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Old 04/15/13, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 40
Rabbit dragging back legs

I have a 10 week old flemish buck that I just bought a couple days ago. He was perfect until this morning.... He is dragging his back legs. He can move his feet but he acts like he is weak in the hind quarters. Has anyone ever had this happen? Should I confine him to a small area? I've read about a parasite that causes this problem. Should I start treating with some kind of wormer? What should I do? Thanks in advance.
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Old 04/15/13, 12:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 466
If you think it might be worms you can treat with either panacur or pumpkin seeds for 14 days using 1 teaspoon per day(unsalted), is it possible he hurt himself, was he real hyper "bouncin around the cage" because he can still move his feet, I would not think paralysis, most paralysis I have seen in rabbits is complete loss of motor function in the back end. try containing him to a small area for a day or 2 and see if he gets any better, you can support a rabbit with spinal injuries using towels and hay. you will also have to check and clean his "private areas" rabbits cannot lift properly to urinate or defecate without getting it on themselves. good luck sorry about your bun.
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Old 04/15/13, 12:25 PM
scarlet812's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Minnesota Home for the Bewildered
Posts: 186
I'm a newbie, so all I can tell you is what I found when I tried Googling the symptoms. It's not encouraging, I'm sorry to say.

Is the parasite problem this one: "Nosema is caused by a protozoan (one-celled) organism - Encephalitozoon cuniculi..." There are a number of symptoms that go along with this, and the page said young ones almost always get it from the mother. Drug info for trying to treat Nosema [Panacur is a brand name for febendaezole]:

Very sudden onset symptoms like what you describe seem to be more likely to be a bruised (hopefully not broken) back.

"Follow the guidelines given by the vet. If you don’t use a vet...

-Immobilize your rabbit very carefully in a very tight rabbit carrier for several weeks and/or months, to see if any function returns.

-Place the rabbit in normal upright resting position, with feet underneath it, in a bed of hay.

-Pack the hay on the sides of the rabbit as well - think of it as a ‘hay cast’ instead of a plaster-of-paris cast.

-Ensure it can reach food and water

You’ll need to check the rabbit’s hind end every day to ensure it stays clean. Any loose stools need to be cleaned away from its undersides and out of the carrier. Failure of your rabbit to pee and poo on its own is a strong argument for simply euthanizing the animal.

If after a few weeks there is no improvement, the usual next step is to euthanize the animal."

I did see one person say they had a doe who presented much like what you're describing with yours and she was better within a few days, so I guess try the confinement and supportive care and see what happens after a few days. I hope he gets better - since he's so young, maybe he has a better shot at recovery?
The Gaustad's Homestead-in-Progress, Houston County, MN
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Old 04/15/13, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 40
Thanks Scarlett.
Jolly Rabbit, all i could find was panacur for horses. Idk how much to give. I also found a liquid fenbendazole for goats and safeguard fenbendazole alfalfa pellets for cattle... Idk what to get or how much to give...
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Old 04/15/13, 01:06 PM
Caprice Acres's Avatar
AKA "mygoat"
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: MI
Posts: 12,296
E. cuniculi usually surfaces in head tilt, but can cause other neurological symptoms as well. Generally the generally accepted idea is to treat with ivermectin. Pretty sure high doses on a regular basis is the normal treatment, though I've never had to do so.

I would suspect that an antiprotozoal (such as baycox, toltrazuril) may be effective but this is just a thought and I've never had a chance to try it myself.

However, there are other reasons to see them dragging their back legs.

One fairly common reason is simply injury. Since he's new, perhaps something he's not used to startled him. One thing bunnies do when they panic is run around their cage really fast in a circle - something we call a 'bunny blender'. Broken backs, necks, legs etc can occur.

I once had a doe start dragging her HQ's around. Never did figure it out, but she never showed anything that indicated was in pain - kept eating/drinking and was healthy otherwise, nursed her kits and did move about in her cage. When handled she never showed any pain response. Once her kits were old enough to wean, I put her down.
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Caprice Acres

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Old 04/15/13, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 466
the panacur is for horses, use a bb sized amount on a wood stick and push it in the side of his mouth, it will force him to lick it up.
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Old 04/15/13, 07:08 PM
scarlet812's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Minnesota Home for the Bewildered
Posts: 186
Here's another info link:

This is the public section of the site all the veterinarian's I've worked with use, VIN, Veterinary Information Network. Vets pay for membership to the VIN site, but they have this public side - this is the best site, IMO, for accurate medical info.
The Gaustad's Homestead-in-Progress, Houston County, MN
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Old 04/15/13, 09:51 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 40
Thanks everyone. I'm gonna try panacur and see if it helps. It's worth a shot.
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Old 04/16/13, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Washington
Posts: 51
My pet bunny, A'Lula (grandma to my breeding doe) had this happen. She was a house bunny, living with other house bunnies. She started dragging her legs. She had a back xray (and found nothing) and was put on anti inflamitories for a month. It didn't help, so I never renewed the Rx. This was about 5 years ago. She lives in the barn now, and has had mostly good days. Sometimes she drags, or is stiff in her back end, but she can walk (and sometimes hop). She cannot jump onto things though. She eats, drinks, poops, walks and cleans herself just as well as any of the other rabbits I have. She is 8 years old now.

It could be a strained muscle or pinched nerve. In addition to the panacur, maybe put him in a quiet place so he can rest/relax & maybe he'll start walking again?

Also, I had a flemish, and my current doe is a flemish x mutt, and neither of them have had issues like that.
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Old 04/18/13, 09:10 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 14
I've seen a few of my herd develop this, and it was always in rabbits that were allowed to run outdoors, living on the ground, during May-June. The problem almost always corresponded to the presence of a parasitic larvae we always called "screw-worm" that I believe is a species of botfly. The larvae would bore a hole to the outside of the rabbit somewhere around the groin. I always wondered if it wasn't hitting a nerve. Some animals responded to treatment, but some remained weak in the back end, and some died. Paralysis was only partial in all cases, with a gradual onset of unsteadiness or weakness in the back end.
We stopped allowing any of the rabbits access to the ground in the Spring, and we never had the problem again.
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Old 04/19/13, 08:40 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 40
Guineatech, he has never been on the ground... Did you treat them with anything? I've been using panacur everyday for the last 5 days. I don't see any change in him at all. Does anybody know how long it takes to recover from this or do they usually die? Thanks
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