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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 20632
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My female rabbit (under 1 year old) is tilting her head back

Customer Question

My young female rabbit (under 1 year old) is tilting her head back like she is looking at the ceiling and breathing is labored and slower. She was able to hop around but now she is not able to use her back legs. Do you know what this could be?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner. If you would still like assistance, can you tell me:

How long has she had these signs?

Any history of trauma or access to toxins or dangerous plants?

What has she been fed?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
We originally built her a pen outside but she escaped and we were never able to catch her. We live on a couple acres and we could see her every morning from afar. She has been living outside for a couple months now. We leave water, spinach leaves, carrots and rabbit pellets outside for her to access but she could have eaten a dangerous plant. We saw her on Saturday under a tree just sitting there looking up at the sky as we got closer she didn't try to run away, instead she wants to be close to us. She we caught her and she has been inside since then. At first she was able to hop but now she can't move her lower half. She is eating some and drinking, peeing, pooping. She will open and close her mouth while looking up, and is wheezing now.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you,

Now I have to say I am quite worried here.

The signs you have reported are neurological and raise concerns of issues involving the brain. Toxins (from unsafe plants) and head trauma could cause these signs but we'd also be wary of infectious agents like viruses, bacteria, but also E.cuniculi (a protozoa of the rabbit that notoriously can strike young rabbits in this manner). And to hear that she cannot move her back legs now raises worries of one of the latter as the signs are progressing/worsening. As well, the wheezing may be related to a secondary mycoplasmic pneumonia.

In this situation, her prognosis for recovery is poor. Ideally, we'd want her seen urgently by the local rabbit vet. They can start antibiotics for the lung signs and try to treat for those other brain based issues (ie Fenbendazole against E.cuniculi, anti-inflammatories to reduce brain swelling, etc) to give her a chance but if she doesn't respond within 24 hours, we'd have to consider easing her suffering and letting her go.

If you don’t already have an exotics vet and wish to find one, you can do so via or

Kind regards,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. **Afterwards, please rate my service by clicking on the "Rate my Expert' button at the top of the page as this is the only way I am credited for helping you. Thank you for your feedback!: )

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. B.

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