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Rabbits/Back legs stiff and weak



My rabbit was diagnosed in Aug 2014 with EC and treated with Panacur. After many months, she recovered almost fully. In October 2015, she abruptly lost complete use of her back legs and could not even stand up. She was put on another round of Panacur with no visible improvement. Then, I started giving her Myristol, and she slowly regained the use of her legs. She was still weak and shuffled, but she could stand and walk!

For the last 2-3 weeks, her legs have begun to stiffen up again and she can't stand up for more than a few minutes or take more than a few steps - she falls down and can't get up. This time, Myristol, massages, and stretching are not helping.

Is there anything else I can do for her? Do you know if Cetyl-M may work when Myristol doesn't? She's 11-12 yrs old. She can't even seem to sit in a loaf position, her front legs don't seem to bend properly at the elbows.

Thank you.

ANSWER: Dear Karen,

If the return of the stiffness is due to E. cuniculi, then I would ask the vet about another round of Panacur, but also add ponazuril (our vets use this at 20mg/kg once per day, and a few vets go as high as 50mg/kg).

I hope it helps.  The posture you describe is typical of a bunny affected by E. cuniculi.  :(


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

QUESTION: Thank you. I was hesitating to take her for another exam, as she's seen six different vets, and we got no definite diagnosis or treatment, though I know EC cannot be diagnosed with certainty...An x-ray showed a shadowing in her inner ear, but the vet who eventually did the x-ray decided not to treat.

I will ask about Ponazuril, though.

When she's on her back in my arms, her front legs are crossed and her paws stiff and crooked. Could it be arthritis, do you think? She doesn't drink on her own (not sure why because she eats!), so I syringe feed her water, 90 cc everyday. I want to give her Metacam in case she's in pain...Would I have to give her subQ as well to ensure she is hydrated enough, or is 90-100cc enough?

Today, she's a bit better!

Thanks a lot for your time!!

Hi, Karen

General rule of thumb for fluid intake is about 10% of body mass per day (about 100mL (=cc) per 1kg of rabbit.  (If you're doing this subQ, it should be done in no fewer than three doses, and never all at once, of course!)  But it's possible your girl is getting all the liquid she needs from her food.  If she laps what you give her, fine.  But if not, you might not want to force too much.

The arm crossing doesn't sound like arthritis, though I can't see it to be sure.  It does sound more like the neurological signs you tend to see with E. cuniculi.

I hope the ponazuril 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:

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.

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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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