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Home Forums HOUSE RABBIT Q & A Mystery illness, rabbit in Pain

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    Hi guys, I’m back after a very long absence from here because my little gorgeous girl Boonie has something wrong with her and I’m looking for other opinions on what could be going on.

    So Boonie is around 6-7 years old and has been mostly healthy her whole life apart from a eye leak problem that comes and goes and the vets don’t know why that is but is never really seems to bother her. I think it might be an allergy but don’t know what to.
    Anyway over the last few years she’s gotten thinner but has remained at the same weight for quite a long time, I think she’s just too picky with food. Lately I started sprinkling herbs on the hay and she now seems to be eating more, so that’s a win.

    So now the big problem, the last few weeks I started to find her butt was dirty. Her poop and pee is healthy but she was getting messy (mainly wet and stained)
    So I began cleaning her regularly and then last Friday I woke up, looked at her and my heart broke, she looks as though she couldn’t use her hind legs and was desperately trying to clean her butt but kept wobbling around instead. Went to the vet immediately where she started hopping around and making me look stupid. Anyway I wasn’t having a bar of that so I explained everything to the vet and she continued to examine Boonie and it wasn’t long b4 Boonie couldn’t keep the act going and the vet said that Boonie can use her legs but must be in so much pain that she just doesn’t want to ?
    So she went in for x Ray’s and blood tests but nothing was found, no injuries, kidney and liver healthy, doesn’t look like arthritis, no bone cancer, nothing showing up in the blood work except that her body seems to be fighting an infection.

    So I have a rabbit in what must be a lot of pain, fighting an unknown infection.
    She is now on tramodol and meloxicam for pain and inflammation management morning and night and I am also having to clean her butt area a lot cos she just can’t. Which again is mainly just wet and smelly, no poop stuck on her or anything.
    She seems a little better with the pain relief but is still hunching her butt in and not able to groom properly.

    So the vets, even though they are great rabbit savvy vets, they don’t know what’s going on.
    Her teeth are great, ears great, poo great, pee great, eating great, fur feels great.

    The vet said she can test for E cuniculi if I want to but still that usually causes paralysis and Boonie is not paralysed at all just very sore
    I don’t know what’s happening to my beautiful girl
    Any ideas?


    Are you sure it’s soreness and not motor problems? What you’re describing sounds like she is experiencing on and off instability in her hind end. To me, that would suggest a neurological problem (e.g. EC). I’m not a vet though. I’m just going off of the experiences of others here on BB. You can test for EC. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always come back positive when a bunny has EC. There are a lot of false negatives.

    There are some other things it could be as well. EC is just where my mind automatically goes to in these types of scenarios (EC-like symptoms, but not the classic textbook symptoms). If she doesn’t improve with the pain meds, it might be worth treating her for EC. There have been many cases on BB similar to yours where the vet isn’t sure, treats for EC anyway, and the bunny improves.


    I agree, I think it’s worth treating for EC. Member Asriel&Bombur’s bunny was recently diagnosed with EC, and his only symptom was excessively peeing on himself.

    I also had a previous bunny with EC, who was diagnosed when he excessively peed on himself, and then later developed hind leg weakness. Again, sometimes he could hop, and other times he would be dragging his legs behind himself, and was unable to balance to clean himself.


    I will get her looked at for EC and treated for that
    I should also say that since going to the vet and starting the pain killers she has been better and has not gotten any worse. She definitely can run and gets around a lot. She’s been eating more too
    And is definitely stronger as she now fights a bit when getting medication as she’s always hated that. B4 the pain killers she had little to no fighting strength

    It seems to be the act of stretching out her back legs that she doesn’t like to do, though I know she can
    And also getting her head down there to clean up

    She’s been happier since starting medication too


    I just noticed that some of her toes are a bit swollen at the base of the nails on her front feet ?
    Another painful thing for her to deal with. I’m guessing it’s bcos of her weird hunched stance.
    She currently doesn’t lie down anymore, just stands in a hunch all the time

    Deleted User

    Hello! I’m the member S&L was talking about with the peeing bunny I think it’s great the pain killers are working to a point, but if she’s hunched they aren’t really working that effectively. Bombur does have EC and has incontinence and mild hind leg weakness. He can still hop around, but anything more than 1-2 inches is a bit of an effort for him. It’s a good idea to get her tested, but keep in mind that EC can yield a false negative test result, and the test is a little pricey. I think my vet charged $300 for the test, and I held out on a two week course of antibiotics for a UTI before I went ahead with it. If the result comes back as a negative, I still think asking for the treatment is better safe than sorry. The treatment is way cheaper than the test too. It’s usually a 28 day course of Panacur or Oxibendazole or a similar drug. Good luck


