Splayed legs 😢

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Oct 22, 2022
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Hello Bunny Lovers❤️
2 of our little ones have splayed legs. One is worse than the other 🥺
We have made sure their cage and hutch have soft frilly textures in there so their little nails can dig in making it easier to move around. We have them on the carpet for play time and exercise.
They are a smidge over a month old.
For the one who has been given the name
Asiago, what can we do here at home to try to help his little back legs strengthen and be not as spread out like Bagel ( my 11 yo names them btw). Bagel is not nearly as bad, there is a small turning of his hind legs but he jumps and hops around attempting bunnies.

Any successful suggestion are welcomed.


Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Supporting Member
Sep 10, 2012
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Utah, , USA
Sometimes bracing the legs correctly and under the direction of a knowledgeable rabbit vet, may improve the leg function some, depending on the cause of the splay leg and the severity. Because you have two from the same litter with the condition, it could mean there's a genetic component. I would suggest working with a knowledgeable rabbit vet to assess the bunnies condition and to come up with a possible treatment plan.

Medirabbit: splay leg



Oct 22, 2022
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We are going to see what is available with the one of 2 vets close by tht can see them. Hopefully we can try to correct it a little bit. But if not we will have a special needs bunny who we will keep and not give away, I would worry too much abt the care he would be getting from whoever wanted him


Sep 6, 2016
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South Australia
Splinting helps if still young. Sea grass mats for better grip of floor. Check for pinched hindquarters

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/splay...v4IIueL94ssFqTEPpsNXKxEGrASXmsnbIVPXOLyUk-zjo. Link no longer works so here’s a copy and pasted version

Bracing a Rabbit with "Splay-leg"

by Dana Krempels, Ph.D.
University of Miami Biology Department
Some rabbits are born with a condition known as "splay-leg," in which the front legs, hind legs or all four legs splay out to the side like little seal flippers. Although most experts believe that the condition is congenital (possibly due to genetics resulting in weak connective tissue), it can be exacerbated by environmental conditions, such as being raised on a slippery floor that gives no traction. A 100% cotton, textured bathmat surface for playing and exercising as soon as babies come out of the nest may help reduce the incidence of splay-leg.

Bracing Baby Rabbits with Splayed Legs

Splay-leg bunnies can usually move about with a flopping motion, and we do know of completely happy adult "splay-leg" bunnies who can race around the house effortlessly. However, because these bunnies can develop other health problems related to their abnormal posture, it isn't a bad idea to try to correct the problem when it is first detected, in very young babies about 3-8 weeks of age. Whatever the cause of the problem (nature or nurture), in some cases it can be corrected if the babies are fitted with simple, home-made leg braces, as illustrated below.
The brace itself consists of nothing more than

a natural cork from a standard wine bottle, cut to about 1" long
two 100% cotton pads, slightly larger in diameter than the cork, and about 1/4 inch thick
breathable, adhesive sports tape Here's an exploded diagram of the positions of these components as they will be assembled between the bunny's legs:

Diagrams below show how to brace a bunny's front legs.

Very gently pull them to normal position, and place the cork, with cotton pads on each end, against the bunny's wrists, or slightly higher.
Note that if the legs are severely splayed, and do not readily come together without causing the bunny pain, you may have to start with a longer cork, and gradually (every few days) unwrap the brace, cut it a bit shorter, and re-wrap.
While you're holding the brace and bunny, have another person carefully wrap a loop of the sports tape completely around the legs and brace.
MAKE SURE THE TAPE IS NOT TOO TIGHT! If it's too tight, circulation will be cut off, and the situation will be worse than before. This is the trickiest part of the operation, since if the tape is too loose the brace can slip off. You may have to modify the taping areas to accommodate individual rabbits. Improvise and improve!
Successfully assembled, the brace should allow the bunny to stand, though he will (at least temporarily) not be able to move the front legs independently.
Although the bunnies tend to be very upset at first, and may struggle, they get used to the contraption anywhere from a few hours to a day or two after you've strapped it on, and begin to learn to hop in "tripod" fashion.
Here's what a front-leg brace looks like, from top view and from a somewhat oblique view:

Back legs are more tricky. You'll use the same set-up and procedure as for the front legs, but position the brace just above the hocks (ankles).
Bunnies are not fond of having their back legs braced, and they will struggle. But again, they do tend to get used to it within a few hours, and start to learn to hop.

