Question 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.
Answer 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'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: THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.
If your rabbits is LETHARGIC
If your rabbit is NOT EATING
If your rabbit is PHYSICALLY INJURED (including broken bones)
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.
Organizations Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president
National House Rabbit Society (Board member)
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Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide
Education/Credentials Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English
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