    I am thinking is worth trying the ec treatment either way
    Unfortunately having just spent a $1000 on her I have to wait till next week to get more done, I hope she’s not in too much pain until then
    This morning she came running up to me, and stood on her back legs to reach up to me, so that’s a positive sign. Though she went back to her hunched stance shortly after.
    Yesterday I picked her some fresh dandelion and I don’t know if that helped a little with her health but I think I’ll keep doing that in case that’s what is giving her the strength to run and stand up like that

    Anyway fingers crossed
    I hate seeing her in pain


    The specialist called me
    She had a look at the X-rays and says she thinks Boonie has a problem with her spinal discs
    And that I should get further imaging done at like $2-4000 and then surgery for about $10000
    That’s a lot of money
    And I can’t afford that

    She said I can put her on higher strength pain killers and try to just make her life comfy
    If I can’t afford the surgery

    Don’t really know what to do

    I was thinking maybe get a go fund me page and source the money. I don’t know how they really work tho

    Ahh poor Boonie


    $10,000? plus $4,000? That sounds like an absolutely crazy amount. I’ve never heard of surgery for a bunny costing that much. My insurance wouldn’t even cover that, it’s a maximum of £2000 a year. I think it’s worth seeking a second opinion.


    I agree with S&L to get a second opinion. Vet care can be expensive but $14,000 does sound quite crazy.


    Yeah I’m not sure what to do
    Unfortunately there are not many rabbit savvy vets here so even though it’s expensive I trust them to help her

    I have an appointment Thursday and I’m thinking for now to get her on the better pain killers
    And I still can’t rule out ec in my mind so I want to talk to them about that and see if I can treat her for that whilst on pain killers, I don’t know if they mix well ?

    And then I will probably have $1000 soon to get her a Mri and hopefully that’s enough for them to see if she needs the surgery. To get a cat scan is the $2000-$4000 scan, but I’m hoping the mri would be enough

    And I’m thinking of trying out crowdfunding for the surgery if it comes to that. And hopefully I’d get an estimate on that that’s lower then 10000 cos I think 10000 was like the worse case senario price. There is only 1 other rabbit vet here and she usually is more expensive so ?

    But good news is Boonie is moving around more and really starting to enjoy butt cleans and cuddles. She’s looking much happier every day, I don’t know how but she is.
    And her biggest problem seems to be stretching out her hind legs and I caught her doing just that this morning which was a happy site for me


    I decided to start a crowdfunding page to try to source the money for boonies surgery
    I’m hoping it works

    It seems like a good idea,
    I’m thinking that the pain killers are working and her hunched posture might just be how she stands due to the back problems.
    She’s been running around a lot and has put on weight ?

    (Edited by Bam).


    I have removed the link. The Binky Bunny forum rules don’t allow fundraising. This is a screen shot of the relevant rules:

    Full list of forum rules can be found here:

    You could perhaps start an Instagram account for Boonie. Instagram permits fundraising (and so does Facebook).


    my netherland dwarf dwarf, also called bonnie has been experiencing all these systems. im alfraid that i might loose her. she’s only 3yrs old. she been to the vet multiple times and been on medicam, baytoral and panacure. please let us know any more info if you get it. id be very grateful. i wish yr bun a recovery.


    Lorree, what Boonie is suffering from reminds me of my dog’s condition. She has a lower back problem that started suddenly. One morning she couldn’t stand up, her hind legs didn’t work. This episode lasted an hour, and then she snapped back.

    There’s no real quick version but still: Our vet did a full investigation, CBC, normal x-rays, ultrasound of abdomen etc. Nothing. But she kept getting these weird attacks of very fast breathing and licking her paws, so we decided to have a CT done. Our dog insurance covered that. Turns out she had a problem with L7-S1 joint and the disc in between and some extra bone growth around where the nerves exit the spine. Typically age-and breed-related that fully explained her symptoms.

    Anyway, surgery was not deemed a good option. We have been managing it with anti-inflammatory meds and cold laser treatment. We have adjusted her physical activities (she still needs exercise but no wild playing with other dogs, she has a ramp to the car etc.) She’s had three episodes in total of the hind end not working, the first one + two that both occurred after she had been taken off the anti-inflammatories as a test. She has improved greatly. No more fast breathing episodes. No reluctance to go for walks etc. She seems happy, enthusiastic and “herself”.

    Anti-inflammatory meds has an immediate painkilling effect, but also a slower acting anti-inflammatory effect that often needs several weeks to take effect. The inflamed tissues need time to “calm down”. Once you get the inflammation under control you can often lower the dose of anti-inflammatories.

