Sudden Paralysis in Rabbits! :(

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mshill90

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I have 4 Flemishes that free roam my back yard.

3 males, and 1 female. 2 of the males are brothers, and the male/female are brother/sister.

The 2 brothers are older, but only about 6-7 months old, and the brother/sister are 4-5 months old.

They all get along fine, and "burrow" together so to speak.

They have clean fresh bowled water every day, fresh pelleted food, free roam of whatever is in the yard (just grass and weeds), and a huge bail of both timothy hay and alfalfa.. they get fresh veggies several times a week, and fruits maybe once a week. They are spoiled!!

2 nights ago we had a really bad storm (thunder was extremely loud) and instead of my rabbits going into their huge pen, they go underneath our Central Air units base.. it's a concrete slab that sits about 16" off the ground. They have made this their "burrow".

Well, I came out yesterday to feed everyone, and I noticed Trixie, my female was laying under there, just passed out asleep. I thought it was funny, and just went about the day.. then my parents came over and my dad wanted to see the rabbits, so we went out to see them, and she was still under there.. Ok, maybe she's just really tired.. it wasn't hot out though.. Well, later on my husband goes out with the dog and says "man, trixie is lazy.. she's passed out under the AC." This was HOURS she's been under there.. so I went out and I knew something was wrong.

She is a very skiddish rabbit who doesn't like being touched or approached.. she didn't move to get away when I reached my hand in.. She was making faint noises, and I knew she was hurt. Pulled her out, brought her inside, and discovered that her back legs are paralyzed, and she can't urinate on her own.. So, I do a little research, and narrow it down to her getting startled by the storm, and jumping and hitting the concrete. So, I set something up inside for her.. make sure she's hydrated, and eating, and I learned how to expel her bladder. She's not grinding her teeth and she's not whimpering anymore. She's alert, and does try to be active.

Ok.. so I tell my husband it's either temporary or permanent, we just have to wait it out to see if it heals..

I come outside today to feed the other rabbits, and her brother Gordon is also having issues with his legs.. He can move them, he just loses balance in his rear and falls over. So, I scoop him up and bring him inside too.

**This is NOT head tilt btw**

Before I noticed her brother with this issue, I brought Trixie outside so that she could interact with the others and not feel as alone. One of the older males came over (Watson), and he started licking her face and ears and she was fine with it.. He went away, and a few minutes later the other male came over and she started whimpering and making loud type noises. Ok, weird. So I bring her inside.

I gave the guys outside some carrots, and Gordon was eating a piece, and the same male came over to him, and Gordon ran off like he was afraid.. This is new behavior for him. Normally he doesn't mind him.

So, I narrowed it down to 3 things that could have caused this paralysis:

1. Genetics- as they are brother and sister.. however, would this happen literally a day apart from each other?

2. Poison- I have mushrooms that grow in my yard as of this year, and sometimes I can't always pull them out before they get to them.

3. The older male rabbit being dominant and hurting them? The female was bitten on the neck by him once. However, there are no bites, scratches etc on either rabbits. And he doesn't bother his brother.


The LAST thing I EVER want to do is put these guys down. I plan on making them carts should this be permanent.

I just am so lost as to what actually happened.. Help?
 

missyscove

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This sounds like a situation that requires veterinary attention. I can't think of anything contagious that would cause paralysis.
 

mshill90

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I called my vet first this when I saw they were both like this, and she's kinda not sure as well. She said that there's not much that she can do, as IF it was hip displacement they would definitely be showing to be in distress/pain.. And since the other 2 are fine, she didn't think it was the mushrooms, but you never know.

She said it's most likely the dominant male, but without marks it's hard to tell.

I can't get them in until the weekend, but she said to just call her if anything changes in the mean time. She's a vet that specializes in small animals and livestock, so these guys are right up her alley.
 

Kipcha

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mshill90 wrote:
I called my vet first this when I saw they were both like this, and she's kinda not sure as well. She said that there's not much that she can do, as IF it was hip displacement they would definitely be showing to be in distress/pain..
It isn't quite true that if their hips were dislocated, they would be showing distress. When Flynn dislocated her hip, she went off her food a little and favored her leg but other then that, showed no signs of pain or distress, definitely less then you are describing here...

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4-AN11uITM&feature=plcp]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4-AN11uITM&feature=plcp[/ame]

As you can see, no real obvious distress other then her leg being held up.

I don't know what would cause so much as once though... Could there be a parasite or something?

Wishing you luck with these dear buns, keep us posted.
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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This sounds like it may be e.cuniculi which can show up in a variety of ways, but usually causes wry neck. In other cases, it can cause paralysis. I have to run to work, but here's a good article to read that talks a bit about it-

http://www.barbibrownsbunnies.com/ecuniculi.htm#SYMPTOMS

For now, I would recommend separating each of your rabbits and put them in quarantine off the ground. E.C. is environmental and they have all probably be exposed to it (if it's causing the paralysis). But by separating the bunnies, you'll have a step up on controlling it and possibly successfully treating those showing symptoms.
 

mshill90

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Update:

I called the vet again this morning, and she said that chances are it's a broken back on the female and to bring her in, but expect her to be put down.. So, in a crying weeping mess, I called my husband and he took her over.

