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Dr. Dan
Dr. Dan, Veterinarian
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I work at a rabbit rescue and on Sunday one of 7 three month

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I work at a rabbit rescue and on Sunday one of 7 three month old baby bunny starting having seizures. I noticed as she fell over backwards and was shaking. She was given some valium and pain killer which slowed down the seizures but they really never stopped. She died in the middle of the night. She has been with her siblings since day one and none of the other rabbits show any symptoms. She was the runt of the litter. Any ideas?

Thank you for your question, I'm Dr. Dan and I'll try to help you.

Unfortunately we'll never know for sure without a necropsy (animal autopsy). There are 3 more common possibilities however.

1). Because she was the runt of the litter if she was not suckling as well then she could have been hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This will cause seizures and death.

2). Since she was the runt she may be more susceptible to the parasite E. cuniculi. This parasite can be found in the brain and will cause seizures that don't stop. If that is the case then all rabbits in the group are affected but some will not ever show symptoms and some will have symptoms later in life.

3). She was born with a birth defect that finally showed itself and unfortunately it was not controllable.

I'm sorry for the loss of this little bunny!

Dr. Dan
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They did a necropsy today and found everything to look normal. My best guess is that EC would not show up without further testing? Would lab test or microscopic slides show the EC?

No EC would need to be noted on histopathology or samples sent to the lab in formalin. It would be very difficult even to the trained eye to pick it up on a standard lab microscope without special stains. They might also note brain swelling if it was low blood sugar too. However if the body was not keep cool but not frozen then the brain tissue is likely too rotten to see anything as the brain deteriorates pretty fast.

Dr. Dan