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Thread: Care for rabbit with suspected arthritis

  1. #1

    Default Care for rabbit with suspected arthritis

    Wondering if anyone can give some advice on looking after our rabbit.
    Recently, he has stopped using his litter tray and we found his back legs were damp with urine. He also seemed in discomfort: sitting hunched up. Initially, he was treated by the vet for a UTI. A few days later he stopped going up to his hutch at night and, after another vet trip, he was diagnosed with possible arthritis. We still keep him in his run during the day (have added some extra places for him to hide as not using hutch), but bring him inside before it gets dark. We have also bought some new litter trays with low sides for easy access. He has been using these on occasions, but we have noticed he will still urinate on the ground. He is also still getting urine on his back legs (although not as bad as before). We are not sure if this is because he is sitting in the urine when he is not using the litter tray, or if he is starting to become incontinent. We do wash his back end regularly as we are worried that the skin on his legs will become sore. He seems ok in himself: still relaxing stretched out and eating and drinking as usual. Is there anything else we could do (or possibly anything we are doing wrong)? We have another vet appointment next week to check on progress.

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper Jack's-Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bray View Post
    Wondering if anyone can give some advice on looking after our rabbit.
    Recently, he has stopped using his litter tray and we found his back legs were damp with urine. He also seemed in discomfort: sitting hunched up. Initially, he was treated by the vet for a UTI. A few days later he stopped going up to his hutch at night and, after another vet trip, he was diagnosed with possible arthritis. We still keep him in his run during the day (have added some extra places for him to hide as not using hutch), but bring him inside before it gets dark. We have also bought some new litter trays with low sides for easy access. He has been using these on occasions, but we have noticed he will still urinate on the ground. He is also still getting urine on his back legs (although not as bad as before). We are not sure if this is because he is sitting in the urine when he is not using the litter tray, or if he is starting to become incontinent. We do wash his back end regularly as we are worried that the skin on his legs will become sore. He seems ok in himself: still relaxing stretched out and eating and drinking as usual. Is there anything else we could do (or possibly anything we are doing wrong)? We have another vet appointment next week to check on progress.
    Hello, I am sorry to hear of your Rabbit's problems. How old is he ? There are other conditions that can cause hind leg weakness

    http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Neurolo...ls/paresis.htm

    Did the Vet mention a condition called Encephalitozoon Cuniculi (EC) ?

    https://www.dovepress.com/encephalit...t-article-VMRR

    As he is getting urine soiled a lot he will be at high risk of Flystrike, so you do need to be ultra vigilant about this and take the additional precautions necessary

    https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-health/flystrike/


    Did the Vet suggest any treatment for the suspected arthritis ? This would usually be regular nonsteroidal anti inflammatory analgesics eg Metacam.

    https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-h...bit-arthritis/

    http://wildpro.twycrosszoo.org/S/00d...is_rabbits.htm

    https://wagwalking.com/rabbit/condition/arthritis

    There are also some complimentary treatments that can be helpful including physiotherapy, acupuncture and laser therapy

    http://www.helpinghandsvetphysio.co.uk/rabbits/

    https://cambridgevetgroup.co.uk/k-laser/

    https://www.fitzpatrickreferrals.co....y-acupuncture/

    Finally, this site has some useful tips for caring for a disabled Rabbit

    http://www.disabledrabbits.com/


    Links to information about various health problems that can affect Rabbits :
    http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/sh...ealth-Problems
    NB- If you think your Rabbit is unwell it is essential to seek immediate veterinary attention.

  3. #3

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to provide so much information. It’s very much appreciated and looks really useful.
    We are not sure exactly how old our rabbit is (he was a rescue) but think he must be around 6 years old. Looking at one of the links you posted, it does say that arthritis is common in rabbits that age. The vet gave him an anti-inflammatory injection which he said would last until our next visit. Our rabbit did seem to perk up a bit after that (although I am not sure if that might just be wishful thinking on our part!). I am not sure if it was Metacam, I will ask the vet along with discussing Encephalitozoon Cuniculi the next time we visit. We were worried about flystrike too, another reason we have been washing him regularly. We do also use a spray for flystrike. We just hope we are not stressing him out too much bathing him (just his bottom and back legs) although he seems not to mind – he has always been a very chilled out rabbit.

