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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11513
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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hi I have a 10 week old swiss fox rabbit who has been diagnosed

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hi I have a 10 week old swiss fox rabbit who has been diagnosed with wryneck. She has a middle ear infection and is on enrotril morn and night for 4 weeks at this stage.
The vet I took her too didnt know much about wry neck and alot of my consult was just guessing what to do next.I have been researching day and night and have been following barbi Browns Bunnies formulaon how to care for them .
Milly (my rabbit) was off her food and I was feeding her every 4 hours some critical care and some de_vetelac milk after about 3 days her appetite has come back but her neck seems very twisted.
I read on Barbis website that she had a 90 per cent success rate with giving the cow/sheep wormer ivomec.... so i copied what she said and crunched the numbers and gave her a dose 2 days ago... The very next day she was a little less lively but still eating on her own... Barbi also states that 3 days after the ivomec that she would get worse before she gets better. We are almost 3 days up and her neck is just so distressing to watch ...but she still gets around in our loungeroom and is eating and cleaning herself.. since her neck has twistwed more I havent seen her go to her water bowl?... I have been trying to contact the vet with no luck as to see if putting her on penicyllion would make a difference and if I can continue to give the metacam? she has had 4 straight days on it and then every second day and I was going to stop it ..but she just seems to be struggling with her neck.. but I know that too long on it is not real good for thier little tummies.... I feel like making a neck brace for her to keep her neck and head in the correct position but i dont know if this will stress her out or if it would help in correcting the neck?... So my questions are....1. would penicyllion be a better antibiotic?
2. do I continue with the metacam for pain?
3.and should I try to brace her neck?
4.have you had experience in this before?she is such a beautiful little thing and she seems happy and alert just except for her still givimg 2 feeds a day even though she is eating on her own... please help me :) thanks so much regards ,Jodie

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. I'm sorry to hear that your little Milly is having this awful problem. I have been raising and showing rabbits for over 30 years, and have had numerous experiences with wry neck. I'll try to answer your questions.

1. would penicyllion be a better antibiotic? No, it wouldn't. Rabbits are very sensitive to antibiotics, and some including this one often result in death when given orally. Here are two sites with good information on rabbits and antibiotics:

2. do I continue with the metacam for pain? It will more than likely be all right to do so, but the condition may not even be painful. It is neurological in nature, and while the twisted neck looks painful, it is probably disorienting and stressful, but not actually painful.

3.and should I try to brace her neck? No, the problem most likely is the result of something interfering with the brain's communication. Bracing the neck will only distress your rabbit a great deal.

4.have you had experience in this before? Yes, my vet and I use Barbi Brown's protocol, and have found it effective about 90% of the time. Panacur is another effective treatment. E. cuniculi is the most common cause of vestibular disease (wry neck), but there are other possibilities.It can originate in either the ear or the brain stem. There are many things that can go wrong in these structures that will cause the symptoms you are seeing. There are protozoal infections, bacterial infections, a disease spread by raccoons, strokes, and injuries, to name a few. When it doesn't respond to antibiotics and either Ivomec or Panacur, you will need an experienced rabbit vet to figure out exactly what is going on and begin an appropriate treatment. Here is a link to a directory of Australian rabbit vets:

If none of them are close by, see if your local vet would work by phone consultation with one of them to treat your rabbit. I hope you'll be able to find a solution for your rabbit. Let me know if you need anything else.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Anna, thanks for the rely, what else shall I do and how long before we start to see improvement if any with the neck?

How long do I continue with the metacam? is ok to keep going for a long period?

I have 4 weeks of antibiotics do I keep it going for that long?

She is so much better in herself when I give it. and is there anything else I can do or give?.

I have been softly massing her neck I just dont know what else I can do, I want to give her the best chance as she is still functioning quiet well considering..

I just want to let her have every chance possible.

Thanks Anna,

regards, Jodie



You're welcome, Jodie. Four weeks of antibiotics is fine. Sometimes it takes that long to knock out an infection. There is no definitive test for E. cunuculi. Diagnosis is usually made based on symptoms. That means a vet may be pretty sure that's the cause of the problem, but not 100% certain. That's one reason antibiotics are also prescribed - it will help if there's a bacterial infection. If your rabbit doesn't get better, it's possible that something else could be wrong, but more testing would have to be completed to determine what it might be. That might include x-rays, blood work, or other tests.

I do recommend that rabbits on any antibiotic, such as Baytril, be given probiotics (beneficial bacteria), so that's something you may want to add. A good brand called Bene-Bac is available in many pet stores and feed stores. You can also use the human liquid formulas if you find one that is non-dairy. They're usually available in health food stores. Using a probiotic decreases the chances that a rabbit will develop diarrhea caused by antibiotics.

Usually, Metacam is only used long term in rabbits when they are old and arthritic. If she actually seems to be in pain, go ahead with it, but otherwise, I would cut back.

You may also want to discuss with your vet the possibility of using Panacur or Ivomec for a longer term. In simple cases of E. cuniculi, I've often seen results in about a week. Once in a great while, there is a rabbit that needs these medications for a month. some rabbits don't respond at all to any medications. There's no way to predict ahead of time which rabbits that will be. All you can do is your best. I wish you success.

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