Disabled Rabbits

Posted in News You Can Use at 5:29 PM by Lori

Trevor’s front legs were crossing after he became disabled because of age-related arthritis. Using fleece toys as props, he was able to sit up comfortably to eat. Medications, syringe feeding, fleece beds and toys, waterproof pads and Snuggle Safe heating discs helped him to live his final weeks in comfort and dignity. Trevor passed away on Dec. 20, 2011, just a few months shy of his 11th birthday.

Duchess enjoys a sunbeam while Trevor has his breakfast.

Every year, hundreds of bunnies all over the world become disabled because of illness, injury, age, or other issues. This is not an automatic death sentence! With proper vet care and extra help at home, many disabled rabbits can live happy and well-loved lives.

Angel developed severe head tilt from e. cuniculi. With her balance mechanism not working properly, she rolled constantly and needed help with everything at first. Her recovery took a few months and included medications, syringe feeding, subcutaneous fluids and a padded enclosure. Now she is a healthy, happy girl, enjoying hopping around her enclosure, run time in the TV room or on the patio, and, most of all, her loving husbun, Cadbury.

Cadbury and Angel.

Some of the most common causes of disability are:

-Injuries to the spine because of trauma or disease

-Parasites Encephalitozoon cuniculi (common abbreviations are e.cuniculi, E.C. or just ec) or Baylisascaris procyoni (often called raccoon roundworm)

-Age related spondylosis, arthritis, or neurological issues

Hind Limb Weakness in the Rabbit, by Susan Brown, DVM

A happy Thumper getting her acupuncture treatment from Evelyn Sharp, DVM. Thumper was disabled for 5 of her 11 years.

Thumper and her first husbun, Lucindo.

A rabbit-savvy vet is a must when caring for a sick or disabled bunny. Please find one now, before they are needed, so you are prepared in the event that your bunny does become ill or injured.

Online resources such as webpages and chat groups can be a great source of information and support for you and your bunny.

House Rabbit Society has many informative articles such as this one – Caring for the Chronically Ill

Here is a great list of resources from Cats & Rabbits & More (with a link to Disabled Rabbits online group)

Medirabbit and Morfz are both websites every rabbit parent should be familiar with.

Thumper and her second husbun, Beau.

Finding your bunny injured or ill can feel like the end of the world. There are many people out there who have gone through this difficult time and are happy to help you with their knowledge and experience. With the help of your vet and the wider rabbit community, this can be a very special loving time with your rabbit. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Contact us with any questions you have and we will help you as best we can.

Last but not least, here is a wonderful article on Quality of Life by Marinell Harriman.