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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11510
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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We have a new zealand rabbit. the rabbit is lethargic, with

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We have a new zealand rabbit. the rabbit is lethargic, with crusty eyes and yellow nose discharge. Has little interest in food or water. Abdomen is not distended, and has nothing that feels like a gas bubble. Rabbit seemed a little down yesterday. ears were hot to touch. Gave her 15mg Ibuprofen as a fever reducer at 5pm last night, and 5am this morning. Currently unable to get her to vet until tomorrow, any ideas of possible illness and mitigation strategies?


rabbit weighs 5.5 lbs ... 7mg per kg Ibuprofen as per

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a biologist with over 30 years experience breeding and showing rabbits. I would like to help you today. Some additional information will be useful.

How much does Rosie weigh?

When did she last eat? What did she eat?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Rosie weighs 5.5 lbs.


Last food was dandelion greens, yesterday at 430. greens are from pesticide-herbicide free yard.


Last night my daughter tells me she noticed Rosies head tilting as well

Thank you for getting back to me. With the added symptom of head tilt, Rosie is exhibiting symptoms of 3 different illnesses. I’m working on your answer and will post it as soon as I have it typed up.(I'm not a fast typist). Please don’t respond to this post as that can lock me out of the question. I’ll be back shortly.

Thank you for waiting. First of all, Rosie is critically ill, and the sooner she can see a vet, the better. From your description she has a respiratory infection, vestibular disorder, and gastro-intestinal stasis. Of the three, stasis is the most immediate threat to her life. Any time a rabbit quits eating for more than 12 hours, it is considered a medical emergency. The whole digestive system simply shuts down when there is no food in the system, and that can be fatal in just a few hours. You're on the right track with stomach massage, but there are some other things you can do. You can buy some infant's simethicone at a pharmacy or discount store. Use the syringe to put several drops in the side of Rosie's mouth - not straight down the throat. This is a very safe medication that breaks up gas into small bubbles that can be passed. It's nearly impossible to overdose. To prevent dehydration, also get some Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human children). Give Rosie a syringe of that - just a few drops at a time - once per hour. If she is passing droppings, you can also syringe-feed her. Crush some pellets to a fine powder and mix with enough water to make a slurry. Again, put it in the side of her mouth. If she is not passing any droppings, give her Pedialyte and simethicone, but no food. If there is an intestinal blockage, adding food can make the situation worse.If there's any way at all that it's possible, it would be best for Rosie to see a vet tonight. This link will take you to a directory of rabbit vets:

Head tilt is caused by vestibular disease.Vestibular disease 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, tumors, strokes, and injuries, to name a few. You are going to need an experienced rabbit vet to figure out exactly what is going on and begin an appropriate treatment. The sooner treatment begins, the better the prognosis. In the meantime, put your rabbit in a place where she'll be safe. It's easy for a rabbit with this condition to injure itself, so place padding on the bottom and sides of her enclosure. Here is a site that will tell you about vestibular disease, including how a vet may treat it, and what you can do at home to increase your rabbit's chances of recovery.

The nose and eye discharge are most likely caused by a respiratory infection. However, a dental problem is not out of the question.Such infections are often referred to as "snuffles." Snuffles can be caused by several different bacteria. You'll need to take your bunny to a vet for treatment with antibiotics. Untreated, an upper respiratory infection can get steadily worse, resulting in pneumonia or chronic sinus problems. Here is a site where you can read much more about these infections:

Rabbits and antibiotics are a very touchy combination. There are some antibiotics that should never be given orally to a rabbit. Amoxicillin is one of them. It often has fatal results. Here are lists of safe and unsafe antibiotics:

If you can’t find a rabbit vet near you, you may want to print the lists out to take with you to whatever vet you see.Again, I would make an appointment as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can wipe the nasal discharge from her nose and face if she's not able to clean it off. It could make her skin sore. Just use a soft cloth or paper towel moistened with warm water. If you have a vaporizer or a nebulizer, you can run it in your rabbit’s room. These are all supportive measures only; they won’t cure anything. Rosie must see a vet for that.

With Rosie's complicated health picture, I would discontinue the ibuprofen. I know some websites recommend it, but it can have unexpected side effects in animals. Rabbits with stasis can get too cold, while snuffles can cause a fever. This situation is just too complex to administer something that may not be helpful at all.

If you have further questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope you can quickly get help and that Rosie will be fine.


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