Last Post by BB at 6/08/2012 8:51 PM (10 Replies)
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User is Offline lygray
El Paso, Tx
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6/01/2012 10:28 PM

Hello all,

long time no post. One of my rabbits, Honey, was bonding with my other, Cinnabon, at a rabbit rescue while i was on a trip. The rescue owners did not pick them up the whole time they claim. When i picked her up, she was slightly dragging her hind legs so I took her to the vet immediately. X-ray shows a broken rib. She has now been contained in a small cage for a couple days but her back legs seems to be getting worse. She is also no longer noticing when she uses the bathroom or uses a litterbox. She is eating, drinking, and wanting attention like usual. 

I dont know what is going on. My oldest rabbit apparently had a very minor head tilt but she passed away before anything progressed. I am really scared she has a major issue in her spine. Does anyone have any advice with what to tell the vet and how to handle this? How does one heal a broken rib? How does one deal with neurological issues and the hind area? What could this be?


User is Offline Sarita
18885 posts Send Private Message
6/02/2012 3:32 AM
I wonder if the neurological issues and hind leg weakness are related to encephalitis cuniculi...ask your vet about that possibility.

I really don't know about how long it will take the rib to heal...ask the vet about that as well.

Healing vibes to your bunny - I hope you get some answers soon.

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
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6/02/2012 8:57 AM
The vet is definitely the one to tell you what to do to heal her, and whether the injury is the cause. I'm a bit confused about whether it was an accident during the bonding or just something that came on her? Breaking a rib can be caused by a fight between them I suppose, but was it caused by a fall or something they didn't tell you? Not clear about the rescue's responsibility in all of this. Your vet isn't affiliated with them, right?

Do you now have the two bunnies, bonded or not, at home? How is Cinnabon? (That wasn't the older one who passed that you mentioned, was it?) Forgive my confusion, but I don't like the sound of all of it. Definitely talk with the vet for answers to all your questions. Get a second opinion if you're concerned.

Leg impairment and incontinence is common in geriatric bunnies, but this doesn't sound like that.
SPIKE, my snuggle bunny (aka Spikey Marbles)

User is Offline Kokaneeandkahlua
Edmonton, Alberta; Canada
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6/02/2012 9:56 AM
Hmmm when is your follow up vet visit? I agree, the rib likely wouldn't cause the hind end weakness, unless there was spine involvement. It could also be neurological in cause. The vet is the best one to look into this and trouble shoot the cause of course.

However, my thinking given the info above is this; there was some sort of physical trauma that caused the broken rib. Her back isn't broken or they would have seen that on xray, however the nerves that run through the spine very well could be inflamed and doing weird things as a result of the trauma (not the rib, but whatever trauma caused the rib). I'm thinking that may be the case since your seeing a change in the symptom (I think with a broken spine you would not see a change in condition) -so that would be my best guess as to whats going on.

(((Vibes))) Let us know what the vet says and keep us posted!!

User is Offline lygray
El Paso, Tx
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6/02/2012 10:06 AM
Just got back from the vet. It definitely seems neurological since she is getting worse but acts as though she does not even notice. He is testing for any infections in her blood and E. cunicoli* so I will have to wait for these results.

Cinnabon was bonded with an older rabbit that passed away, Lola (she is in the Rainbow Bridge forum). She had a minor head tilt. He and Honey had a hard time bonding but they were finally where they could be left alone together when we left them at the rescue. We did not notice anything weird until we picked them up from the rescue. I am thinking they may have gotten into a fight or something while the rescue owners were not there (overnight).

She is now on three medicines, an antibiotic, a steroidal anti-imflammatory, and a treatment for E. cunicoli just in case. She is confined to cage rest for two weeks at least. I am just a little concerned and really have no idea how to make her feel better. I was told not to hold her because of the rib but from my past experience, my bunnies get really depressed without attention like that.

Since we dont know what went wrong, I was hoping someone had experienced something like this?!

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Bay Area
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6/02/2012 9:16 PM

I could see how a broken rib could have happened during a fight, as bunnies can fight by holding on to the other bunny with their teeth while they use their powerful back legs to kick their opponent. I would think fur would have been everywhere and the shelter would have then noticed that and did a check.  Of course, if it was just a quick rough and tumble, the fur could have been minimal and just floated around and not noticed during clean up. 

It's possible your other bunny had it and passed it on at some point. Jack remained negative for e.cuniculi even though his bonded mate was positive (never any symptoms though), so you just never know.   1 and 4 rabbits is to have e.cuniculi - however, most won't be symptomatic.  Sometimes symptoms will show up only when the immune system is compromised.  Stress can do that.  But as far as "stress" goes, there is no blame for that. Bunnies, by nature, can be easily stressed and so it's just part of being a prey animal.  

I guess there is really no way to know what's going on at this point but it's good that your vet is treating for for e.cuniculi just in case. 

For now, I'd just hang out and pet your bunny.  Since you can pick her up, just pet her -- bring over a book, laptop, phone whatever, and just give her as much attention as you think she craves and needs. 

IF it is hind leg weakness due to e.cuniculi, there can be ways to help with balance and strengthening the best you can (as the real issue is the how the brain and legs are communicating).  I had a bunny who had hind leg weakness as well and did improve. 

For now though, concentrate on just following the vets instructions and keep her confined to help her rib heal.  Give her toys and things that may help her pass the time if she is an energetic bunny normally. 

Keep us updated. 

Sending healing vibes!

User is Offline lygray
El Paso, Tx
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6/03/2012 7:20 PM
Quick update. Her medicines dont seem to be improving her hind leg situation. She seems weaker by the day. She is eating well though and Cinnabon keeps thumping and looking into her cage. I have been putting him into her cage to spend some time with her and he just kinda hops around and licks her while she barely moves. I have now had to resort to handing her her food since she will barely move more than drag herself a little.

For such a fun loving, binky jumping bunny, this is really breaking my heart. Tomorrow, I should get a call from the vet regarding results to one of the tests.

User is Offline LittlePuffyTail
New Brunswick, Canada
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6/05/2012 1:48 AM
Did you hear from the vet?

I'm sorry your have to deal with this, it must be very difficult. Be strong for your bunny!
Proud to be a Bunny Hugger and a voice for the voiceless

User is Offline lygray
El Paso, Tx
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6/05/2012 6:17 AM
I am going to call the vet today. I still have not heard from him.

Last night we noticed she is quite frustrated when I hold her to give her her medicines. She won't let me give it to her otherwise. I also noticed a few other things such as... she can no longer reach her cecals and eat them. I gave the ones i found to her and she ate them. We gave her a butt bath and her 'area' seems to be protruding and looks infected on one side. Is this normal when bunnies become incontinent?! I will update with the doctors information.

User is Offline bunnyfriend
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6/05/2012 11:42 AM
I can't offer any advice, but lots of vibes for your bunny. I hope she will be okay.
RIP Tigger          RIP Wilbur           RIP Totoro

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Bay Area
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6/08/2012 8:51 PM
Infection, sore swollen area for sure can happen with incontinence. Loss of fur as well. Let your vet know, of course, what's happening as well. There may be some soothing cream can put on it (talk to your vet).

I am just so sorry. I know this is just completely heart breaking. I wish I could make it all better. Hugs to you! Please keep us updated.