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Head tilt

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Kimchilla

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Picked up a new bun with head tilt. She's a few months old, I know nothing else about her.
She is skittish, eats and drinks well though and gets around fine.
Where do you start with treatment? I glanced on google and see there are a LOT of reasons for this.
I wasn't aware the underlying issue could possibly be contagious- would you be worried?
Looking for treatment advice, thanks
 

Blue eyes

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If you haven't already, I would get her to a rabbit savvy vet immediately. There are many possible causes for head tilt - some are quickly fatal (some are not).

I had a rabbit that I got to a vet within hours of the first signs of head tilt. I still ended up losing her. Not trying to freak you out but point out the worst case scenario. Mine, we think, had central vestibular disease (as opposed to peripheral).

Here's some further information on it:
http://www.rabbit.org/health/tilt.html
 

Kimchilla

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Thanks. I'll read that.
We recently got her, I'm not sure how long this has been going on. I just thought it was born like that but now I read it can be caused by contagious parisites and I'm freaking out because she's been with my other bunnies, I have cats, dogs, chickens etc
 

JBun

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Head tilt is usually caused by an inner ear infection or the e. cuniculi parasite, though there are other less common causes such as head/neck trauma, stroke, cancer, etc. If EC is the cause, though it can be contagious to other rabbits, the majority of rabbits are already asymptomatic carriers, meaning that they carry the parasite but it doesn't cause disease. If you are concerned still, research found that treating exposed rabbits with a 9 day course of fenbendazole(liquid panacur or safeguard) 20mg/kg once a day, can help prevent contraction of the parasite. You can read about it here.
http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Neurology/Paper/fenbendazole.pdf

If it's an inner ear infection then your rabbit will need to be on an extended course of a rabbit safe antibiotic(usually 4-6 weeks or longer). Meloxicam is usually also prescribed for both EC or an ear infection, to help bring down inflammation that can lead to permanent cell damage and increased symptoms. So it's an important part of the treatment to make sure it's included. If the vet can't determine which disease is the cause of the head tilt, they will often treat the rabbit for the possibility of both illnesses with fenbendazole, an antibiotic(often baytril), and meloxicam.
http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Neurology/Otit/otitis.htm

You also need to ensure your rabbit continues to be able to eat and drink well. If not, syringe feeding becomes necessary by using a recovery food mix like Oxbow critical care mix. This link has info on the some special care for buns with head tilt issues.
http://www.disabledrabbits.com/head-tilt.html

I should also mention that the head tilt could be from previous illness/injury in the past, and your rabbit was left with permanent damage and a remaining tilt. So she may not still be ill but will just have the tilt for the remainder of her life. Which is ok. There are rabbits that go on to live perfectly happy lives with their remaining disability.
 

Kimchilla

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Thankyou for that info.
The EC was what I was worried about, I did not know that about rabbits until I looked up head tilting!
Would you be worried about bringing one in? Permanent tilt doesn't bother me, poor bun, but disease spreading to dogs, cats, goats, chickens and people does ?

Random question, do you typically deworm or anything when bringing new rabbits in? And is a quick flea combing sufficient to see whether or not the rabbit has lice or mites or anything?
 

JBun

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I honestly don't worry about it and haven't done a preventative treatment of the 9 day course of fenbendazole(though I probably should). I had a rabbit that had it and none of my other 10 rabbits contracted symptoms. It's usually only the ones that are very stressed or ill in some way, that makes them susceptible to contracting clinical illness.

Animals are just natural carriers of parasites/bacteria, so it's really always something animal/pet owners are exposed to on a regular basis. But usually it's never a problem, except for a few rare cases. I'm not sure how susceptible other animals are to EC, but for humans to contract it is extremely rare from being immunocompromised.

If you are really worried about it you could always have a blood titer done to determine if EC is/was the cause of the head tilt, though the blood test is a bit expensive to have done.

For mites and other external parasites I just treat based on symptoms. So if there are no symptoms of a problem I don't treat.
 

Kimchilla

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OK so does the (I've seen from 9 to 20 days) Safeguard kill the EC and stop the animal from being about the shed it into the environment?
 

Lokin4AReason

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mine had a head tilt and the out come was an tooth infection … I would RECOMMEND in seeing a vet immediately, imo
 

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