Rabbits/hip dysplasia


I found my 2 year old doe unable to walk on one rear leg and her hip was jutting out strangely.  She was still able to bear weight on the other hind leg. By morning she was unable to walk at all and both hips were strangely deformed. I took her to the vet as soon as they opened and they did two x rays. She was diagnosed with hip dysplasia.  He tried to put them back in place twice but they popped right back out and the vet said she was in pain and there was nothing else he could do.  Is this common?  Are there any other treatments that could have saved her?  Would it have made a difference if she was braced as a baby when we first noticed her splay legs? She never had a problem until now.

Dear Gail,

It's pretty unusual for this to happen suddenly to a 2 year old rabbit.  Is it possible she suffered a traumatic injury, such as being dropped or falling off something tall?  

I'm not sure I'd write this off just yet.  Please find a rabbit-savvy vet here:


for a second opinion.

It might be possible for you to brace her legs if she really does have hip dysplasia.  Please see:


Though some rabbits don't tolerate leg braces as well as others.  We have a splayleg bunny who scoots around almost as fast as a normal bunny, so this condition is not necessarily a death sentence.  It all depends on the individual bunny and her level of disability.

I hope this helps.



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.

RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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