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Rabbits/Bladder infection, now seizure/stroke/episode of weakness legs??


10 days ago my 1 year old neutered male was peeing drops everywhere, he’s litter trained and a house rabbit. He had been peeing small pool one at the time, for a week or so, but thought it was territorial markings as I have a newly bonded pair. Well, the vet diagnosed it as a mild urinal track/bladder infection – and he had a bit much calcium in the urine sample. They took an x-ray and no abnormalities where found, no sludge or stone.   
He’s been treated with Baytril for 10 days now and had no symptoms anymore. (I’m aware of correct diet and low calcium etc.)
Yesterday he did some kind of weird blinking, shaking his ears (the same way as if they play) while he was sleeping. I noticed it, but he reacted to a treat so wasn’t of any significance (still not sure is is).  And sometimes they do look weird and twitch while sleeping.
BUT this morning he was acting strange. Normally he’d jump around my legs while I prepare their breakfast, but he just went into the living room. He was just laying down (same position as usual, on stomach, hin legs back), but didn’t react to any of my calls, treats or my other bun. He looked floppy, tired, NOT normal? I forced him to move and he tried to use his front legs to drag himself. Well he got kind of up, but peed on the carpet. And then he jumped normally into the kitchen (their home), but was completely indifferent to the served breakfast.
I rushed to the vet. Normal heartbeat, temperature, eyes. He jumped around normally on the floor. They gave him some saltwater, B-vitamin and adrenocortical hormone (according to my dictionary).
Home again: He eats (some), use the toilet, he’s a bit tired, seems almost normal again. I’ve given him Zoolac (probiotic). And I watch him ALL the time, not that I would know what to do.
My vet (should be one of the best) says that rabbits can have neurological symptoms just once for no reason. I’m not sure I buy that? I asked about E. cuniculi, but they don’t usually treat that unless there are clear symptoms. They said that I could give them a sample of his droppings and they would send it for testing. ( I might just do that, but it could take time).
Could it just be a bad reaction to the antibiotics? (10 days in). Was it some kind of stroke? I think it would be some coincident if the two symptoms aren’t linked? Any suggested diagnoses?- I can read about? What should I be prepared for? And can I do anything else?
Hope you have some comments and insights
(and sorry about my English!)

- Anna (from Denmark)

ANSWER: Dear Anna

I am very sorry for the delay in answering.  I had a family emergency that is ongoing, and am only now able to get online with AllExperts.

This vet might be a very good vet, but is he experienced with *rabbits*?  The signs you describe really could be attributable to E. cuniculi, and I'm not sure why he will not consider treating for this. The combination of renal and neurological signs is a real red flag.

We have had good success treating with a combination of ponazuril and Panacur (fenbendazole), both drugs given (by our vets) at 20mg/kg once per day.  I hope your vet will be at least willing to try.

Has anyone looked at bunny's teeth or taken his temperature?  Dental disease can cause inflammation around the head and inner ear that might be associated with signs like this, and he might also have a urinary tract infection that is not responsive to Baytril.  There are just a lot of possibilities here.  

Please read:

to learn how to take his temperature, if this has not been done.  And I would try to seek a second opinion from a rabbit-savvy vet.  More minds set to a difficult problem are more likely to find a solution.

I hope this helps.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Thanks for answering my previous very confusing and messy question. I appreciate it. I would like your thoughts on this and opinion on what to do next.
To answer your questions, my vet is known to be the best and they do specialize in rabbits. My rabbit’s temperature was taken and was normal. His teeth and ears have been looked at and are normal, only a bit of earwax.

He hasn’t had any neurological symptoms since then, however he does continue to be incontinent. He did stop dribbling for a while after his “paresis episode”, but then 10 days later he started again. He was treated with Tribissen (sulfadiazine/trimethoprim) 400/80mg a 1/8 tablet twice a day for 14 days. And both my rabbits were treated with Panacur as recommended, bit not tested as my vet said no test would be conclusive anyway. (It is two month since these treatments).Again he did have a maybe 10-14 days where he did not dribble, but he could have done it unnoticed. Then it started again, but only some days – it is very inconsistent.

Recently a new urine sample was sent for testing (analysis, anaerobe and aerobe culture) and everything was fine, only some calcium but then again it could be normal. My vet has now suggested that I could try giving him “Cystophan” for cats, it is not an acidifier. Not that they have any experience with that or a “case” like this. I have read that rabbit also are known to have “lazy cat syndrome” (FLUTD), however I can’t find anything about Cystophan for rabbits. Have you heard of any treatments? I think it is worth mentioning that he is a healthy, active, happy rabbit – but might be genetic?

I do wonder if it could have been E. Cuniculi, as I know the symptoms might not disappear because “the damage is done”. Can I be sure that Panacur has “killed it”? And does the pattern of incontinence fit?

It has been a very inconsistent pattern. Some days nothing, some days a few drops, some days a lot. It can be really bad one day and then next day nothing. However it does often seem to be in periods of days where it is “good or bad”. Like a week with nothing, then 3 days with 10 drops, 3 small pools and then back to nothing a couple of days. (I’ve written it all down). Overall he is happy and active, but some days I can sense something is up. It is hard to describe, maybe a bit frustrated or less relaxed or impatient.

The last three days it has been a bit worse (again?), not only drops but 3 big pools (size like an apple). He was really wet this morning, that has not happened more than 3 times after Baytril (before and in the beginning of Baytril, it was daily).
He has no urine scald, he cleans himself, eats his poop, uses his hind legs normally and eats normal. He might be drinking more water, but they do eat lots of dried herbs so that could explain it.

I don’t understand what it is or what to do? If I try Cystophan and it doesn’t help, it could still be damage from E. Cuniculi? And I still wonder if it could be UTI from "fastidious anaerobes" – like you describe here: . Could those kinds be an explanation? Is there an antibiotic which could eliminate the bacteria that might be present and didn’t show up on the tests?

I really appreciate your time and opinion.
(Please say if you want more detailed/private information)
Thank you, from a concerned bunny mom
Anna (Denmark)

Dear Anna,

Yes, I agree it could be E. cuniculi, though this is very difficult to diagnose.  It might not hurt to treat him with Ponazuril along with the Panacur for 30 days and see if there is improvement.  We have had good success with that for bunnies with head tilt suspected to be due to E. cuniculi.

I'm guessing since radiographs were done that the vet checked for a spinal injury.  That, too, could produce signs like this.  Since it's fairly unusual for such a young bunny to show signs of E. cuniculi (not impossible, though), this should be considered.

And yes...if nothing else works, then ask the vet about treating for a possible anaerobic bacterial infection of the urinary tract.  It's difficult to diagnose this, but a broad-spectrum antibiotic effective against anaerobes (metronidazole?  chloramphenicol?) might do the trick.

The bottom line:  He has signs of illness.  If nothing shows up in the bloodwork or radiographs, then try treatments meant to treat ailments consistent with those signs.  It's crude, but you can't just let him be like this without treatment, right?  :(

It's a tough one.



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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:

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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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