Diseases Affecting the Inner Ear Balance Systems in Rabbits



Based on the severity of the symptoms, your veterinarian will determine whether inpatient treatment is necessary. In case of trauma, anti-inflammatory drugs may be given to bring down swelling. Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent an infection, and intravenous fluids may be given to replace or maintain body fluids. If the cause is thought to be related to an adverse reaction to medications that your rabbit has been receiving previous to this condition, your doctor will recommend that you stop giving these drugs to your rabbit until a substitute can be found. Meanwhile, if the cause is related to a fracture or tumor of the inner ear, a resolution may be difficult to achieve, either by repair or removal, considering the constraints of the location.


Living and Management


You will need to protect your rabbit from stairs and slippery surfaces based on the extent of loss of balance, and provide a warm, quiet environment for your rabbit to recover in. Encourage return to safe activity as soon as safely possible, as activity may enhance recovery of vestibular functioning. If the rabbit is not too tired, encourage exercise (hopping) for at least 10-15 minutes every 6-8 hours.


It is important that your rabbit continue to eat during and following treatment. Encourage oral fluid intake by offering fresh water, wetting leafy vegetables, or flavoring water with vegetable juice, and offer a large selection of fresh, moistened greens such as cilantro, romaine lettuce, parsley, carrot tops, dandelion greens, spinach, collard greens, and good-quality grass hay. If your rabbit refuses these foods, you will need to syringe feed a gruel mixture until it can eat again on its own. Also, offer your rabbit its usual pelleted diet, but do not feed your rabbit high-carbohydrate, high-fat nutritional supplements unless your veterinarian has specifically advised it.