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Encephalitozoon Cuniculi


New Kit
Please Help!

My little Casta has this nasty disease and I'm so worried about her! I noticed it really early, luckily she's normally so greedy and demanding that I noticed when she didn't come down for supper and had her down the vets before I could give any firmer discription of her symptoms that "she's not right".

She's started on Lapizole (as has her cage mate) and we're syringe feeding her as much as we can. Since being at the vets her head tilt has become noticabley worse and she's clearly dizzy as she perfers to be lying down but she is able to hop around very well, appears to be able to see but seems much more nervous so I don't know if this has deteriated any also.

We've seen her nibbling on a few bits of hay and spinich leaves and she will drink from the bottle if we offer it to her. We have no idea how much she's eating as she's having to share with her cage mate due to space and water bottle availabilty.

It's been less than 72 hours since her first dose of medicine so I'm not expecting her to be cured but should her head tilt have got worse? Is it normal to have to syringe feed them for quite some time? The vet only gave me one packet of feed so I assumed it would only be a day or two.

I will do what ever Casta needs but I just want to know there is hope and what sort of time frame I can expect to see results.

Any advice of words of comfort will be gratefully received! x
Hi Im afraid i haven't had any experience of ec with my buns, but there are alot of people on here that have so hopefully someone will come along soon. Good luck.
I have nursed two bunnies with EC. One (Kermit) had head tilt. I will be honest, this can take weeks for your bunny to recover from, but they can get over it. My Kermit was left with permanant head tilt, but many bunnies heads totally straighten.

Is your bun on an anti-inflammatory such as Metacam? They really should be as this can reduce inflammation and help with the head tilt.

Is bun eating on their own?

It is a long hard slog, but bunnies can recover from this.
Hello and welcome. You have come to the right place for first class advice as many people on here have battled this problem. I am sure some of them will be along very soon to help you much better than I can. Although I do know that the recovery can take a long time, the initial course of Panacur is often 6 weeks I believe and an anti-inflammatory is advised to limit the damage done. Supportive feeding just needs to be continued until bun is able to feed well himself - you can ask the vet for more recovery food or grind up his usual pellets to make a slurry. I would give a water bowl as well as this is easier to drink from if they are not feeling well.

Vibes for your little ones.
Hi Jennie
Welcome to the forum - I am sure you will get soem great advice on here - I certainly did and it benefitted my buns without a doubt!

Buttercup our lovely girl bun had EC and severe head tilt this time last year and she has recovered very well. The first thing is to hang in there and don't start thinking negatively.

You will need a rabbit savvy vet too. We thought our vets were good enough as they had speyed and neutered our buns, vaccinated them and treated mites etc so when she became ill originally in November 2009 we took her to our regular vet who treated her with baytril (antibiotic) and a 9 day dose of panacur (for the parasite). We believed this was good enough as Buttercup improved and got better - until the end of February last year!!

Her second bout was much much worse, horrendous in fact and our vets were at a complete loss. Again she had antibiotics, 9 days of panacur paste and nothing - no improvement in fact she became worse, appeared to be 'fitting' couldn't stand, lift her head off the floor, was wetting herself, eyes were moving back and for - terrible for her but she did keep eating hay and carrot tops albeit upside down!

We had samples sent off from the ear, x ray of the head and blood tests but this was all driven by us - the vets didn't know what to do! Repeatedly we were told to have her PTS over a three week period by 5 different vets across three different practices. The blood test showed she had a high 'titre' (sp) which indicated EC but our vets didn't know how to treat her. I spent night after night sat up with her as she appeared to be at her worst between 2 and 5 am. I then went to bed for a couple of hours before getting up for work. We were desperate but Buttercup just hung in there.
I read on here that metacam help her so convinced our vets to prescribe that. At least this meant she was out of pain. It's needed to mitigate the long term neurological impact EC can have.

Finally I found a vet in Quedgely Gloucester who was recommended on here (hour and half drive from where we live). We went to him having made the decision if he too said she couldn't be helped that we would have her PTS. Jason looked at her - said he thought he could help and prescribed a different dose of metacam, more baytril and a totally different dose of panacur. Within two days she made improvement.

It took weeks before her head was in a more normal position, the day she stood up on her own we all cheered, when she done her first lopsided binkey we all cried!! When her eye that had been on the floor for weeks finally opened and she could see we celebrated like fools!! Buttercup took it all in her stride.

Please don't give in! Many vets don't know what to do so make sure your vet does Our 'old' vets actually said that most rabbits are PTS at the first sign of trouble hence the reason why they don't have enough experience of dealing with them.

I would suggest you speak to your vet about a 28 day course of panacur, metacam to help reduce inflamation and pain and then get ready to bleach out all your cages at days 21 and 28 - one part bleach / 9 parts water left on for a minimum of 30 seconds before being thoroughly washed off with clean water.

