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head tilt in a rabbit

(15 Posts)
Miltonia Fri 28-Sep-12 14:29:38

My beautiful lop eared house rabbit has got head tilt. She has been on antibiotics for four weeks and a week of anti inflammatories but she is getting worse not better. In the last week she has been falling more and more and she isn't eating very well. The vet doesn't think she can do anything and that all I can do is keep her comfortable.

Does anyone have any experience of this and any advice? I have trawled the internet but there doesn't seem to be very much helpful advice out there.

My worry is that she is in pain, but can't tell me. She seems so sad and lethargic and it is breaking my heart.

Miltonia Fri 28-Sep-12 15:41:13


Lozislovely Fri 28-Sep-12 16:37:43

I really wish I could say something positive but unfortunately I went through this two years ago.

The chances are your bun probably isn't in pain at the moment. You need to watch out for any sign of fitting. Like you, our bun was on antibiotics, struggled to run round but was eating normally.

Then one morning I went to let him out of his hutch and he literally couldn't stand up. Rushed to the vets who said that the infection had got to his brain and nothing more could be done sad

There is a chance that your bun will be fine and I am keeping everything crossed for you. Head tilt is a horrid horrid thing and its awful to watch your bun go through it.

Good luck.

Miltonia Sat 29-Sep-12 01:49:09

Thank you for the reply Loz, I am sorry you went through this too. I will just have to watch and wait.

Naoko Sat 29-Sep-12 02:11:20

Poor bunnysad I must preface this with Rhee fact I know little about rabbits and I've never had one. However I have rats and head tilt is not uncommon. When a rat has symptoms like that and they Won't respond to antibiotics (if it does, it's usually an ear infection), the cause is generally assumed to be a tumor in the pituary gland, which is sadly very bad news. I do not know if this applies to rabbits as I'm not a vet, but in rats the best way top keep them comfortable is with a combination of antibiotics and steroids. The poster above is right, eventually they start fitting and losing their balance completely, it's horriblesad I do not think it is painful, but i have seen animals get very distressed because they could bit tell which way was up. Also, rats east by sitting on their hind legs and holding their food, and when their balance goes they stop being able to eat. This may be less of an issue for a bunny, though.

Sorry i can't bring you a happier story. Give the bunny a scritch for me.

Naoko Sat 29-Sep-12 02:12:57

Excuse the shocking typing, trying to get used to new phone keyboard....

Miltonia Sat 29-Sep-12 02:17:51

Thanks for your message Naoko, it does sound similar. It isn't ear infections as the vet has ruled that out. The vet thinks it is in her brain and that there is nothing to be done. Our vets doesn't have x-ray facilities though and I am wondering if I should look for another vets that does. However the bunny gets distressed visiting the vet (all the huge dogs in the waiting room don't help) so I don't want to drag her around unnecessarily, especially to a strange surgery that she doesn't know.

Naoko Sat 29-Sep-12 02:27:11

In rats there's essentially bugger all you can do about tumors In the brain, xray or no, so I have no experience. I don't know if that's different for rabbits, I'd certainly phone and ask before dragging her over for one. It might be worth asking about steroids though, they wont cure but they might help keep her comfortable.

Miltonia Sat 29-Sep-12 03:43:28

Good idea- I will phone them now and ask.

Lozislovely Sat 29-Sep-12 12:47:53

We were given steroids too but as you mention they can only be given for a short while.

I asked about surgery but was told its a no no on small animals and especially rabbits as they don't respond well to any type of surgery.

I hope your bun is doing ok today.

Miltonia Sat 29-Sep-12 14:56:23

Bunny is much the same today, eating ok but falling over lots. Her heart rate seems slower than usual- I don't know if that is a good sign or a bad sign.

Dillydollydaydream Sat 29-Sep-12 15:01:12

Poor bunny sad hope she's not distressed by it.

Lozislovely Sat 29-Sep-12 15:43:58

The heart rate thing is a tricky one. She could just be feeling more at ease with the head tilt and if she's moving around less then the rate will slow.

I think a racing heart would be more of a concern as it could suggest she was feeling more anxious.

Fingers crossed for you and bun x

Miltonia Sat 29-Sep-12 16:34:21

Thanks Loz and Dilly, she is resting at the moment and seems calm.

Lozislovely Mon 01-Oct-12 19:42:16

Hi Milt, just checking in to see how bun is doing and hoping she's doing we'll.

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