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Old 10-31-2011, 05:00 PM   #1
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I noticed last night that my rabbit was kind of dragging her hind legs. She still uses them a bit, but she isn't hopping - more like a mix of walking and dragging. They seem to slide out to the side, instead of staying right under her when she moves.

I took her to the emergency vet, where they took xrays to check her back. Vet said her xrays are perfect, she has absolutely no spine/vertebrae injury. He also said it doesn't look like she has arthritis. There's nothing wrong in that respect. He said she has feeling in her feet and legs (if he pulls on her toes, she reacts). He could move her legs, stretch them out, and she's in no pain at all. He couldn't figure out what's wrong with her.

She is eating, drinking, peeing, pooping, grooming, everything completely normal. Has anyone ever come across this? I will take her to her regular vet in a few days. The emergency vet suggested watching her, with restricted free time, to see if it gets any better. His only suggestion is that it might be a parasite which attacks the spinal cord, but he said she only shows one sign of that (weakness of the legs) compared to the normal signs (complete paralysis).

I'm sorry for the long post, I just want to get all the information on here. Thanks to anyone who can help.



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Old 10-31-2011, 07:07 PM   #2
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*************UPDATE***********

Here is a video, to help you better understand how she is walking. Please note that I only took this video and put it on Youtube for help on this forum. It's a private link - please don't send it to others. Thank you.



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Old 10-31-2011, 08:20 PM   #3
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The vet isn't right about the parasite--he's talking about E cuniculi, which attacks many organs, including the brain. One of the early signs is dragging the back legs. That usually looks literally like dragging them, like they have no ability to move. It can progress to cause total paralysis but that takes a while. Another early sign is urinary issues. You might want to read up on EC.
http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Neurology/Neurology_main.htm

From the video, it looks like a problem with her spine, not her legs. It looks like she could move her legs normally, but is choosing not to in order to keep her spine still. I would guess that there might be a small fracture on the spine that the e-vet didn't see (definitely ask if you can take the x-rays taken at the e-vet to your normal vet--they should let you do this), or some kind of disc disease/nerve pinch in the spinal cord. The movement in the video is not typical of a bunny with EC-related hind leg paralysis, at least in my experience. However, what you described, with her dragging them to the side, does sound like EC-related paralysis.

This page lists the various causes of paralysis. One I hadn't noticed before is toxoplasmosis. Is there a chance she was exposed to this? Do you have a cat, or feral cats in the neighborhood if she goes outside?
http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Neurology/Differentials/paresis.htm

For now, I would restrict her movement as much as she'll let you. I'd keep her in a travel carrier unless she freaks out at that. You can put down absorbent material with fleece or artificial sheepskin on top to wick away pee. I doubt she is able to use the litterbox normally, is she? You might let her out for an hour or so a day to see if her movement is changing. I'd also think an anti-inflammatory/pain medication could be useful (if there is traumatic damage to the spine, this can help). The one most commonly given is Metacam (meloxicam). Other than that, keep her warm, comfy, and eating/drinking/pooing.

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Old 10-31-2011, 09:05 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the reply. The vet originally said he would give her anti inflammatory meds, but after looking at her xrays, he said he didn't think anti inflammatories would do anything.

He seemed fairly certain that it isn't EC, specifically because she doesn't have a head tilt or strange eye movement.

I don't have any cats in my home and she doesn't go outside, but I do work with cats - some of whom come from a local shelter.

I've made an appointment at her normal vet for Thursday, and I have a copy of her xrays.

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Old 10-31-2011, 09:33 PM   #5
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Same thing happened to us with one of our seniors--turned out it was a tumor and we didn't get a happy ending.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:06 PM   #6
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Update, for those interested:

Just got back from her regular vet. He prescribed anti inflammatories and said it is probably a strain of a muscle on her spinal cord, or something similar. He doesn't think it is a tumor or the EC parasite. I have to keep her caged for a couple weeks, with her anti inflammatory meds. If she gets worse, I will take her to get an MRI. If she stays the same or gets better, she should be okay.

(If it is a tumor or the EC parasite, she will gets worse within the next couple weeks.)

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Old 11-02-2011, 10:37 PM   #7
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:39 PM   #8
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Hoping for the best, keep us updated.

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Old 11-03-2011, 01:49 AM   #9
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If it's any comfort, it sounds like you have a good vet on the case. Best of luck to you guys.

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Old 11-04-2011, 12:59 AM   #10
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Thanks for the replies
She is doing about the same. She is taking the medication very easily, which is nice.

The only problem is that, since her paws are weak (or her back is sore), she has trouble eating her cecotropes. They are getting kind of matted into the bottom of her paws. Any suggestions on how to get them out? I don't want to move her around too much, since she is supposed to be on "bed rest". I tried just picking them off as she was laying down but she kept tucking her feet under her body. Suggestions please??



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