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Our Lionhead rabbit is over 6 years old. He has recently…

Customer Question
Our Lionhead rabbit is...

Our Lionhead rabbit is over 6 years old. He has recently been eating less, we find him laying on his side, he is not grooming himself and we are having to bathe him to keep him clean.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the rabbit. What is the rabbit's name?

Buster

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Buster?

Possible lump oh his side

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Pet
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Very lethargic as well
Answered in 5 hours by:
11/26/2017
Pet Specialist: Dr. B., Veterinarian replied 7 months ago
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 23,224
Experience: I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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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 wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Again I do apologize that my colleagues could not aid you sooner, but can you tell me:

Is he eating and drinking at all at this point?

Will he get up when stimulated and move normally?

Any odd flickering of his eyes (as if he were watching tennis), head tilting, or tremors?

Any chance of a head trauma or access to toxins?

Are his gums/inner eyelids pink or pale/white?

Is that lump firm or fluidy?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Is he eating and drinking at all at this point? A smaller amount than usualWill he get up when stimulated and move normally? Yes, but one of his paws he moves less & when touched he starts lickingAny odd flickering of his eyes (as if he were watching tennis), head tilting, or tremors? NoAny chance of a head trauma or access to toxins? NoAre his gums/inner eyelids pink or pale/white? Pink
Is that lump firm or fluidy? Firm and the same side as the paw he doesn’t move as much. He also starts licking a ton when you touch the lump. The lump is also kind of bumpy.
Pet Specialist: Dr. B., Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

Hello again,

Since the lump is on the same side as the affected paw, would you say its close to the spine? Or is it more midline or towards the belly?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
More towards the front chest area armpit to armpit
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Actually I just felt it again and it’s on his back side as well.
Pet Specialist: Dr. B., Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

Thank you,

Now I am quite concerned about Buster. Appetite decline puts him at risk of GI stasis, an emergency situation for rabbits he really does not need on top of his other signs. That said, if this lump is in the chest/armpit area on that side, I suspect its the pain of it that is making him reluctant to use that leg as opposed to nerve/spinal issues. Furthermore, given that licking (a sign its irritating him likely due to the skin being stretched over it), I would be most suspicious its an abscess (bacterial infection). We can see enlarged lymph nodes there but usually they don't have associated signs like this.

With this all in mind and given how delicate rabbits are, it would be ideal to have him seen. If this is a tracking abscess, it could explain how diffuse it is but there is risk it could compress the nerves to that leg. And if severe, we can see bacterial toxins leech into the blood causing them to feel even more poorly. If we can get a local vet to see him, they can sample this and start antibiotics if an abscess is confirmed. At the same time, they can check for stasis and potentially use pain relief, pro-motility drugs, +/- fluids to offset that. Furthermore, they can dispense a critical care feed. Very good products for this is Oxbow’s Critical Care feed or Supreme Recovery diet and most vets will be able to provide this to you. This is a highly nutritious herbivore feed that can be easily made into a slurry for syringe feeding. Any delay in getting that and we can at least start syringing veggie baby food with canned pumpkin and his pelleted feed crushed into it. That way we can keep him eating properly and with it keep his guts moving.

Overall, this sounds like an abscess causing Buster pain. So, we do want him seen for that especially if we have the risk of appetite loss and stasis. Any delay and our focus has to be on keeping him eating but we'd really want his local vet involved so we can get him onto antibiotics to get this settled.

If you don’t already have an exotics vet, you can find one near you at http://www.aemv.org/vetlist.cfm, http://www.guinealynx.info/vetlist.html or @ http://rabbit.org/vet-listings/ as these vets usually will see pocket pets as well.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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Pet Specialist: Dr. B., Veterinarian replied 7 months ago

Hello again,

If its in that region, then its an abscess, as lymph node issues tend to be lower placed. That said, its possible there is some associated soft tissue inflammation as well (I cannot rule out a fracture but it sounds less likely if the swelling isn't involving the leg itself). And both concerns would make him less keen to move that leg since it would pull on the muscles/skin in the affected area.

Best wishes,

Dr. B.

******************************************************************************

I aim to provide best care for you just as I do for my own clients & their pets. If you have any other questions, please ask – I’m happy to help but please rate me with the **STARS** (or leave a written rating of 1-5; 5 being great) as this is the only way I am credited for my work by the site & this allows me to continue to help here. This is included in your question fee. Once you rate, your question will not close & you can still ask follow-up questions. Thank you. : )**

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