    Anyway, if you could manage Boonie’s pain with anti-inflammatory meds and perhaps do some light at-home-“physiotherapy” (very light massages, walking supported by a towel under her tum etc), she could heal. Ruptured discs do heal in most cases (unless you have a complicating condition like diabetes, obesity etc), even if it takes time.

    Boonie’s test did show there was an infection though, and that can’t be explained by a disc problem. So that would need to be addressed separately.


    Thanks Bam
    That’s very interesting what happened to your dog
    Boonie has been on meloxicam for just over a week so perhaps it needs longer to deal with the level of inflammation
    I’m quite happy with her progress on the pain meds and will keep at it whilst saving for the ct scan etc

    I’ve started holding her on my lap for about an hour, at least once a day, in order to give her some rest. I originally decided to do this based on worrying about her feet but I find that she spends all her time trying to hold herself up and that means she can’t quite relax. It doesn’t seem pain related, just that she feels the need to keep herself standing up. When I hold her she doesn’t have to worry about that and quickly falls asleep. So I think that helps her to get a good rest in each day,
    Maybe I’ll try a little massage whilst she’s sleeping on me


    Aww, poor thing. If the meloxicam doesn’t bring relief after it has built up in her system, you could consider an opioid like Tramadol. I’m trying to remember who here on BB has used it. They might be able to offer some input.


    It sounds wonderful that you let her spend an hour in your lap each day. It seems like she needs it and appreciates it. Oftentimes muscles respond to instability in the spine and stiffen up. It’s the body’s own natural way of trying to stabilize the spine, but it can lead to a sore-muscle problem on top of the joint problem. The muscular response can be so strong it actually keeps vertebrae locked in the wrong position. Hopefully the anti inflammatories will help with that too.

    I don’t know if you’re familiar with the website Disabled Rabbits. It’s a good website with tips and info for owners permanently or temporarily disabled rabbits. How to make their habitat suit their needs etc.


    Hey guys
    Just thought I’d write an update about Boonie

    So the vet said the surgery may not even help her which is sad but kind of a relief too, I mean any surgery on a bunny is scary but more so as they get older, Boonie being 7 years old now

    So this leaves me with a disabled rabbit. I think the biggest problem is that she has lost hind leg muscle which is causing her to not move as much and fall over and drag herself instead.
    We are starting physio tomorrow and I’m really hoping that will help. If she can get stronger leg muscles and start moving around better that would be amazing

    The back problem, I guess it will always be there but the vet said it is only a mild problem and is being managed with pain meds. Having no paralysis and having full bladder control etc is great. If her legs can improve then she would be almost normal again

    Her cecals have gone weird, big, round and smelly, I think maybe from medication.
    But she still eats them up so that’s good
    Also she is eating and pooping well in general

    I starting putting baby socks on her because it keeps her feet dry and protects them when she drags them around. She doesn’t seem to mind them either.

    I’m keeping her little butt as clean as possible, with twice daily washes. And cream for urine scald. She’s lost a lot of hair in that area but hopefully it grows back although currently it makes it easier to clean her.

    We been having lots of cuddles and she’s started licking me like crazy which she never used to do. So I think she’s loving all the extra love and care I’m giving her

    I’m so excited to get her into physio tomorrow
    Fingers crossed we can make her little legs better again


    I’m glad to hear she is doing better. Keep us updated on her progress!


    Aw, poor bunbun. It sounds like you’re doing everything you can and it’s so sweet that she’s becoming more affectionate with you. You must be a great comfort to her <3


    Boonie had her first physio session today and it went really well. I’m so happy. She is really optimistic about Boonie’s chances of improvement. And Boonie did so well today. She was even slightly better at the end of the session.

    So glad I took her to physio. I think it’s going to be the best thing ever
    Boonie actually seemed to enjoy it all too, although she was so tired afterwards, gorgeous little girl

    Also Boonie gave the physio a decent pile of poop too ?

    I’m just so happy right now, I feel like we’ve had a break thru, and that there is hope for some normality in Boonie’s future. Even the possibility of jumping again at some point. ?
    But that’s way off right now. But just seeing her move around and not fall over would be amazing right now and it could happen sooner then I thought.

    Gordo and Janice

    Wow, that is really great she is doing so well. I’ve never heard of physio for rabbits. That is so cool. Really hoping it brings about the desired results as well. Glad you two are spending some really great quality time together.


    Glad to hear it.


    Hi Lorree
    I’m only just catching up on Boonie’s situation. She is a lucky bun to have you! It is great the physio is helping some.
    Has the therapist mentioned cold laser treatment at all? I have read some feedback from owners that this therapy is beneficial.
    Here is a little more about it, if you like a read:


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