how your vet diagnosed parasites.

By the way, if your bunny is eating less than what can sustain him, you'll need to get some Critical Care and syringe feed him.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 05:09 PM
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Try mixing the flax seeds in some applesause or canned pumpkin (unsweetened). He wont to able to pick them out of it, and those foods are pretty hard for a bunner to resist!
Do you know how he got the parasite? You should probably try to figure it out, so you can prevent Matt from getting the same thing.



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"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethen, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 06:22 PM
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It sounds like your vet has diagnosed him with e. cuniculi, I was actually getting ready to post and suggest testing for it:

http://www.rabbit.org/journal/3-2/e-cuniculi.html

It does cause pretty severe neurological impairment.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-08-2009, 07:06 PM
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If you can't get him to take the flax seed, it might be easier to buy him flaxseed oil, and give it to him with an oral syringe. You can ask your vet what dose to give him.
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