E. Cuniculi worries - any advice or information is greatly appreciated

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For those of you who have had a bunny with EC and was treated with Panacur and survived I need your help.
I’ve looked quite possibly literally all over every bunny site/forum/article/etc for these answers but for some reason no one has mentioned them!!!

My bunny got to the stage where he is constantly going into rolling fits...it wasn’t so bad, and then it got worse. He doesn’t go 20 minutes without barrel rolling. He’s in a laundry basket with a bunch of towels to try to keep him wedged, but he still seems to fling himself out of it!!

Can anyone please answer or help the following questions?

  1. Is this frequency of rolling episodes common or normal for this stage? (About one every 5-20min roughly)
  2. How many days on panacur until this stops or at the very least slows down...??
  3. Am I right to be confining him to the basket with barely any room at all to keep him from rolling? Would not being confined work better?
  4. How many days on panacur till you noticed literally any signs of healing? My vet waited until he was on the worst symptoms before he got treated. So his symptoms went: in continence, loss of balance, head tilt, loss of complete balance and rolling uncontrollably without stopping. (Most everywhere I’ve seen had been lucky enough to catch it before this stage)
  5. Should he be on anything other than panacur? My vet and some articles I’ve read strongly recommend against using steroids, and says using a sedative like Valium they only have as an injectable and he would need to be in a animal hospital scenario to be watched 24/7 and they can’t do that. So literally the only thing he’s on is panacur and some eye drops for his down eye because he’s rolled too much and caused lots of swelling, inflammation and stuff with it.
Please anyone who can help, I’m pretty desperate here. I’ve taken off work, worked from home, my boyfriend and I have alternated “shifts” of watching him at all times, including sleeping (so one of us doesn’t sleep because his rolling fits are so often we can’t do anything but stare at him).
Thank you!!!
 

JBun

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Is your rabbit also being treated for a possible ear infection as the cause of the head tilt, by getting an antibiotic ? If not, how did your vet rule out an ear infection?

Is your rabbit also getting the anti inflammatory meloxicam to help reduce inflammation contributing to the symptoms?
 
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Well he thought it was an ear infection at first because when he swabbed his ears he had some yeast in them. Gave me a rinse solution to try for a week. It didn’t do anything or help. He just got worse after that.

I had two doses of metacam left over from his initial GI Stasis issue and gave that to him but idk if it helped.
He didn’t say anything about meloxicam.

this is a video I made of my bun:
 

Pumpkin

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That made me want to cry. I feel so bad for you and your adorable bunny. I hope everything turns out okay. I don't know anything about this or what do do. My only advice would be to find and extremely rabbit savvy vet, even if it means traveling far distances.

You and your bunny are in my prayers.
 
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That made me want to cry. I feel so bad for you and your adorable bunny. I hope everything turns out okay. I don't know anything about this or what do do. My only advice would be to find and extremely rabbit savvy vet, even if it means traveling far distances.

You and your bunny are in my prayers.
Awww!!! Thank you so much!!! I really appreciate the kind words. Yeah, creating that video was very hard. Sobbing through most of it. I wanted to put in some videos of his adorable personality and how drastic of a change it was.
 

nms

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Hi, I watched your video and this reminds me of my rabbit Poppa who had bacteria on his brain which affected the nervous system. Sorry I forget the name of the condition however, it is very common in rabbits. The head tilt appeared overnight. I thought he had a stroke as his head was to the right almost touching the ground and looking up. He couldn't hop into his hutch, he was hopping in circles. I took him to the vet and she recognized the symptoms instantly and put him on Enrofloxacin 0.5 ml per day. He was on it for 3.5 years.

He had the medication daily. Poppa was an outdoor rabbit living in a huge enclosure with 3 other rabbit friends, hopping in and out of hutches and lounging around and burrowing in hay. If there were days in which the medication wasn't given, as he would hop away from me.. he was tired of having the meds despite it being strawberry flavoured, the head tilt returned, not as severe as the initial discovery. It was noticeable as he hopped sideways and he was slower. On medication, he was as fast as all the other rabbits. The only difference was that he couldn't hop heights and he couldn't jump into the hutch, his home was under the hutch and the other rabbits joined him.

