• Forum/Server Upgrade If you are reading this you have made it to the upgraded forum. Posts made on the old forum after 26th October 2023 have not been transfered. Everything else should be here. If you find any issues please let us know.
  • Please Note - Medical Advice

    Please keep in mind that posts on this forum are from members of the public sharing personal opinions. It is not a replacement for qualified medical advice from a veterinarian. Many illnesses share similar symptoms but require different treatments. A medical exam is necessary for an accurate diagnosis, without which appropriate treatment cannot be given.

    You should always consult your vet before following any suggestions for medication or treatment you have read about. The wrong treatment could make your rabbit worse or mean your vet is unable to give the correct treatment because of drug interactions. Even non prescription drugs can do harm if given inappropriately.

    We are very grateful to members who take time to answer other members questions, but please do be clear in your replies that you are sharing personal experience and not giving instructions on what must be done.

    Urgent Medical Advice: If you need, or think you might need, urgent medical advice you should contact a vet. If it is out of working hours phone your vet's normal number and there should be an answer phone message with instructions on what to do.

Prognosis on fractured spine vertebrae (thorax area) - update: she's gone


Alpha Buck
Has anyone been through this - good or bad experience?
We've had an absolutely horrific week. Last thursday I found our dear little Mishka (8yrs old) with her back end collapsed and dragging her back legs around. I had seen her jump from the second tier of her pen a few hours before and land a little awkwardly. I remember thinking at the time her back end looked like it was sitting low but brushed it off as she seemed fine and was attacking food. About 4hrs later I found her as above.
I rushed her to the local overnight vet (okay with rabbits but not exotics specialists, we go there for minor things or emergencies) and they thought it might have been soft tissue and gave a metacam injection. They didn't want to x-ray 'due to sedation risk in rabbits'. Oddly she wasn't really displaying any pain.
I took her up the next day to our exotics specialist and she did an x-ray which showed something on one vertebrae in the thorax area, very possibly a fracture she said.
At the time Mishka was still able to get around by pulling herself on her front legs and either dragging the back or having a very low hop (intermittent between the two).
She was allowed home on cage rest and a lot of painkillers in the hope it might heal.
Unfortunately since then she appears to have become paralysed at the back. She can feel her paws, tail etc and recoils her paws a little when touched but can't seem to move. She's no longer trying to get around by pulling herself either, though can shuffle a little on her front paws with her back remaining in place.
She saw the vet again yesterday, I'm afraid I can't fully remember what she said as I had been up all night and in all honesty in tears because I thought this was it and there would be no options. But she said something about the paralysis being the brain/neurological?
She said we could stop there as she would require intense nursing but I wanted to give her a chance if there was any hope. She suggested we give her a couple of weeks and if there's no improvement we'd have to let her go. She's got additional meds inc steroids which we agreed to try.

We had a truly horrific night last night and I very nearly took her up the emergency vet again to let her go as she was in stasis and was not passing anything. As I was cleaning her up a little at the back I noticed a tiny dropping popped out and I very, very gently massaged (probably to strong a word, more a light touch than anything - basically the same motion as when I was cleaning her up) the area and very gently massaged her abdomen and gradually bit by bit some horrifically small, dehydrated, jagged and nasty looking droppings came out. After repeating several times she finally started producing better droppings and was able to go without help. We've had at a guess a good 150 reasonably normal droppings since and she's urinating again and looking more comfortable, but my goodness it was utterly terrifying. Her abdomen was starting to feel bloated and distended which was where I so nearly made the call to rush her up and let her go.
She's back to eating well again and looks better in herself, enjoying fuss etc.
But I'm left hoping that I'm doing the right thing by giving her a chance and that I'm not being cruel? The only real pain I've seen from her has been from the stasis (most likely the vet trip, she's terrified of travel), but she's currently entirely immobile and relying on me to keep her clean, feed cecotropes etc. All of which is fine if she can get through this but would be no way to live in the long term, which I imagine is why the vet said what she did and I agreed with that.
Am I doing the right thing for her? She still seems to have fight in her (and a little bit of sass back today as I syringed meds) but it's hard to know where the line is between fighting for them and giving them every chance and being cruel. It's a line I don't want to cross selfishly. But she still seems to have a will to live?
I just don't know.
Has anyone been through this? If it's not too upsetting, what was the outcome? Does she still have a chance?
I wondered if she can't regain function in her back legs but was able to move on her front legs still if a wheelchair could be a possiblility later as I've seen some rabbits with them who seem to have a good quality of life, but I don't know if her situation will suit it. I could see her adapting to one well with her determined personality, but I don't know if this sort of thing is possible.
She's being rechecked next Tuesday assuming nothing worse happens before.
The weirdest and most difficult part of this is that the only thing that could have caused it would have been the jump from her second tier in her pen (she was too enthusiastic and didn't bother with the step). Granted she landed a little awkwardly, but it's only a 14" drop. How on earth could this have happened from such a height? I feel so responsible, I put the second floor in about 2 months ago to give her more room and give her something more to do and she was absolutely loving it. If I hadn't this wouldn't have happened.
I am sorry to hear this ☹️

Sadly if there is a fracture and it has compressed the spinal cord then the prognosis for recovery is very poor. Also, the fact that the paralysis is increasing subsequent to the acute onset of symptoms *might* indicate that any fracture is unstable. So spinal cord compression could get worse.If she is now brighter within herself and has input and output again I think it’s reasonable to give her a bit of time with strict rest, anti inflammatory analgesia and supportive nursing care. Some spinal fractures can heal, Nerve damage can take much longer, weeks and weeks of ongoing treatment, including daily physiotherapy. If there Is spinal cord damage then it is unlikely that she will regain full mobility again, QOL assessment will need to be ongoing. Pain might not be a feature, it is possible that she feels nothing at all. Ongoing assessment by a Rabbit savvy Vet is going to be essential. If travelling causes severe stress leading to gut stasis then home visits from the Vet would be needed.