She's got nothing broken, or nothing out of place. She has feeling in her rear, can move her tail, and she can poop on her own. She does still need help with her bladder.

She said she thinks that they could have been startled by something and because she is fairly young and smaller that she may have pulled some muscles and potentially pinched a nerve, which she has seen happen before.

She did not have me bring in the male, as she doesn't want further damage done in transport or anything since he is pretty mobile.

They are both confined.. him to a plastic dog crate, and her to a laundry basket until further notice. She wants them to just relax, stay hydrated, and she gave us some metacam for the inflammation.

I am to update her in a week.

As for it potentially being e.cuniculi... the ONLY symptom they have is the paralysis... other than that, they are still themselves. Eating, drinking, wanting to be active and such. The vet did mention this, but because it was literally an over night thing with no small symptoms before hand, she doesn't think it could be this.
 

Kipcha

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Well, you would not really see some of the other symptoms, such as increased water intake, more urination, increased appetite, etc. since they are living outside. Was e. cuniculi mentioned by the vet at all?
 

mshill90

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Yes, she mentioned it.. The symptoms on the page/link shared doesn't match with these guys, except for the rear paralysis.

I have both of the affected rabbits inside, and neither of them have increased water intake, or food intake.

Based on page/link.. it says they would dehydrate, and have decreased appetite, which they don't have either. They have free feed of hays, but not of pelleted food, so I am able to monitor that.. which I do like all my other pets.

She has seen e.cuniculi affected rabbits, but was sure that this was no it.

My vet is not an ordinary vet.. she's got her own practice with 1 receptionist.. she works on small animals (canaries, rodents, rabbits), cats/dogs, and live stock. She was a vet for the local shelter for 20 years. I've seen her do surgeries on many different types of animals- such as a turkey, a fawn, and even a gerbil.

However, I will mention it to her again if I see these guys getting worse, or just not getting better at all within the next few days.
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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mshill90 wrote:
As for it potentially being e.cuniculi... the ONLY symptom they have is the paralysis... other than that, they are still themselves. Eating, drinking, wanting to be active and such. The vet did mention this, but because it was literally an over night thing with no small symptoms before hand, she doesn't think it could be this.
Actually, the reason I thought it may be e.cuniculi is because of how suddenly this came on. A friend of mind had this sweep through her herd and it was very sudden. Rabbits who were otherwise healthy would seem to come up with symptoms at the drop of a hat. She actually lost a few to it.

Another reason I suspected it might be E.C. is because your rabbits live outside. E.C. is a parasite that is generally transmitted through the urine of infected animals. So if your rabbits are living outside, eating grass, etc., it is possible, if not probable, that they would be exposed to it at some point in time.

In some cases, healthy animals will not show symptoms, even if they are carrying the parasite. In other cases, you will see symptoms. In the cases I'm familiar with, the rabbits never showed ALL of the symptoms. It was typically either paralysis on its own, wry neck on its own, or anorexia followed by death. So just because a rabbit is only showing one symptom doesn't mean it's safe to completely rule it out. If I remember correctly, a blood test is what can be used to find the infection.

It is only something to consider, but definitely something I would recommend testing for just to rule it out. Paralysis by injury is always possible, but especially with more than one rabbit showing similar symptoms, E.C. is something to check for when possible. In some cases, it can be treated pretty easily. In others, it can take them pretty quickly. In the cases I've heard of, those with paralysis or wry neck were easier to treat. If the rabbit stopped eating/drinking, their chances were usually grim.

You could search around a little more on the internet for more info. That was just one article I happened to know of to quickly throw out there before I left.:)
 

Imbrium

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I'm so glad it's not a broken back! Nala, Gaz and I are hoping they start to improve very soon!
 

mshill90

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Well, there has been some improvement (IMO) in just 2 days time I think.

The rabbits are never alone, except for 3 hours in which my husband is at work, and I am not home yet...

When I came home, the female had a pile of poop near her butt, however, it had been the consistency of baby poop.. So I scooped her up, and took her to the bathroom. Laid her front half on a towel and hosed off her butt with warm water. Good thing the poop consistency was only from the stress of the car ride, cuz she's back to pellets now.. anyways, when I had her on her side with her leg lifted up, she did move her foot back, like she didn't like her foot being held.

Her brother, Gordon, was left out of the crate while I cleaned it, and he didn't seem to be as wobbly as he was yesterday. He seems to enjoy just laying around and not worry about anyone else bothering him, so that's also good.

The cats keep them both very clean too! :)
 

majorv

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It is kind of interesting that the female's paralysis coincided with a big thunderstorm. I was thinking some type ofinjury, too. I'm glad nothing is broken or out of place. If you start seeing improvement then it wouldn't be EC. That won't get better on its own.
 

mshill90

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My rabbits come from 2 different sources..

