Stroke, Seizure?

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Hello - I am curious if anyone has ever seen an incident like this.

A few nights ago my 12 year old rabbit had an incident where he seemed to be temporarily paralyzed. None of his limbs worked. He does have spondylosis and arthritis, which has made his back left leg weak in recent years. I've seen him lose his balance but this was different. He also completely evacuated his bladder and bowels in the beginning. Even a small amount of bladder sludge was expelled. His body was not tense or convulsing.

I was able to physically support him within the first 60 seconds and got him into a position to lay down, although he was like jelly. He was breathing heavy. Never lost consciousness. Five minutes later he started the process of gradually re-gaining his ability to move but was unsteady. Within 12 hours he was probably 95% back to normal in terms of his ability get around.

We already had a vet appointment on the calendar to remove a contact lens that completely healed up a pesky ulcer. The chem panel and CBC came back with good results except for his packed cell volume (PCV) / hematocrit. It's 25%, down from 35% two months ago. Based on who you ask, 30% might be the minimum to be considered "good". My vet says she looks for 35%+. So, he was on the low-end of being anemic and it suddenly got worse.

She did notice that the whites of his eyes seemed to have a bit of yellow tint and suspected the liver enzymes would be off but they were fine.

The vet is not sure if it was a stroke or seizure or something else. There was no blood on the abdomen shown in the ultrasound. They only have a portable ultrasound machine so we're waiting for better check next week. He has some supportive care medications until then to treat this as a bleed or liver failure.

I'd appreciate any anecdotes if you've experienced anything like this.

Thank you
 

JBun

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TIA or seizure are both possibilities. Usually after a seizure they recover more quickly, so I would lean more towards a possible TIA if it took him the whole day to recover. But a seizure is still a possibility.

It sounds like your bun has quite the health battle going on. Best of wishes for your little guy ♥️ I know how difficult and complicated their health issues can get when they are older.
 
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Unfortunately Sidney ended up getting a fairly solid white cataract in his right eye within a 2-3 hour time period.

There's also been more deterioration of his ability to use his hind legs. We did an EC test and it came back negative. They said this was a type of that test that was good at detecting active infection and past infection. Given everything going on, I would bet significant money he had EC. We've been told twice now that Panacur could end up killing him giving his age so we did not do that proactively.

The anemia tested low again. The more advanced ultrasound machine did not show any internal bleeding or tumors on any organs. They said all of his organs looked good. All other aspects of the chem panel and CBC are good. By coincidence, we ended up with 3 sets of blood work completed in the past 3-4 months.

He has always had spondylosis and the left rear leg is functioning the same as the past year. It kind of sticks forward too much and it's hard for him to use it. The new issue with his right rear leg appears to just be weakness where it collapses out from under him.

I am sadly at a loss. I am just trying to figure out how to give him a good quality of life with his mobility issues. I do not have a good solution for the times when he falls over and cannot get up. I've been sleeping very close to him to try to wake up when I hear him. I spend as much time with him as I can during the day.

He is still eating and wants to get out to explore. He's not lethargic or does not appear to be depressed. It's not lost on me that he's 12 1/2 years old but it's just hard.
 

JBun

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I had an older bun with spondylosis, and she gradually lost use of her hind limbs, but both at pretty much the same time. She adapted well to the change and just scooted herself around using her front legs. But gradually she became less mobile and able to scoot herself very far. She pretty much stayed in a 2 ft area the last months of her life. But she was still doing well and happy to snuggle with her bun friend and would get excited for treats. Because she was still doing well other than the lack of mobility, I felt it was ok to let her live out her life.

This is how her area was set up towards the end.

IMG_20151118_120930839.jpg

I did have to check on her at least every 4 hours those last few months, as she would sometimes scoot into a difficult postiion or couldn't get to her water or food dish. It can be hard as having a special needs bun does take a lot more time and hands on care. With your bun still being able to get upright, you may need to restrict his space some and provide towel rolls to help support him. And frequent checks to help him back up. It's all about setting up their environment to manage their condition as best as you can. It's never going to be perfect, but as long as they can remain relatively comfortable and happy, that's what you're shooting for.



The other thing I did for my bun to make her more comfortable, was give daily meloxicam. In the beginning when she was still able to hop, it eased the pain and stiffness and she was able to hop more normally. But as the spondylosis progressed to losing the use of her hind limbs, it didn't help at all with the use of her back legs, but I could tell it made her more comfortable still, as she was much more stiff and seemed to have more difficulty scooting around without getting the med daily.

 
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Thanks JBun for the detailed response. These are some good things to consider for his housing setup. I have some vetbed on order. I am also going to try the rabbit socks (occasionally) to see if it increases traction.

He seems to panic when he can't get upright instead of taking it slow to get his bearings. He starts spinning and ends up in a twisted position with some limbs facing the wrong way. Hopefully I can reduce how often this happens.

I think our doctor said she can increase from .5cc (daily) of meloxicam when things got worse. He's only about 3 pounds these days but hopefully we can go to twice daily, as it seems to help but wears off before a full day. I will find out.

Thanks again. If I find anything that helps, I'll post back here for anyone else reading this in the future.
 

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I have heard that neck pillows (the curved u-shaped ones) sometimes are helpful for buns with head tilt or ones that have trouble holding themselves upright. Maybe one of those might help your bunny. Hope yours gets better
 
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Just an update on Sidney for anyone who might be dealing with something like this in the future.

There have been no further incidents in the following 3 months. So far, there's been no recovery of the use of his right leg. The cataract in his right eye remains but he has adjusted to losing that vision.

I did go back to check and he was vaccinated against RHDV 6 weeks before all of this started. There's no way to know if this caused the problem but I wanted to share the information. Given his age, I resisted getting him this vaccine when they offered it in 2020 or 2021 but ultimately had to concede if I wanted to continue to receive routine care for him.

There is still no indication of why he had this seizure or stroke back in October. All of the clinical testing says he is healthy despite being 13 years old next month. We've run multiple chem panels, CBCs, an EC test, and a comprehensive ultrasound. We're lucky to have several years of past blood tests as well as an ultrasound from 2020 for comparison.
 

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