Sorry for long post - I feel so passionate about EC buns - they can and do survive to go on and have happy hoppy lives!

Ruth xx
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Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your bunny.

You need to prepare yourself for a long battle, and things can get worse before they get better. The damage that is done by the parasite cannot always be undone, but many bunnies will get better given suffucient time and the right medicine and supportive care. In particular your bunny will need help with eating, getting enough fluid and keeping herself clean.

Urinary incontince is often a symptom- if this occurs it may be best to bed your bunny on washable bedding such as vetbed, to help her stay dry. If your bunny starts to roll she may need to be temporarily confined to a relatively small area with towels rolled up around her to provide support and cushioning.

To add to the good advice you have already had I just want to mention that head tilt can also be caused by an inner ear infection which may not be visible in an external ear examination so many vets will treat for that as well with suitable antibiotics.



Lots of luck and nose rubs for your bunny xx
Good Luck---many buns recover very well

Great that you caught it early, and hopefully are on metacam now. Our two had hind leg paralysis, and I got help from this forum and asked the vet for Metacam because it wasn't prescribed, just the Panacur ---and they took a while to diagnose. This forum was really helpful. Without it I would not have realised the buns had Ec, or what treatment was available.

I bought Vet bed off a roll from Pampurred Pets-- normally I wouldn't go there, but it was really good to be able to buy off a roll as I could cut a half meter(£12 )into two beds-- when one gets pissy I wash it and put the other in their box. The pee goes straignt through to the newspaper underneath leaving the surface warm and dry. I watched closely at first but ours didn't eat it--- I covered it with net curtain at first but now I just put in uncovered .

They recovered 100% from dragging hindquarters at the worst stage-- so don't be scared!
Good luck, Shebunkin
Thank you for your supportive words! I am beside myself about Cas, if you only knew her when she's healthy, to see her so helpless would break your hearts.:cry:

However, I believe we have had a break through. We seperated her for a few hours from her cage mate and a good portion of spinach and hay was missing from the cage when I checked on her. She's eating again!!! I'm going to keep on syringe feeding some amounts until her appitite is improved but it's a great sign! She also appears to be continent as all her wee is in one corner, away from her bed, as normal! Her head tilt, although bad, is nowhere near as bad as some of the pictures I've seen.

Her balance is dreadful. I don't like handling her as she panics and struggles and throws herself about so akwardly I can barely keep hold of her.

She is on a 28 day treatment of fenbendazole but no metacam. As luck would have it I have some metacam left over from when she had bloat in the autumn. I'm going to phone the emergency vet to see if I can give it to her.

I'm lucky with my vet, they are very good and treat Cas promptly and thoroughly. They saved her life when she had bloat and were very good about me phoning 7 times a day when she was critical in hospital! Mind you, they have had £600 out of me for Casta's various ailments in the last 5 months so they should be good! Time for pet insurance I think.

Reading your experiences has given me hope, thank you so much for sharing. I will be reading and re-reading these post for quite some weeks to come I think! x
We have a headtilt bun Wilson who became very poorly last April with headtilt - which we didn't find the exact cause of :cry:

Below is Wilson's thread which may be of some help - warning though it is very long, as we had another 2 sick buns at the time :cry:


However, very long story short - we had Wilson on all sorts of different meds.

To start off with he was just on baytril (antibiotics), panacur & metacam - this was when his head was only slightly tilted. He then got progressively worse & his tilt changed sides - it was so bad his down eye was almost horizontal to the floor. We then changed him to steroid injections, depocillin injections & panacur - again sadly these did nothing for him.

He was having severe rolling episodes & we had to confine him to a padded cage for around 6 weeks. Eventually after bunny mad lisa on RU suggested it - we talked to our vet about Zithromax - it's an antibiotic that is used for humans & not licensed for rabbits, but Lisa had, had great results with it her for her headtilt bunny - so we felt we had no options left but to try it.

We switched him onto Zithromax & also started him on stemetil (human anti sickness drug) - continued with his panacur & I *think* his steroid injections. After just over a week of this treatment he was well enough to come out of his cage & go back with his partner Alice. We'd kept them in the same room at all times, but had to confine Wilson to a cage so he didn't hurt himself or Alice.

I have been told & read that the best way to deal with headtilt is to treat with as much strength of medication as possible - I think basically to try to beat the infection before it gets worse.

Wilson's head is still very tilted to this day - in fact his down eye is still pointing to the ground. However, he lives a completely normal life with Alice & bombs round their bedroom like a good un!! The only thing I have to do for him now is keep a check on his down eye, as from time to time it does flare up with infection.

We also foster Angel another headtilt bunny for BARC - she came to us in September after being treat at PAH & then being put up for adoption with her friend Misty - Angie rescued them & both of them came to us. As far as we know it Angel was only ever treated with panacur - again she lives a completely normal life, just with a wonky head. You'd never know she'd been ill bless her.