My 2 older male brothers came from a local breeder/shower who often sells her rabbits at a friends pet store. Their parents are registered and health certified.. the whole 9 yards.

My husband had really been wanting a Flemish for as long as I can remember, and it just happened to be that when I found out I was pregnant the pet store had these 2 guys in their store, and while they were kept in a nice big display room, it just wasn't ideal for them. So I drove down to get them as a "yay, you're gonna be a daddy" present.

They aren't the prettiest rabbits, but he liked them.

I however, wanted a fawn colored rabbit. Someone near by had some Flemishes that she bred (thought she could make money) and she was just too over whelmed, so I picked out 2 that I fell in love with. That's another reason I thought genetics, as they are pretty much just back yard bred rabbits-- but hey, all bunnies need love!

I was thinking that it's possible the storm scared her, which in turned scared the other, and instead of them running out the back of the AC unit base, they tried to squeeze through the front, which is not big enough for them to fit through anymore and maybe got stuck and panicked.

My husband is going to use the rest of our metal garden fencing and fence off the AC unit as a precaution.

I am hoping that them being inside also makes them less shy/scared and more people oriented. So far, they don't mind the attention, and they seem to seek it out when we are near by.
 

whitelop

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Do you have predators? Like hawks or owls?
I've been reading this since you put it up, but had nothing to add. I don't really have much to add other than, maybe you have a hawk or an owl that grabbed your buns and because they're so big, dropped them.
We have a pair of hawks here that are a little frightening. If you buns stay out all the time, then maybe the birds to prey could have been watching them and finally acted on their instincts. I know they have shelter and everything, but bunnies are prey animals.
So maybe? I know you said they didn't have any wounds on them and I don't know if they would have wounds from a hawk/owl. Thats just my suggestion.
I'm glad they're a little better though! Hopefully they'll get better every day!
 

mshill90

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The only predators we have are crows and they would more likely eat one of my turtles outside as opposed to a rabbit.

However, my husband texted me this morning that he went out and Sherlock, one of the bigger rabbits, was eating a mushroom and is now acting rather lethargic.... I think I have found the culprit.

I always pull them up but these literally popped up over night.

Had my husband pull them and today when I get home I will be treating the yard with natural things rabbit safe to rid of these.

On a side note: Trixie is trying to pee on her own and had a little more movement this morning.
 

christinebunnies1

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Hi there, I hope your littlel girl improves - I think it might be an injury - perhaps a muscle injury - I am just thinking that maybe she pulled a muscle going from the bladder to the leg area. You mentioned she was skiddish so I am thinking she paniked during the thunderstorm and possibly pulled her muscles from her bladder to her legs and it hurts so she was whimpering poor little sweetie. This can get better slowly - keeping her inside to be monitored and taking good care of her is an excellent idea. As for the mushrooms - well I hate mushrooms on the lawn - when I go out to pick greens for my bunnies I totally avoid picking anywhere near them because I just dont trust them at all and think they might be toxic to bunnies - I know bunnies can have a lot of fun outside but there is just so many things that can happen to them outside - like Morgan mentioned about predators and that is the big number one concern but there are so many other things - rabbits being so sensitive - I think all bunnies should live inside the house as house pets - there are so many things outside we cant control. A long time ago when I was young I had a doe and she had babies - well I took the babies to the pet shop to show them and then brought them back home and gave them back to her - well she got mad at them and chased and bit them before calming down and accepting them again - well one of the little bunnies had both of her legs paralysed - she couldnt move her back legs at all - I didnt know what to do so I just separated her and in a few hours she was hopping again like nothing happened so I am guessing that the biting on her thigh area or her running away frantically had hurt her muscles and so she couldnt move her legs for a while - well maybe your little girl has pulled her muscles on her entire pelvic area and that takes perhaps a few weeks to heal. Even in us humans when we pull a muscle it takes quite a while before we can properly use that area again without any pain. I am so glad she didnt break her back - so so so glad. I wish you all the best and your doing all you can for her recovery and they are all very lucky to have you for their mommy. God bless you all. Keep us updated on her condition - I hope and pray she will be back to her normal self soon.
 

whitelop

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I don't think a crow could or would do something like that. We have crows that live in our yard and they don't bother anything. We have outside cats and chickens, they don't bother them. I don't know anything about mushrooms, so maybe that could be it. I was just wondering about the predatory birds around you. Hopefully you've figured it out with the mushrooms. And I'm glad you're girl is doing better! I know, the mushrooms here come up within a few hours it seems like. Its like there's none when you walk into your yard then you come back a little while later and BAM there's a mushroom patch!
 

christinebunnies1

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Yes, that is definetly true about mushrooms - they just pop up overnight or even sooner it seems and you dont know if they are poisionous or not. I wouldnt trust any mushrooms with a bunny. They have such sensitive tummies.
 

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