Hypoglycemia possibly leading to blindness in my English Lop

Help Support RabbitsOnline:


New Member
Aug 6, 2020
Reaction score
Bemidji, MN
Hello All,
Just joined this site hoping to find some advise. My wife and I recently purchased a English Lop we named Joey from a reputable breeder that we have bought bunnies from before. We have 1 other English Lop and a French Lop as well. Joey has had a rough life so far as his mother passed away when he was very little and he had a foster mom who took care of him and the rest of his litter. A few weeks prior to us purchasing him a heat wave struck and the majority of Joey's litter did not survive (they were caged outside). However Joey survived but due to the heat issue, he is a bit smaller than normal and is very skinny (we have been trying to put some weight on him.

Well the issue is that two days ago, my wife fed the bunnies (they are all bonded and live together in a large cage inside the house) and she found Joey limp and basically near death. We immediately rushed him to the vet (we are somewhat experienced rabbit owners and know with rabbits time critical). Turns out Joey was had a hypoglycemic episode due to being very small. The vet was able to save his life and bring him back from the brink of death.

The vet advised us that Joey was possibly either temporarily or permanently blind due to limited pupil reaction. Joey is now back home with us and eating constantly and drinking very often. He has had a steady supply of Plantain leaves as well as parsley and cilantro and we have been giving him a small amount of Karo Syrup on the tip of a q-tip every couple hours to help boost his sugar levels as he tends to keep dipping low and becoming a bit inactive. We figured if we can put some weight and fat on him he wont slip into hypoglycemia as he has some reserves. We purchased alfalfa hay and some high quality rabbit food with higher nutrition content to help him put on weight quickly and boost his recovery.

My concern is the blindness and how to determine if he is actually blind. My wife has checked his pupil reaction and it is very slow and his pupils seem to remain fairly dilated. He is moving around the house but slower than he used to. He does not run into things and seems to partially at least be able to see and look at things but i'm unable to tell if he is actually blind or not.

My question is is there a way to for sure tell if he is blind? And if he is temporarily blind how long would that normally last before it returns? I have tried doing research on it but am finding minimal results? My understanding is bunnies can adapt quite well if blind but I'm still hoping he may not have to deal with that just yet.

Any information helps and thank you in advance.



Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Sep 10, 2012
Reaction score
Utah, , USA
If he is having chronic hypoglycemic episodes, it would be advisable to look into why immediately, as this is not a normal condition, could be immediately life threatening, and there is often another underlying issue causing this to happen.

The fact that your bunny was recently exposed to high temperatures and could have suffered heat stroke, and is now suffering with weight loss/low weight gain, and also having problems with blood sugar regulation, has me very concerned that there could be some damage to internal organs that is causing these current symptoms.

He could have suffered ongoing or even possibly permanent damage, due to getting heat stroke from the heat wave that killed his siblings. Heat stroke can cause serious damage even if the animal survives. It can cause permanent brain damage, damage the heart, the blood vessels, cause kidney and liver damage and other organ damage, and can also result in hypoglycemia. Sometimes the damage can resolve several weeks after the heat stroke episode, but there is also a chance it can be permanent. If your vet didn't already do a complete blood panel to check liver and kidney function, that would be a really good idea to have that done right away.

Knowing if he is blind, I would say if he reacts to light or movement. Whether or not he'll regain sight, what I know about it in people is that it resolves when the blood sugar stabilizes, which is within minutes or hours after the hypoglycemic episode connected to their diabetes. High blood sugar can lead to eye damage over time, but blurriness or loss of vision due to hypoglycemia should resolve once normal blood sugar levels are restored. So if he is continuing to have vision issues, it could be due to continued hypoglycemic episodes or possibly he could have suffered damage from the heat stroke, including from brain injury.

Latest posts