You are here:

Rabbits/hind end weakness


hind end weakness
hind end weakness  
Hello Dana,

I apologize in advance for the lengthy email.

I have a 5 year old male French lop that has recently started showing some hind end weakness. It actually all started approximately a year ago. I noticed occasionally one of his hocks would get caught up whenever he would either hop into his cage or hopping into his 5 inch high litter box.
I thought this may have been a result of him possibly injuring himself mildly....a while back I had caught him on 2 occasions on top of his 30 inch high cage--I was more concerned with him leaping off and landing on vinyl flooring..needless to say I have since removed his cage and replaced his litter box with a very low front litter box which is actually a big potting tray--which works like a charm. He is able to dash and hope into it without a problem:)
Anyway, for the past few weeks he had started shaking and scratching his head trying to clean his ears and because of his weakness it seems a bit of a challenge for him:(--so I brought him to the vet and she noted some wax in his ears and some pus in his mouth ( he had dental abscess surgery and teeth extracted in 8/15 by this vet ). I requested we do a spinal xray (this was his first) and she noted that there was some degeneration to his knee's but she felt it wasn't enough to cause weakness and suggested doing a EC titre test which I declined mainly due to lack of funds--I need the money to put towards a head Ct scan to check for middle/inner ear infection, which we're suppose to do in a few weeks. Besides I really didn't feel that his mild weakness is due to EC--he has no other symptoms-- and would like to rule out an ear infection first. Could an ear infection cause slight balance issues?

In the mean time he is on baytril( 20mg suspension 3ml 2x day)I guess this is for the pus she saw in his mouth.

In addition to his daily morning oxbow joint supplements, I have begun giving him Meloxicam(1.5mg/ml)--1.8ml ( he weighs about 12.7 pounds)once daily in the evening, and I feel that I am seeing that he has better mobility or less discomfort maybe. It's so difficult to tell with my big boy, he's quite laid back, fearless, and such a trooper.

Other than the slight weakness he is healthy, seems happy, has excellent appetite--"touch wood" except he will not eat any hay. He is able to stand and beg for treats ( I do try to discourage it ) seems to have pretty good range of motion to his legs--he can stretch out fully on his belly with his both legs stretched out behind him, and is able to lay hutched position with his heels up. The only funky position is sometimes he will rest/sleep hutched but his right leg close to his body, will be forward almost up to his head.
It's like he is resting on his bum.

I have attached x-rays of his spine and I'm wondering what you think? Do you recommend they do a CT scan of his spine--could it show something that the x-ray wasn't able to detect? Can I wait a bit until he shows a decline?      

Do you think I should have done the titre test? ( I could take funds from my IRA if needed).

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attach the x-ray's and picture of his posture. Can I somehow email it to you please.

Your advice is much appreciated


Dear Paulette,

Sorry for the delay in answering.  The AllExperts site has not been very reliable of late, and didn't send notifications of pending questions.

Large rabbits are more prone to back problems, but it is not always easy to interpret a radiograph. I could find no radiographs attached to the email you sent, just a picture of your bunny (who is very handsome).

I would not spend the money on a titer test.  Either result (positive or negative) can be interpreted multiple ways, so I don't believe there is a great benefit to spending the money on it.  If there is a suspicion of E. cuniculi, then I would ask the vet about just going ahead and treating with Panacur (fenbendazole) or oxibendazole (NOT albendazole!) along with ponazuril.  We use the former at 20mg/kg and the latter at up to 50mg/kg, but your vet will be the best able to decide upon the appropriate dose for your bunny.

Is your boy always on tile floors or other slippery surface?  Remember that rabbit feet have furry bottoms, and they don't get good traction on surfaces like tile, linoleum, wood, or other smooth surfaces.  They need 100% cotton traction-backed mats for stability and to avoid long-term damage to the joints.  If your boy has not had this, I would bet he starts to show quick improvement if you provide the cushioned traction he needs.

I hope some of this will help.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2017 All rights reserved.