Dislocation and Paralysis in Rabbits



If your rabbit is displaying severe paralysis or weakness, and is not able to move or cannot utilize bladder or bowel movements, inpatient care will probably be necessary. Even if you are able to provide home care for your rabbit, activity is often limited to bed rest only. Your rabbit will need to be kept still while it recovers from its injury, with frequent turning to prevent bed sores from forming on the skin (a condition caused by the body lying in one position for too long). Home care will require making sure that the bedding is frequently changed, and a careful diet that is structured to prevent the rabbit from becoming cachectic (a wasting of the body that is caused by loss of appetite). Most rabbits will require hand-feeding during this time, until they are able to feed themselves again.


Your veterinarian may also find it appropriate to prescribe a gastrointestinal agent for your rabbit to protect the stomach lining and reduce the risk of ulcer formation. To help your rabbit through the painful process of healing, pain killers can be prescribed to help reduce its discomfort.


Antibiotics are only advised if secondary infections are present, as their use can be controversial due to secondary complications that have been associated with their use.


Living and Management


The final prognosis is guarded and is dependent on the severity of the trauma and your rabbit's ability to eat and physically recover following the inpatient or home based care. Specially designed wheeled carts may be available for rabbits that recover but that still suffer from long-term paralysis, or paresis (partial paralysis) due to the trauma. Most rabbits with severe trauma to the spinal cord do not regain full mobility, and in some causes euthanasia may be the only humane option.