  4. #4
    Wise Old Thumper Jack's-Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bray View Post
    Thank you so much for taking the time to provide so much information. It’s very much appreciated and looks really useful.
    We are not sure exactly how old our rabbit is (he was a rescue) but think he must be around 6 years old. Looking at one of the links you posted, it does say that arthritis is common in rabbits that age. The vet gave him an anti-inflammatory injection which he said would last until our next visit. Our rabbit did seem to perk up a bit after that (although I am not sure if that might just be wishful thinking on our part!). I am not sure if it was Metacam, I will ask the vet along with discussing Encephalitozoon Cuniculi the next time we visit. We were worried about flystrike too, another reason we have been washing him regularly. We do also use a spray for flystrike. We just hope we are not stressing him out too much bathing him (just his bottom and back legs) although he seems not to mind – he has always been a very chilled out rabbit.
    I think the injection the Vet gave must have been a long acting corticosteroid as there is no 'long acting' non steroidal anti inflammatory. These need to be given every 12-24 hours. The use of corticosteroids in Rabbits is usually not deemed to be appropriate unless it is part of 'palliative care'

    http://www.medirabbit.com/Safe_medic...st/Cortico.htm

    You may have been given an itemised receipt which would list any drugs given, so if you were and you still have it what is the name of the drug ?

    Are you located in the UK ?


    Links to information about various health problems that can affect Rabbits :
    http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/sh...ealth-Problems
    NB- If you think your Rabbit is unwell it is essential to seek immediate veterinary attention.

  5. #5

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    Yes, we are in the UK
    Unfortunately no itemized bill, but just spoken to my partner who thinks it was a steroid injection. We were told it would last about two weeks and if things seemed to improve there was the option of having another injection which would last about 6 weeks. Would it be more usual for rabbits with arthritis to be treated with an anti-inflammatory drug like Metacam?

  6. #6
    Wise Old Thumper Jack's-Jane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bray View Post
    Yes, we are in the UK
    Unfortunately no itemized bill, but just spoken to my partner who thinks it was a steroid injection. We were told it would last about two weeks and if things seemed to improve there was the option of having another injection which would last about 6 weeks. Would it be more usual for rabbits with arthritis to be treated with an anti-inflammatory drug like Metacam?
    Absolutely. I am wondering how 'Rabbit Savvy' your Vet may be Whilst Small Animal Vets may be great with Dogs and Cats, Rabbits are classified as an 'Exotic Species' and unfortunately not all Small Animal Vets are very clued up on Rabbit medicine.

    https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-c...friendly-vets/

    If you feel that you would like a second opinion then you may be able to locate a 'Rabbit Savvy Vet' via this link

    https://rabbitwelfare.co.uk/rabbit-c...ndly-vet-list/


    Links to information about various health problems that can affect Rabbits :
    http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/sh...ealth-Problems
    NB- If you think your Rabbit is unwell it is essential to seek immediate veterinary attention.

  7. #7
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    I think Metacam is the more common one to use for Arthritis. Have you got a litter tray with a low end so he doesn't have to jump in? Does he hop around easily or does he "walk" now?

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    My girlie is on twice daily metacam for her arthritis. I'm not great with bunny health stuff so can't really advise but this is her thread which I got some good advice on

    http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/sh...nagement-Diary

    I think I might try a call to your vet & see their rationale re: diagnosis & what they've prescribed. Many vets aren't up to scratch dealing with rabbits so it may be advisable to get a second opinion- possibly from another practice. Its a 2 hour round trip by car for me to access a vet I feel is savvy enough to look after my bunnies. I agree EC is worth looking in to. Bunny health stuff can be very daunting can't it.

    Good luck

  9. #9

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    Whilst Small Animal Vets may be great with Dogs and Cats, Rabbits are classified as an 'Exotic Species' and unfortunately not all Small Animal Vets are very clued up on Rabbit medicine.

    I fear this may also apply to me too I am afraid
    I will ‘tactfully’ mention it to the vet on the next visit and seek a second opinion if necessary. Thank you for your help.

    Have you got a litter tray with a low end so he doesn't have to jump in? Does he hop around easily or does he "walk" now?

    Yes, we have bought some with lower sides. He does use these, but also still goes on the ground occasionally. He is still hopping around, but just seems to be slower and possibly a little stiffer than he used to be.

  10. #10

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    @joey&boo Thank you for posting the thread - will read with interest.
    I do feel rather inexperienced with rabbit health and so appreciate the advice I am getting.
    This is a really helpful forum - wish I had discovered it earlier!

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