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Rabbits/Post Trauma Recovery


Our bunny recently suffered an accident. The situation itself is hard to describe but the injury type is similar to the rabbit essentially being closed in a door. After the initial trauma the Bunny was taken to the emergency room where it recovered from it's shocky condition with the help of a pain medication injection and quiet time in an o2 cage set at 40% for a couple of hours. X-rays were taken and nothing is broken. The rabbit is eating well, drinking well and is moving fecal pellets and urine out adequately. It is however having great difficulty using the right front paw/shoulder and has a head tilt to the right. It spends a lot of time now lying down and sleeps a lot as well. It can sit up on it's hind legs and does make efforts to groom itself, but it seems to tire very easily. We have a follow up appointment with a bunny vet tomorrow, but I'm not sure what else if anything can be done. Are there treatments I can ask about? Are steroids and/or anti-inflammatories a safe treatment option? It has been 4 days since the accident. Am I expecting too much progress too soon?  Any thoughts on the matter would be most appreciated. We hope the rabbit will recover and have a good quality of life, but we're just not sure what is best right now.
Thank you for your time and any insight you can give us.

Dear Nikki

I'm sorry about this awful situation.  But you have done exactly what should have been done by getting him to the vet for treatment of shock.  If corticosteroids were going to do any good, they would have had to have been administered within a few hours of the injury.  So I would not recommend them now, especially since they really are contraindicated in rabbits except in the most critical, try it or lose the bunny situations.

For now, you need to just love him, handle him gently, and help him recover.  The head tilt might be permanent, or maybe not.  Ask the vet about NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) pain management, which can reduce inflammation and possibly help the head tilt.

It's also possible that acupuncture and massage by an experienced veterinary acupuncturist could help in the long term.  

I hope he will gradually recover and be fine.

Good luck,



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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:

Find a rabbit vet at 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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