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Question
I have a lionhead rabbit about 3 or 4 months old now, when I got him I noticed it was kinda hard and matted around his private area but I thought maybe it was just a male, not knowing rabbits too well. He looked good acted full of life then one day he was just laying in his cage (about 2 weeks after I got him),I then notices how hard of a matted ball was around his privates and bathed him and got it all cleaned, it was pretty swollen and raw. I took him to the vet and after knowing it wasn't a back injury she treated him for a parasite that gets into the brain, a cortizone shot and antibiotics since he had a high fever, I took him home and while cleaning him noticed what looked like a small worm coming out of his privates and called the vet and she said sounds like maggots, well I looked some stuff up on the internet and searched his body and he had about 70 crawling maggot like looking things on him I pulled off, some were into his skin. Then he got some scabs and I took him back to the vet and she said oh no, he has grubs in his skin, she pulled out about 25 grubs out of his skin and I took him home and searched him everyday and got about 6 more out. He started to look better and after a couple of weeks was trying to walk again. Looked like he was on his way to recovery finally. It has been almost 2 months now, he was up and taking steps, he made it across the whole bedroom on his own last week, now he seems like his one back leg isn't working right and he falls right over and won't walk again. MY vet isn't a rabbit vet, I live in a very rural area with not many vets around here. The vet called him a miracle bunny since she actually gave me no hope of him making it thru the first night but he did, he eats good, pees and poops, looks alive and healthy from the waist up but his hind legs are not working right. I have noticed that the fur around his privates is hard and seems matted but I tried cutting it and thought maybe it is old scab skin or something, some of it is better and now it looks as if the skin is coming off on his inside legs where the infestation was the worst. I bath and dry him every day. Mostly he is healed now but isn't walking, very weak on the one side. I was wondering...I saw a kinda rabbit walker and thought that may strengthen his legs some. I really don't know what else to do for him. Do you have any ideas? I would appreciate it, he is so sweet and tries so hard. He was in an outside cage when I bought him but he is an inside bunny here, and not left in his cage all day, I take him out and let him play on the floor most of the day and put him in his cage in my bedroom only at night most of the time. I try to hold his one side up so he can walk a little to strengthen it but I don't want to do damage either if it is sore and weak. I really do not know what to do anymore to get him to walk again.

Answer
Dear Valerie,

Your bunny may have suffered the urine scald and maggot infestation (myiasis) because of the hind limb paresis afflicting him.  Here are some articles that will help you understand the possible causes and treatments of his condition:

Causes:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=490&S=5

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/paresis.html

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


Treatments:

http://rabbit.org/rehabilitation-and-movement-therapy-for-your-rabbit/

http://www.rabbitnetwork.org/articles/treatment.shtml

I would continue treatment for E. cuniculi with ponazuril and Panacur (fenbendazole), if possible, so ask that kind vet who saved your bunny's life.

If movement does not completely return, it's not the end of his life. Please also see:

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

http://www.catsandrabbitsandmore.com/disabled_rabbits

I am sure some of this will help you give your baby the best possible care.  I'm glad he's inside now, safe from flies and maggots!

Sending healing thoughts.

Dana  

Rabbits

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

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.

...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.

Experience

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)

Publications
Exotic DVM
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

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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