As the Vet sounds to be uncertain that what she is seeing on the Xray is a fracture then I would expect her to seek an opinion from a specialist Vet. Also, the possibility of a pathological fracture needs to be considered, A more detailed CT scan would be the next step.
I don’t have any experience of this so I can’t advise. You are doing the best you can, as always. Sending lots of vibes xx
I do not have experience with this, yet had a disabled bunny who lost the use of his rear leg.
It is ok to give her a chance as long as she remains bright in herself.
Sending positive vibes for your girl.
I am so sorry to hear about Mishka. I am new to keeping bunnies, so have not got any experience with ths, but I also have 2 very active bunnies with 2 levels they use and I see how fast they can be getting up and down that can surprise me, but they very much love it and so wouldn't change this. They are still very young, only 8 months. It sounds Mishka has had such great times too with her home that mine has just started with. Mishka seems to have just misjudged her footing. So sad about this. I send all the love, hugs, hope and positive vibrations to brings recovery for Mishka, and support to you. 💓
Apologies for not replying, we've had an absolute roller coaster nightmare over the last few days with her.
After a horrible day on Thursday (I think; who knows what day it is anymore?!) with stasis and bloat we came to the heartbreaking conclusion we'd have to say goodbye. I booked her in to have it done and it absolutely broke me. In the time waiting for a taxi (about an hour as it was a busy time of night) she suddenly picked up, wanting fuss and eating again. From that point, seeing her pick up and fight on it really all felt so wrong and I felt so conflicted. She just seemed to want to fight. She wasn't done.
On assessment the vet gave us the surprising option to try treating her with some injectible medications overnight and I could take her to see the exotics vet in the morning. I don't know if it was the right thing, perhaps it was selfish, but I said lets try. I was absolutely shaking with fear whilst they had her out the back.
The vet left the catheter in so there was the option to bring her back up at any point in the night if things changed and there would be immediate access for whatever route was needed at that point.
She transformed overnight. She'd had buprenorphine instead of the gabapentin she had been on (which was also drugging her out) + sub q fluids and other meds.
Consulting the next day with her exotics vet we decided to try her on buprenorphine instead over the weekend and see how things went.
So far things have gone really well, she seems much more comfortable, she isn't showing any pain signs anymore, she's bright and very much wanting gentle cuddles and kisses all the time (constantly asking me for them!) and has barely stopped eating. The bloat is still present but as of this evening she feels a bit softer in the abdomen and I think she's more comfortable.
I'm very aware this could all change at any moment but I'm trying to give her every possible chance.
With all the loss we've had - 3 rabbits already this year in Jan, Aug and Oct, plus 2 others the year before.. with all of the tough decisions I've had to make over the years with our buns; whether to try to treat things, move on to palliative care instead or whether to just say goodbye I have never, ever felt so conflicted or lost as I have with Mishka. Even when losing my soul-bunny years ago. This is just so much more difficult because she still has so much fight in her, such spirit and a strong will to live. How do I take that away from her? I have never felt this lost. I'm battling with myself with trying to see where the line is between fighting for her and giving her every chance and straying over the line into cruelty. It's never felt so blurred before. I don't know what's right or wrong and it's genuinely shaking me up.
For now she is comfortable, eating and happy so all I can do is hope with all my heart that just maybe she can make it through this.
This is hopeful news. I really do feel you are doing the best thing for her, so keep going. As you said she is comfortable and you went the right route to get the potential right treatment. I would now go with whatever the exotic vet suggests. Let them lead and make the decisions on next steps. It is worth trying, until otherwise decided mot to by your vets.

Thinking of you in your way forward. I will continue to send positive healing vibrations for Mishka. Let us know how things are, when you feel you can. Just look after yourself too.

I wish Mishka a speedy recovery and give you full support in your decisions going forwards. You are showing to being the best person for Mishka. You are doing well. ❤❤
Sending every vibe possible that your girl pulls through and makes a good recovery, she certainly sounds like a little fighter. Thinking of you too, it's an emotional roller coaster looking after a sick animal, but she's lucky having you.
I was happy to read she is happy, comfortable and eating with new meds and supportive care.
It is good she is making the decision to fight, and you are obliging her that right.
Hi all.
Thank you again for all of your kind support.
Sadly we've just lost our brave little girl very suddenly today. We don't know what happened. She was fighting and bright, then went into stasis last night. We got her through, back to eating again, passing droppings etc and she was a lot brighter this morning. I gave her her meds about 1pm and she had a treat. I went to boil the kettle to clean her up as usual and came back about 10 minutes later to find her panting and lifting her head occasionally for breath. I called the vet but she passed in the taxi on the way.
I've got no idea what happened. It wasn't choking, I've seen that enough to know. She was just struggling to get air.
The only thing I can think is that maybe it was the bloat putting pressure on her lungs/heart. But she'd been coping with it for about a week.
She was fighting so hard. We're just devastated.
Will make a post in TRB later but just in too much shock right now.
So so sorry to hear this news about Mishka. It is so sad after her trying so hard. She seemed very happy to the end though and seemed to appreciate the opportunity. Breathing can be affected by spine injuries in humans, not sure if same in bunnies. Thinking of you and send Mishka love and hugs on her next journey. 😥
Oh this is very sad. I'm so sorry for your loss. 😥 Sending comforting vibes your way.
Sweet dreams, Mishka xx