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Hello. My 10.5 yr old rabbit has been turning his head to the left. I'm wondering if you may know what this could be and/or if this is a vet-worthy thing.
Two or three weeks ago I noticed he was scratching his ears more than usual. He had a yeast infection back in November, so I thought perhaps it was that and kept an eye on it. Over time his scratching did not get worse, but did not go away.
Starting about last week I noticed that when he loafs, he turns his head to the left. He is not twisting it, he is rather turning it left like he is trying to look/listen to something to his left. If I push his head back to straight, he will slowly return his head to turned when I let go. He is not having balance problems. His eyes are not darting around. I've also noticed he seems to be running in to things a bit more, but I wouldn't naturally be concerned about this because he is blind due to cataracts.
3 days ago I started him on clotramizole drops that I had left over from his previous yeast infection just in case. His regular vet is currently on vacation so I didn't want to delay treatment and I figured the drops couldn't hurt.
One other (possible) symptom is that more often that not he poops very little in the evening. This has been going on for about 3 months.
My questions:
Should I continue the drops without a diagnosis?
What could cause this head turning?
Should I take him to the vet?

Dear Allison,

> Should I continue the drops without a diagnosis?

It's always better to know what you're treating.  While the clotrimazole drops will probably not hurt, they might not help at all.  If there's a bacterial infection, though, killing off the yeast could make things worse.

> What could cause this head turning?

You say the head isn't tilting, but sometimes a "turn" of the head is a mild form of torticollis.  It often indicates a vestibular/balance problem, or that he is having pain on the side of the head that he's turning towards (the left, in his case).  It could be anything from an ear infection to a dental problem to an eye problem causing pain.

> Should I take him to the vet?

Given the range of possible problems causing this, I would say yes.  But be sure the vet is rabbit-savvy, and able to make a list of possibilities that can be examined and then ruled out until you have a good diagnosis.  Only then will you be able to properly treat.

I hope this helps.



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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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