What is wry neck?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Terri, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    OK, I have an ulterior motive here. I am pretty sure that the family pet rabbit has had a stroke.

    He is weak all along one side, and he is holding his head twisted to the side. It started with weakness in the hind leg, and then progressed to the head-twist thing. He is about 7 years old.

    It is my personal opinion that Peter has hopped his last hop, but because his head IS twisted so that his ears are paralel to the ground, I though that I would prevail apon you ladies: What is wry neck?
     
  2. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

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    I'm glad you posted - don't give up hope on the rabbit yet! From what you say, I don't think it's a stroke. It's a condition called "head tilt" and while it is very weird and disorienting, it isn't painful. With supportive care, if you're willing to do it, it doesn't have to be life-threatening either.

    There's some controversy about whether it's caused by an inner-ear infection or a rabbit-specific brain parasite. I had a rabbit go through a very severe case (she couldn't even stand up) and still don't know what the cause was. We had her on antibiotics, but I'm not sure whether they did the trick or whether it just needed time.

    We syringe-fed her baby food for awhile and gave her water in a bowl because she couldn't drink from the bottle. We also moved her into a carrier cage lined with towels, so she wouldn't hurt herself when she was rolling. Sounds like your case is somewhat less severe, so that may not be necessary. Even though our case was very severe, the rabbit did recover, her head eventually straightened out completely, and she lived for three more years very happily.

    Depends on how much time and effort you're willing to put in. It can be time-consuming. Our vet said "it wouldn't be a wrong decision to put her to sleep," but I'm glad we didn't.
     

  3. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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  4. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Thank you for your advice. In the hopes that Peter could be helped, I took him to a small animal vet.

    Alas, there was no sign of illness, infection, back injury, or listeriosis (?). And, he is our only rabbit and he has not been exposed to other rabbits.

    The NEXT most likely cause was a brain tumor. She was willing to run farther tests, and treat for this, but Peter is 7 years old and it sounded like the treatment would be hard on him with litle chance for a normal life.

    And, so, Peter has passed peacefully on. It is better that way. Technically, he passed on in his sleep, and this is what I will tell the kids.

    I have always received good advice on this board, and I do thank you. This has been a good place to come to for advice.

    Peter was not one of my favorite pets, but he WAS a lot of fun, and we enjoyed having him. HE was a good rabbit.
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Pat, that website is AWSOME!

    I find it especially interesting wwhen they say that dehydration seems to be a factor. I have suspected for the past year that Peters kidneys were not in perfect working order. His water intake has doubled in the past year, and so has his urine output. We have been giving him more soda crackers to give him more salt, but this may not have been enough.

    We have taken care of dogs with kidney troubles, but I decided agains doing such an elaborate treatment for a rabbit. It sounds a little cold, but the dogs were my buddies while Peter was a pet. If that makes sense.
     
  6. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

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    That web site was a great help to me when my rabbit was sick, and there wasn't much else I could find about e. cuniculi at the time. Again, though, there's some controversy about whether wry neck is caused by e. cuniculi (which apparently exists in all rabbits and only becomes active in some) or infection. My vet also told me that a brain tumor was another possibility, and an animal in already weakened condition (in your case, the kidney condition) would be especially vulnerable to any of these causes.

    In any case, you gave your rabbit a good life and I'm sure he felt no pain when he went. It's so hard to decide what to do with an older pet like that. Had my head-tilt bunny been seven at the time, I'm not sure I would have been willing to go through (and put her through) so much.