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Rabbits/Baby bunny won't walk


My brother and his family have a small pet bunny recently.  It is very friendly and lives in the house.  A couple days ago, their 5yr old boy (who is very gentle) brought the neighbors 7 yr olds into the house without his parents realizing it.  (They were working in backyard).  Anyway, the two seven year olds are kind of rough animal lovers and apparently at one point one of them put the bunny on their shoulders and it fell/jumped off.  Since then, it is just laying in its cage.  When they put food in, it gets up, sniffs it, and then lays back down.  It also is grinding its teeth.  It seems like it CAN move, just doesn't want to.  They took it to a vet, but the vets in our area are very inexperienced with rabbits.  Did not do an X-ray.  The vet said it "seemed fine" but that he didn't know much about rabbits.  Gave it a shot of cortisone.  Any advice?  What can they do?  What might be wrong?

Dear Jessie,

The baby bunny very likely has a broken spine or pelvis or other major supportive skeletal element.

This is exactly why the House Rabbit Society will not adopt to homes with rough children.  They may mean well, but children like the 7 years olds you describe should NEVER be left alone with a helpless baby animal like this.  If there is any risk of children getting to the bunny, then the bunny should be safely locked up when adults are not in attendance.

Please get this bunny to a qualified veterinarian who knows what to do.  It may take a drive.  But check the referral list here:

I can only imagine the terror of that poor baby bunny as he was manhandled by those children without being supervised by an adult.  As the owners have no doubt now discovered, a rabbit is not a toy.  He is a living, breathing, feeling being that deserves respect and protection.

This is such a sad, terrible story.  I hope the bunny will recover, but it may take lots of cage rest and NO handling while he recuperates.  He may need to be hand fed and gently cared for by an ADULT during this process.

Thank you for caring, and for trying to do the right thing.



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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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