I don't know if any of this will help, but it might be worth mentioning the drugs we used to your vet to ask their views. Feel free to pm me if I can help further.

Sending your little girl lots & lots of vibes & hoping she'll be better soon. If she is eating that is a very positive sign that she is trying to fight this :)

It's emotionally draining looking after a sick bunny & is heartbreaking to see a bunny struck down with EC - please take care of yourself too, as Cas needs you to be strong for her.

Denise x
Whoop whoop! She's eaten almost a whole cabbage leaf, a small bunch of parsley, some hay and a quarter of a slice of dried bread! She even came over to see me when I went to her and didn't cower behind her cardboard box! :D Fingers crossed this continues!
Whoop whoop! She's eaten almost a whole cabbage leaf, a small bunch of parsley, some hay and a quarter of a slice of dried bread! She even came over to see me when I went to her and didn't cower behind her cardboard box! :D Fingers crossed this continues!

That is good news :)
Hi Jennie
Brilliant news that Cas is eating - long may it continue!!

What happened with the vet and the metacam? I believe this is a crucial part of the treatment for EC buns as it helps to limit the neurological damage and inflamation caused by the EC parasite.

Is Cas's partner having treatment too? By that I mean Panacur or an equivilant?

At least things seem to be heading in the right direction - but please don't be disheartened if she appears to get worse for a few days before she gets better.

Good luck and thinking of you

Ruth xx
That's great new that she's getting her appetite back.

I hope the vet has prescribed some Metacam now.

Also I understand a strick cleaning regime needs to be put in to place to avoid reinfection - someone will advise I'm sure.
Yep, Dustyrabbit is right. It is important that any surfaces the bun is on are cleaned thoroughly with 9 parts water and one part bleach and yep, it is bleach not any other cleaning fluid like dettol etc. The bleach solution should be left on the surface for a minimum of 30 seconds to kill off the spores. You should then thoroughly rinse with clean water.

I know you can't bleach all surfaces so for example the grassed areas your bun may have run on should not be reused for 30 days as the spores can last that long. I guess the same could be said for carpet etc if they are indoor buns. Where possible we got rid of blankets and used old duvet covers when Buttercup was ill (she spent a lot of time in our bedroom) and then got rid of the old covers etc just to try to reduce the possibility of spores still being around.

I was advised to bleach solution everything possible on days 21 and 28 though to be honest I still use the solution now on floors and cages once a fortnight - though please remember to rinse bun's stuff thoroughly!

Hope this helps
Ruth x
Still waiting to hear back about the metacam, I've chased them up this morning so should have an answer today.

I have moved Cas into a plastic indoor cage which I am cleaning out every other day. I had to bleach it post ring worm so I know the drill! The hutch is wooden and I will give it a good scrub on day 21/28 as suggested. Wilf is still out on the grass and in the shed during the day, but he is on treatment. Not sure what I can do about the shed as it has and old carpet down for insulation - won't be able to bleach that! But if Casta hasn't been on it for a whole month it should be ok shouldn't it?

The guinea pigs are stuck in their hutch, poor things! They normaly get their turn running about the shed but I have quarenteed them. I'm still considering getting them on preventative treatment too, what do you think? They've had contact before Casta got sick, and the shed is full of Casta's fur and waste. (I clean it thoroughly obviously, but their is only so much you can do!)

I've let Casta out for a little hop once or twice, she really enjoyed it! I think my real Casta is still in side this wobbley rabbit and the urge to cause mischeif and be lively is very much in place! They don't normally run about in the house so I will just ensure at least a month passes before they see the inside again.

The vet says the treatment they are on is also preventative, so it should stop reinfection in the majority of cases. I will still take precautions, don't worry!
I think the shed needs to be cleaned in the same way - disposing of anything you can't clean and bleach cleaning on the appropriate days otherwise reinfection will occur.

Remember to bleach clean cleaning tools, brooms, dustpan and brush etc too.
She's really gone down hill :cry:

Her head tilt is much worse and she keeps rolling, particuarly when I handle her. I really thought I'd seen the worse. Please please, let her get better :cry:

She's on the metacam now.
I'm sorry to hear that but the metacam will make all the difference for her.
Just to check are they sure it's EC as ear infections can cause head tilt too.
I'm sorry she has gone downhill but don't panic- the rolling is usually a passing faze- your bunny is confused and disorientated and trying to regain her balance is what makes her roll- in time she will learn coping mechanisms and will regain her balance. Just make sure she is secure and safe, by removing things she can injure herself on, try to avoid handling her except when absolutely necessary and keeping her in a flat, padded environment. Make sure she can access food and fluid easily.

I do think it's important to treat for ear infection as well as e.c to cover all bases- is she on antibiotics?