Two years ago, his back leg started to drag, it was from the bacteria and the vet gave him a shot of cortisone, which worked wonders. It was this past Oct 2019 in which his legs symptoms came back, not the tilt in his head though.
ofloxacin was in
His meds of Enrofloxacin was increased and he was put on Metacam for pain and inflammation. This helped and he went from periods of normal hopping to leg dragging, however, his days outside had come to an end and he was now an indoor rabbit. His legs started to lose muscle, however, he was eating, seemed content and engaging. It took time to get used to this new Poppa. In the morning his bottom was covered in feces, initially it was a runny stool due to the increase in meds and antibiotics, once his body adjusted to meds, his little poops happened regularly. The runny feces was about 2 weeks and during this time I used a foam shampoo, a soft bristle brush and gently brushed out the matts, some had to be cut off. I used aloe to sooth his bottom. As time went on, he had difficulty standing to urinate and diaper ointment was used to prevent urine scald. He was content hopping, dragging his back end to move, however ,his freedom became limited to an open cage on the floor, 3X5 ft. He ate, loved attention and his spirits were high. He groomed himself, except he had difficulty grooming his ears as he couldn't balance himself. When his right ear was scratched he would lick my fingers, he had the softest tongue. Poppa lived like this for 4 months. He was a strong rabbit. In time his legs atrophied more, he was still eating and content. It was when his spirit disappeared that a decision needed to be made and it was very hard to let him go, we had formed such a bond. He let me know it was time with three little whimpers. When the vet tech came to get him, Poppa didn't open his eyes to look at me, which he normally did. I still remember all of this vividly.

I don't know if this is the same difficulty you are experiencing, yet the head tilt, how your rabbit is hopping around reminds me of Poppa. I hope this information helps you and I have you and your rabbit in my prayers. Poppa was a rescue rabbit, he came with 4 others and he had a great life on Enrofloxacin. I hope this can help your bunny. Take care and my best wishes are for you all!
 

JBun

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It could still be an ear infection. It's bacteria in the middle or inner ear that causes the head tilt, and there can often be no sign of it in the external ear canal.

Because of the difficulty of determining if EC or a middle/inner ear infection is the cause of head tilt, most experienced rabbit vets will treat for both possible causes. It's what I would want my vet to do. And at this point I would want to try azithromycin, which is a bit more of a 'heavy duty ' antibiotic. You can read more about ear infection as the cause here.
http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Neurology/Otit/otitis.htm
http://www.disabledrabbits.com/head-tilt.html

You might want to read these links. They have info about head tilt and some personal accounts of the rabbit recovering after being treated with azithromycin.
https://onthewonk.co.uk/headtilt-help/does-my-rabbit-have-headtilt/
https://onthewonk.co.uk/headtilt-experiences/

Metacam is just a brand name of meloxicam. I would also want my rabbit to be getting this as well, twice daily at a dose of 0.6mg/kg per dose, provided there is no possibility of there being impaired kidney function. It's important to help reduce inflammation.
https://www.vgr1.com/metacam/

If possible, I would suggest trying to find a more experienced rabbit vet. Or if not, hopefully your current vet will work with you to formulate a better treatment plan. But a three fold treatment of fenbendazole for possible EC, an antibiotic cover for a possible ear infection, and meloxicam for inflammation, is what is usually done and recommended in cases of head tilt.
https://rabbit.org/vet-listings/
 
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JBun

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Horizontal nystagmus (which is what that back and forth eye movement is called) is more commonly associated with an inner/middle ear infection, and rarely with EC (though not impossible ). If you read that medirabbit link, it describes this and the other clinical signs.
 

MeganH

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I had a bunny with EC, and the only thing that really limited the head-tilt & body flinging was Gabopentin, which was described as a pain killer & seizure inhibitor. We also had her on antibiotics and the panacur, and it didn't seem to help too much with head tilt in the 2 weeks she was on it. My vet said sometimes the panacur helps and sometimes it doesn't, and in our case, the panacur did help with her hind leg paralysis and weakness but not with head tilt. Unfortunately in the end she had some reaction to the antibiotics (maybe??) and got catastrophic diarrhea and passed away, but we had several weeks of trying to keep her in a soft area where she had access to food and water but wouldn't hurt herself. I would definitely ask for Gabopentin, as it seemed to really help. It is a controlled substance, though, so they only gave me 5 days worth.
 
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