Head tilt and rolling experience?

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Dennis, Apr 30, 2016.

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  1. Apr 30, 2016 #1

    Dennis

    Dennis

    Dennis

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    Hey everyone! This is my first post I am new to the forum. Just looking to connect with any owners that have experienced a head tilt and rolling bun. I have a two year old dwarf lop that I brought to the vet already. She perscribed antibiotics (Baytril) and an NSAID for a potential inner ear infection.

    My bunny has been on the antibiotics twice a day and NSAID once a day but he is continuing to get worse with the rolling. I moved him from his cage to a laundry bin lined with a towel because I didn't want him to hurt his eye with his hay and bedding. He is still eating but rolling constantly and making noises.

    Has anyone else experienced this? I know they typically stop eating.
     
  2. Apr 30, 2016 #2

    JBun

    JBun

    JBun

    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    Are you seeing a rabbit savvy vet? Not all vets are rabbit vets, and not all rabbit vets are good ones.

    Did the vet verify an ear infection(pus in the ear canal, xrays verifying infection in the inner/middle ear)? If so, you should know that baytril is not usually the best antibiotic for ear infections and most often isn't effective as it doesn't penetrate to the site of infection. Some better ones might be injectable penicillin, zithromax, chloramphenicol, etc. Usually it is inexperienced vets that automatically prescribe baytril for a confirmed ear infection because of it's safety in not disrupting a rabbits digestive system, but it's rarely the most effective antibiotic for treating infections in rabbits. Sometimes though, if an ear infection isn't confirmed, baytril will be prescribed as a broad spectrum antibiotic to cover the possibility of infection, but if this is the case then the rabbit should also be treated for e. cuniculi, which I will discuss below.
    http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Neurology/Otit/otitis.htm

    The anti inflammatory that was prescribed, is it meloxicam? What dosage did the vet prescribe? Inexperienced vets will often under dose this to rabbits. Rabbits metabolize this much faster than dogs, so need a much higher dose, usually 0.3-0.6mg/kg, and up to 1.5mg/kg short term. So if your bun is receiving too low of a dose, it might not be providing the necessary relief.
    http://vgr1.com/metacam/

    If an ear infection wasn't verified from finding pus in the ear canal or through xrays, did the vet rule out e. cuniculi as a possible cause for the head tilt, and if so how? Aside from an ear infection, e. cuniculi is the other most common cause of head tilt in rabbits. Because of this, if a vet can't verify the cause of the head tilt, then most experienced rabbit vets will treat for both an ear infection and e. cuniculi, with the medications Panacur(fenbendazole) to treat e. cuniculi, antibiotic to cover a possible ear infection, and meloxicam to reduce inflammation and control pain for both possible causes. When either disease can't be ruled out, any vet that doesn't cover these two possible causes, I would question how rabbit savvy they are.
    http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/tilt.html
    http://www.gwexotics.com/wccms-resources/a/5/0/e/77554b90-a660-11e0-a685-0050568626ea.pdf

    So if you aren't sure that your vet is a rabbit savvy vet, I would suggest looking into it and finding a rabbit savvy vet if yours isn't. Receiving the correct treatment can make all the difference in a successful recovery. If your vet is rabbit savvy, it would be good to discuss possibly changing to a better antibiotic, upping the anti inflammatory dose( in very severe cases, considering steroids, but only as a last resort as it affects the immune system dramatically), and/or starting your bun on Panacur to cover the possibility of e. cuniculi.
    http://rabbit.org/vet-listings/

    I am in no way suggesting your vet isn't savvy or that your rabbit isn't receiving the correct treatment. But if this were my rabbit, these are the things that I would be considering and want looked at, and based on the information you provided, I would have my doubts as to the vets rabbit savviness.

    Aside from vet concerns and medications, because your rabbit is rolling and having difficulty, you will want to keep a close eye on food and fluid consumption. If your bun isn't eating and drinking enough(starts losing weight), you will need to start supplementing with syringe feeds. Oxbow critical care mix is what is commonly used to feed sick rabbits who either stop eating or aren't eating enough.
     
  3. May 10, 2016 #3

    Dennis

    Dennis

    Dennis

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    Thank you so much for the detailed response and links. I have been terribly busy! He is on 1.5 mg/mL (0.6 mL) daily of meloxicam. The vet offered to do x rays and blood work for E. Cunicculi but she said to try the antibiotics first. She is a regular vet not a small animal specialist but she seemed quite knowledgeable about rabbits. Unfortunately Dennis (my rabbit) hasn't improved yet. He is still eating and drinking though.
     
  4. Feb 21, 2018 #4

    al3xandracooper

    al3xandracooper

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    Hi there, I know this is an old post but how long did you bunny roll for? Mine has been going on a month and is on the second antibiotic. He was first on Baytril which didnt work and now he is on SMZ TMP, along with drops and Metacam.
     
  5. Feb 21, 2018 #5

    JBun

    JBun

    JBun

    Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    So did your vet verify the head tilt is being caused by an inner ear infection and not by the parasite e. cuniculi?
     
  6. Feb 21, 2018 #6

    edwinf8936

    edwinf8936

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    One of mine started that one day and was rolling his one eye.
    The vet thought it was a brain tumor but we went ahead and tried the antibiotic and I think something else. He got better the next day and got back to normal. The vet was surprised when I brought min back to be checked, she thought I was bringing him back to be put down.
     
  7. Feb 21, 2018 #7

    Blue eyes

    Blue eyes

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    I'm glad your bunny recuperated so quickly.

    I believe they are talking though about the bunny itself completely rolling over and over in an attempt to get upright on its 4 paws. In these cases the bunny's head is tilted to one side and it can't seem to get its balance. Don't know if you meant yours was rolling its body as well as its eye.

    I lost one of my rabbits to this. I had gotten her to the vet within hours of the first sign of tilt. Hers was apparently central vestibular rather than peripheral vestibular. Peripheral is much more common and more treatable. From what I read, prognosis for central vestibular (the less common one) is "guarded to poor."

    "Peripheral vestibular disease (on the other hand) carries a good to guarded prognosis for clinical recovery. There is often a residual head tilt, but the rabbit can learn to reestablish balance and live a relatively normal life."

    You can see in this photo how severe was the head tilt with my rabbit. First photo was taken the day before we saw any signs of tilt. The second photo was one week later (having had treatment that whole week).
     

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