For back leg braces, be sure you don't obstruct the urethral opening or anus with tape or padding! Also check frequently to be sure the padding and/or tape do not become soiled with urine or feces. If this happens, a mild rinse, thorough drying and re-bandaging will be necessary to prevent burn to the delicate skin.
Here are a couple of drawings showing how the back leg braces should be attached:

Caveat lector: I have never tried to use these braces on a rabbit with all four legs splayed, so I am not certain how well this would work. It might be worth a try. If the bunny seems very stressed, it would probably be best to do one set of legs at a time, perhaps starting with the front, allowing bun to become accustomed to the encumbrance, and then doing the back a few days later. The cure should not be worse than the disorder!

Bunnies we have braced this way sometimes need to be re-wrapped every week or so. Be sure to monitor the braces for soiling, and replace them if they are wet or dirty.

Each time the braces are changed, allow the bunny a few minutes to walk on a surface with good traction, to check progress. It can take several weeks before the cartilage and muscles strengthen and grow to produce more normal posture, but it will work. Patience is the key to a full lifetime of better mobility.

Bracing an Adult Rabbit with Splayed Legs

Adult rabbits whose legs are already fixed in the splayed position may not be very amenable to bracing. It can hurt to force the legs into a normal position. So if bracing is tried at all, it should be done very gradually, not pulling the legs together too closely all at once. Do no more than the bunny will tolerate without ripping off the braces.
It's possible the bunny will simply not tolerate the braces, and tear them off or act very stressed and unhappy. If this is the case, wait ten minutes to see if bun adjusts, but don't torture a truly unhappy bunny by forcing the braces. Splayleg bunnies can be perfectly happy with a little extra care and cleaning.

For those adult buns who do tolerate bracing, we've found that a strapping system without corks or any hard parts works best. (More details to be posted soon, including a video. But for now, I hope this helps.)

Here is a diagram of how we have successfully braced an adult splayleg bunny's feet.


1. Obtain a nice, thick pad of clean, soft fur from a previous grooming of the bunny (or another bunny).
2. Roll the fur into two soft pads, each about 1" in diameter.

3. Tack the pads to the outside (distal) side of the foot with micropore paper tape. (Not too tight!)

4. Wrap a length of soft, 1" stretch gauze around the foot where you have padded it.

5. Wrap a 1" wide strip of Vetwrap around the gauze to hold it in place. (Choose your own fashionable color! You'll probably have to cut this to size, as it comes in 4" wide rolls.)

6. Now the tricky part. Cut a piece of water-proof athletic/adhesive tape (Johnson & Johnson is best, as other brands are now made in China and not sticky enough! But who knows how long before J&J joins the outsourcing bandwagon.) about 15 - 20" long.

7. Wrap a loop around one foot, and then create a "bridge" of tape to the other foot. Make a loop around the other foot, and bring the tape back over the bridge, tacking the two sticky sides of the tape to each other.

8. You will have to determine how close the feet can be tied, depending on how stiff the bunny's hips are. But check to be sure the knees are not knocking together, and that bun can move easily, even if the legs are still a little abnormally far apart.

9. Presto! Put bunny down and watch closely to be sure he's not distressed. If the legs are too close, you might have to do it again until you get it just right.

Good luck!


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Well-Known Member
May 12, 2018
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It would be wise to follow the above splinting advice. I'm no veterinary; but, I watch every vet show on television. I've seen successful outcomes when a splay-legged animal is splinted while the bones are young and formative.

Splay can be fixed if done in time. That is why it breaks my heart to see struggling, severely deformed adult rabbits. It may very well have been prevented.
Feb 3, 2022
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Peoria, Illinois
This morning I lost my splay legged bun, Naji. She was only 11 months old. We tried the splinting she did not take well to it and had it removed. I’m not sure that was the right choice. She took constant care. I loved caring for her, making her bedding, cleaning her tush every day. She was the most affectionate pet I have ever owned. I wish you the best of luck.

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