Headspin in my 6 year old female minilop x netherland dwarf rabbit (RIP)

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Oct 30, 2023
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United states
I went to feed my bun buns today and i found My rabbit fuzzball spinning around and exerting very very extreme symptoms of headspin we took her out gently and lay her in a box with some memory foam and padding on the walls and now she's not moving but is still breathing and it looks like she's lost her will to live :(. Please any help would be appreciated she's been the queen of the house ever since we bought her.
There isn't much we can tell but to see a rabbit savvy vet ASAP.
My Chantal, 5, had an EC outbreak this year rather similiar symptoms, wasn't able to get up, head tilt etc. If it's that, the sooner treatment starts the better are the chances. Chantal pulled through, with little symptoms left, but it was a rather close call.

Keep trying to get her to eat, give her water, and I would also give her Simethicone (Baby gas drops, min 20mg 2-3 times a day) with the water to prevent gas becomming a problem, and pain meds if available. But that doesn't address the initial issue, it's just something to do to keep low food intake adding to the problem.
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Get her to an experienced rabbit vet first thing in the morning. She likely either has an ear infection, or she could have a parasite called e. cuniculi, that can affect the brain and/or nervous system. This is a critical situation that needs prompt vet care.

Medirabbit: ear infection clinical signs and treatment

You'll need the appropriate meds, usually either corticosteroids or the NSAID meloxicam, antibiotics if an infection, and/or Panacur (fenbendazole) for the e. cuniculi. Plus your bun will likely be dehydrated and need sub q fluids, and you'll need a recovery food mix as you'll need to start regular syringe feeds throughout the day. A rabbit can't go long without eating, before their digestive system starts to shut down. 12-24 hours is usually the max before it's considered an emergency situation.

Try to minimize any picking up or moving your bun, as the motion can disorient and cause more distress. If your bun is used to eating any veggies or greens, try and see if she'll eat any of those.

If you're concerned waiting until morning is too long to wait, you'll need to try and find an emergency vet that's experienced with rabbits, but they can be hard to find sometimes.
Thank you very much for the help. the only issue is, I'm getting evicted next week if i can't pay my rent so it would be extremely hard to gather enough money for a trip to the vet, i can buy meds for her though. (she looks better now she's resting in a little foam box i made and was also eating)
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Also im 99% sure she had a stroke. poor little creatures, they are so delicate and gentle that strokes and seizures are very common.
It's just so heartbreaking to see her trying to move for food and flipping around or trying to get more comfortable but ends up worse 😢
I'm so sorry you're in this position 😢
Perhaps call a few vets and ask if they do payment plans?
Keep her comfortable and warm in a nice quiet area.
Try offering her her favourite foods by hand if she can chew and swallow.
Carecredit is something you could apply for that many vets will accept. You can use it immediately if approved. Also, some vets work with organizations that can help in situations with emergencies and limited funds. I wish Fuzzball and you the best with everything.
If one side of her body seems weakened and/or not functioning normally, yes a stroke is likely. It's not as common a cause for the tight circling behavior, but it does happen. If it is a stroke, I don't know what medical care can be done at this point, to help anything. I think I would at least want to try the anti inflammatory meloxicam, and maybe fenbendazole (Panacur, Safeguard, etc) in case the stroke was caused by e. cuniculi. Of course, if at all possible, it's best to try and get her assessed by a knowledgeable rabbit vet.

Other than that, it's going to be a matter of making sure your bun can eat and drink well enough on her own, or do supplemental feedings if she can't. A pellet mush can be made by soaking her usual food pellets in warm water, then syringe feed using a wide tip syringe, otherwise it will clog. Or see if she'll eat from a spoon or dish.

There are also pre-made recovery mixes that can be bought online (eg Amazon, etc) like Oxbow critical care herbivore (bunnies seem to like the papaya flavor best, or sometimes the apple-banana) or Sherwood recovery food. Whatever you use, it either needs to be made fresh each time or refrigerated. And I like to re-warm it before feeding (and check temp that it's not too hot) if I've refrigerated it.

If you've never syringe fed, ideal would be having your vet show you how. But there are videos online. There are some in the link I shared above as well. Rabbits can be difficult to syringe feed if they don't like the food or what you're doing with them. So it needs to be done right for it to work, but also making sure it's done safely so inadvertent injury isn't risked.

There's also needing to feed slowly, a little bit at a time, giving bun time to chew and swallow, or you risk possible aspiration occurring, which can prove fatal if it causes pneumonia. If in doubt what to do or how to do it, it's best to consult with a rabbit vet.

Physical therapy can sometimes be helpful for a bun that's had this happen, to help restore some function and mobility. So may be worth looking into and trying out. Also, take a look at the disabled rabbits site. They talk about how to set up a buns enclosure to help a bun with mobility and balance issues.

Thank you everyone for the help and kindwishes. Fuzzballs looking slightly better and i Moved her into a more suitable inclosure, i feed her 4 times a day with critical care and she eats it i also syringe feed her water and vegetables. Unfortunately my local rabbit vet costs $400 for a checkup and $1000 for emergencies (vets in my area are few and charge ALOT) I'll search online for meds :) She can hardly walk or move around and shakes while trying to so i believe she had a stroke, and her head is very far bent to the right.
I'm a little late seeing this but I believe most often it's e. cuniculi. I hear all rabbits have it but it only flairs up and causes the head tilt and that freaky rolling in a few of them. The vet said their not a lot of understanding yet about e. cuniculi. We just dealt with this 2 months ago.

We have a lionhead lop and keep in mind due to a lot of inbreeding over the year, her lifespan is shorter than most. The vet said our rabbit is starting to be considered geriatric. So, you might want to consider that.

I think my tab ran just under $400. We had the exam and then 3 or 4 meds. There was one for nausea from the dizziness. Another was an antibiotic. We had ear drops too going after a possible inner ear infection. This might have been the most important one. She never totally lost her appetite but we did feed her Criticare of course until the spinning stop and she wasn't dizzy anymore.

Also, we cut back the hair that was hanging over her eyes. I'm wondering if she was moving her head a lot to see around it and that it triggered this vertigo like thing.
She's been eating alot of food and the spinning has gone down alot she is also turning her head more and her eyes look better. overall the situation has improved quite a bit, She eats grass kale criticare and drinks some meds aswell as purified water. (she still can't walk and shakes a bit while trying to a stroke is very likely)
Good luck, I hope she recovers. That she's eating on her own is great, what meds do you give?
The symptoms you describe sound very familiar to me.

When my Chantal started to walk again after that EC outbreak I had to adjust some things, like putting side boards on all ramps, and eliminating every step or jump with ramps. For the first weeks she couldn't manage any height differences at all.

Too bad vets are so expensive over there, for me this was the second most expensive episode with a sick rabbit, I think 250€, including daily antibiotica and fluids infusions for a week, and 3 weeks of Panacur.

If it's EC, the Panacur treatment shouldn't be that expensive, I don't know if you can get it OTC over there (here, pretty much nothing that actually does anything apart from some pain meds and vitamins is otc)

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