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Rabbit lifting hand

22 10:04:22

QUESTION: Dear Dana,
Merry Christmas to you!
My bunny - 26 months old, spayed female, has a strange action lately. She didn't act like this before and hence Im getting a little worried over this unusual 'habit'. She had been lifting her front left paw/hand little while eating, standing etc, having the body weight supported mostly by then 2 hind legs and the front right hand.
The urine and poops looked normal, and she is also having good appetite, loves to be patted as usual, and still runabout in the house like she normally does.
I tried to pick her up and examine the hand but she didn't seem to like it and i couldn't get a clue after seeing her hand. Would there be possibilities of any inner infection/sickness etc? There isn't any rabbit-savvy vet that I know of in the place I stay, so would like to seek your professional opinion here.
Happy holidays!
Thanks & Regards

ANSWER: Dear Susan,

It doesn't sound immediately life-threatening, but it does sound as if it would be a good idea to have a rabbit-savvy vet take a look.  She might have broken a nail (disinfect the broken nail bed thoroughly with dilute Betadine, if this is the case), or injured the foot in some way.  If there is no obvious swelling or sign of infection, then my guess would be a slight injury.  If she's putting any weight at all on the foot, it's not likely to be broken--or at least not in a spot that would be crippling and in need of immediate attention.

If she has a normal appetite, that's a good sign.  But if you suspect there may be infection, please see:

And check here for a rabbit vet accessible to you:

You don't say how long she's been doing this, but if it's only a few days, then it's more likely to be an injury that might resolve.  But keep a close eye out, and if it seems to be getting any worse--not better--then I'd get her to a good vet for a complete check.

Hope this helps.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Dana,

Thank you very much for your prompt reply.

My bunny - Jojo has been doing this for the past 1 week. There is no obvious sign of swelling, nor broken nail. I realised this could be painful for her when I saw her scratching her ears using her hind leg as usual, but could not support her body weight with that hand, making her falling off balance and decided to stop the scratch. (I hope you can understand what I mean here)
I brought her to a vet this morning, and he tried to feel her bone to check on any possible fracture but he claimed that everything seems fine. He only gave her a pain killer jab but this wasn't helping because she still lifts her hand now.
Is there any way that I could check her up myself? Unfortunately there are no rabbit vet accessible to me from your list. Meanwhile hunting around for one, would want to reduce the pain she is suffering now (if any)....

Once again, thank you very much.


Dear Susan,

The painkiller was a good thing for the vet to administer, but that it didn't help is worrisome.  You really do need to find a good rabbit vet who can take radiographs all the way up to the pectoral girdle (equivalent to our shoulder blades and collar bones, with attached limb bones) to see if she has fractured anything.  If she's not using it at all, then something is amiss, and a good vet will do more aggressive diagnostic tests to find out what.

Do you notice her injured limb moving in an unusual way, as if something were "unhinged" or broken?  If so, then stabilizing the limb with a tongue-depressor splint might help until you can get her to a good vet.  But be sure (1) to wrap the leg well in soft gauze and padding below the splint, so it doesn't abrade her and (2) not to wrap too tight; she needs circulation!

I think at this point radiographs would be in order to see what the heck is causing her so much pain that she can't even use her leg.  I hope you can find a rabbit-savvy vet here:

I wish I could tell you something else to do in the meantime, but I think you're doing what you can.