Mysterious bunny death--Wobbling side to side and Seizure

by P.J.
(Pittsburgh, PA)

I had a 5 year old male Mini Rex that passed a few weeks ago, and I'm still wondering what it could possibly have been that killed him. Here's what happened:

He showed no signs or symptoms. He was completely healthy (or so we thought) and was eating fine. Stool was normal. Until one night he wasn't able to stand up straight. He kept wobbling from side to side out of nowhere and had to lean up against his cage to stay upright.

I took him to an emergency vet immediately, even though it was almost 1 a.m. They prescribed him antibiotics and something else for a parasitic infection. They didn't know what it was, yet said it had to be one of those two things. So I took him home, administered medicine and syringe-fed him some emergency powder food since he wasn't eating.

He started to get a hang of walking again the next day. Still very wobbly. Had fits when he had an itch he couldn't scratch. It was like he was all there in his head, but his body wasn't doing what he wanted anymore. I didn't know what grinding teeth out of pain sounded like until the next night. He was in pain, and I wanted to help him but I couldn't. I felt so... Helpless.

He lied down most of the night, until I heard him jump up. He had a seizure and died within a minute. He was gone within 24 hours of his initial symptoms.

Some additional info: He wasn't neutered and had never been around other rabbits. He was an indoor bunny. It couldn't have been trauma, since he hadn't left the cage that day and his cage was only one level.

I loved him very much and it was traumatizing to see him go so suddenly. The vet told me it could have been Pasteurella or some kind of parasite, but as I said he had no contact with other rabbits and showed no other symptoms until it was really bad. He lived a happy and healthy lifestyle. I just wish I had some answers.

***** Karen Sez *****
Sorry for the loss!

From way over here it is hard to say with certainty what made your rabbit sick, but I'd guess the vet's opinion was very close to the truth.

Parasites can do just what you describe, but given your additional comments, Pasteurellosis becomes the prime suspect. Pasteurella multocida, if the germ travels through the ears, nose, or sinuses to the brain, can also create the symptoms you saw - wry neck (head tilt), dizziness, seizures, and in the case of your rabbit, a quick death.

He was a very sick rabbit, and you did heroics in your attempt to save him. I hope you can find another terrific Mini Rex bunny soon.

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Aug 03, 2018
Bunny seizure and Wobbling
by: Anonymous

Hi i have a problem so first off my bunny was fine all day long but then in the middle of the day she fell on her side and I thought she was okay but that's when I got close to her and saw she was in shock or it looked like she was in some sort of seizure.

I tried to help her up but it was like her body could not move she wanted to get up but she couldn't and also I did feed her lettuce for some time and I'm scared that caused her to have this problem. Another thing is after she was done with the mini seizure she acted normal like nothing happened.

I went to the pet store to get her some food and she ate some of it and then just paused in the middle of eating which scared me because I thought she was having another seizure.

Right now my bunny is just blank starring plus she looks very weak. I think she may be sick from the lettuce but do you think its something else? Is it possible she might die?

***** Karen Sez *****
I doubt the lettuce caused the problem. (Lettuce causes other problems.) I do think she might possibly have a parasite or a brain infection. If so, it is fairly serious. Check Part IV in this book (Rabbit Raising Problem Solver), and/or take your bunny to a rabbit-savvy vet. Good luck with everything.

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