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Sudden hind leg paralysis...help!

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Sue G

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My 6 mos. old Holland Lop rabbit, Luke, is suddenly unable to use his hind legs. We were away on vacation for a week, he was fine before we left. Our caregiver said Luke appeared fine all week, but when we arrived home I found him lying with his head down (very odd for him). We let him out to run and I noticed him hobbling. Upon closer inspection, he was unable to use his hind legs. When we pick him up, the legs are crossed. Our vet said it could be spinal injury or infection and gave us Baytril. After a few days on Baytril, there has been zero improvement. Luke is eating and drinking normally and moves around occasionally, still dragging hind legs. We have 10 other rabbits, but Luke is housed in his own cage. He was 1 of 4 surviving kits in his Mom's first litter, thus we've raised him since birth. I cannot afford xrays for him. I've read about the EC parasite/bacteria and wonder if this is what he could have? Spinal injury seems unlikely unless our caregiver is not being truthful and something happened while we were away. I cannot feel any broken or "moving" bones in his vertebrae. He is able to move his back as is evident when I pick him up...he struggles to get down. His heart is beating very rapidly...I wonder if he is in pain? His bottom is messy...likely from urine or messy poo...not sure it is a result of paralysis or the Baytril though. Can anyone tell me how EC usually presents? Does this hind leg "crossing" and paralysis fit the symptoms fairly well? I need to take him back to the vet but cannot afford to mess around with numerous visits to figure out the cause. Should I just ask for the Panacur for EC and see how he does? Thanks.
 

annie64

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Sue that's horrible - I have an EC bunny who was born with hind leg weakness and at around 12 months suddenly got much worse, got extremely wobbly and was falling over all the time she would just go down like a starfish on her tummy. She was put on panacur for 30 days and has done well and now 6 months later is on a second 9 day course. She gets a dirty bottom every now and then as she is not able to squat quite as well as a normal bun or groom herself properly and I also have to clean her ears for her (she has also had one ear infection). I am no expert but your bunnies problem does seem very sudden onset and probably only a vet can diagnose - the expense is always the problem - I joke that mine was "free" but has probably cost me more than a thousand dollars by now in vet fees and medications not to mention the special cage liner and the ramps I have built for her to get on the furniture.
Good luck
Ann
 

JBun

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It sounds like EC is a possibility. Without further testing, it will be hard to pinpoint the actual cause of the paralysis. It may be a good idea to treat for EC in case that's what is causing it. It's certainly something to discuss with your vet. Typically metacam is also given for EC, and also spinal injuries, to reduce any inflammation contributing to, or causing the signs of paralysis, unless there are also kidney problems going on. But treating for EC isn't something you want to delay, if this is what your rabbit has, as the earlier you can start treatment, the greater chance you have of minimizing permanent damage. If there is a possibility of a spinal injury, you are going to need to be careful in handling him, and restrict movement so that the injury isn't aggravated.

It's possible the baytril is causing the messy poop. It is usually recommended giving probiotics at least an hour after giving antibiotics, to try and maintain a rabbits gut flora as much as possible, during a course of antibiotic treatment. You can sometimes get them at a pet store, feed store, or from your vet.

http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/paresis.html
 

annie64

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forgot to say my bun was on metacam as well it is important to control the inflammation as the other poster mentioned whatever the cause
 

Sue G

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Thanks. I'm going to check with our vet. FWIW, we are giving Benebac along with the Baytril. :) Any suggestions on how to get him to take the Baytril? He took first couple doses well but is now refusing. Same with Benebac.
 

woahlookitsme

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Get X-rays done to check for spinal injury. I am surprised that radiographs weren't offered in the first place??

If there is no spinal injury on the radiographs then EC is a possibility. I had a bunny who all of a sudden became paralyzed (her doctor concluded that EC can show symptoms during stressful situations). Back then I did not know about EC and how to treat it. She got worse due to secondary infections and urine scalding. The quality of her life was not getting better and I chose to have her euthanized. She was sent off to a lab for a necropsy and blood titer that found lesions in her brain and spinal cord. This concluded EC as her diagnosis.

If it is EC Baytril will do no good unless there are secondary infections. Other people have found Fenbendazole to be the go to treatment. I use Safeguard for Goats (100mg/ml) and dose it to 20mg/ml. This is what the small animal book says at my vets office for treatment.
 

majorv

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It's important to get the xrays so you know whether it's an injury or possibly EC. If it's an injury you need to restrict the bunny's movement to prevent further injury and the metacam will help with the inflammation. If it isn't an injury then EC is a real possibility and like woahitsme said, the 'go to' treatment is fenbendazole, which you can get at a feed store or Tractor Supply. Your vet can give you the dosing based on your bunny's weight.
 

Sue G

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I took him back to the vet this morning. X-rays were offered at the last visit but I honestly cannot afford it. Vet manually checked his spine and watched his movement and though couldn't conclude it wasn't a spinal injury said she was thinking EC over spinal injury. I got Panacur, Metacam and another antibiotic (starts with an A) for any sort of secondary infection that might be present. I'm hoping the Panacur will work and he starts getting movement back. Thanks.
 

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