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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 18145
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Our pet rabbit has suddenly started to hop lob sided

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hello,our pet rabbit has suddenly started to hop lob sided as though its back end is not functioning properly he is around 7 to 8 years old,he is eating & drinking normally and does not seem to be in any pain,it has only started today.we love him dearly,but do not want him to suffer,what could it be that is wrong with him? thank you ...kevin
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry that you have been waiting for a response, different experts come online at different times and it may be that no one that routinely examines bunnies was online to help. I would like to help if you are still interested in an opinion. Ideally he should see a veterinarian that routinely treats rabbits for a thorough examination and diagnostics to try and figure out why he is hopping lop-sided. This is usually due to pain (which rabbits hide well because they are a prey species), a problem with their balance system (vestibular system) in their inner ear, or loss of neurologic function. Rabbits do have a very fragile spine and so some sort of accidental trauma, usually when they are frightened and move just the wrong way, is possible. Radiographs would be very helpful in diagnosing any sort of primary musculoskeletal problem.If there is no possibility of trauma then I am even more concerned about an infection, either bacterial or protozoal, causing granuloma formation and pressure on his spinal cord or in his middle ear affecting his balance, or a mass that is causing pressure on his spinal cord and loss of function.Snuffles or a pasteurella bacterial infection can certainly be one cause, another could be protozoal parasites such as E. cuniculi. or Toxoplasmosis. E cuniculi is more common and a blood test to see whether your bunny has been exposed, coupled with his symptoms, would point toward a diagnosis. Treatment is with worming medication, either Fenbendazole or another antiparasitic drug in the benzimidazole family. In either case we would also use anti-inflammatories to treat the secondary inflammation while we are addressing the underlying cause. Metacam is one anti-inflammatory that can be given to your bunny while testing is being done.I do think it would be worth seeing a veterinarian that has experience with rabbits rather than one that does not routinely see bunnies because rabbits are unique in some of the disease processes that affect them. I don't know if we can get all of Thumper's function back, depending upon the problem, but perhaps we can get some back and stop any further worsening of his disease process.Please let me know if you have any further questions.
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