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rabbit help.

22 10:07:19

Snowball, the rabbit.
Snowball, the rabbit.  
QUESTION: We gave my about 4 year old netherland dwarf rabbit, Snowball, a bath last night. afterwards she was fine and drying herself, and running around. about an hour later, we put Snowball in her cage and she was fine and we went to sleep. At about 5:30am we saw that she was shaking and breathing hard. I took her with me to warm her up and she slept about 3 hours before trying to move. When she did, she would tumble over. She will not use her legs and tilts her head to the left. She wont drink, and barely eats. We gave her lettuce and she did eat that today. I lightly wrapped the right leg to keep it from moving, in case of a break. My parents refuses taking her to the vet because she says it is not an emergency. Is it? And what should we do?


your rabbit needs to go to the vet.  The head tilt signifies an inner ear/brain infection that is affecting her balance.  These things don't go away in rabbits.  They are medical problems that require antibiotics.

Don't every bathe your rabbit like that again.  They are not water animals, they don't like water and don't need bathing.  You can kill them doing it.  You can't get them dry safely because their skin is so thin, they will catch cold or pneumonia.  Don't do that again.

Get her in to the vet.  For the ear, and because of putting her in water, they will need to make sure she hasn't developed other problems from that.

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

QUESTION: thank you, we actually took her to the vet, her guts are all clogged up and she might have uterus cancer, which they said happens in 90% of rabbits. the tilt was because she hurt her leg running around. the reason why we bathe her is because her poop gets stuck to her behind and thats the only way to get it off without us cutting it off. were bringing her back this morning and evening to get fluids. she got her back teeth filed down and medication. when she walks around, its a bit off balance.

we hope this works.


a much less stressful way to do this is to use a lightly damp washcloth and a (dedicated) man's comb.  One person holds her and supports her back and rear legs, her back next to the person's front, and the other alternate between applying the lightly damp washcloth to the matted areas and then using the comb to see if any areas can be worked out, then go back between the two.  You will get most of it out without stressing her out or increasing her risk of catching cold or being in too hot or cold water.

If she's having that bad of a time food-wise, make sure she's on the simplest diet possible.  Good unlimited orchard grass hay or timothy hay all the time, topped off a couple times each day. Just food pellets (timothy hay pellets like Oxbow Bunny Basics T) without extra high calorie high sugar (and bad bacteria-promoting) items like corn, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc.

She may not be able to tolerate greens and fruits well.  I would pretty much cut these out whenever a bunny has gut problems.  These items complicate a gi tract that is out of whack.  It is better to get it operating good under the simple foods it was designed to eat - grass hay.  A rabbit can live totally on grass hay (and water) and doesn't need any other food item - hay is that critical and vital to them.

Also I would encourage you to get some Bene-Bac from the pet supply store to help replenish good bacteria in the gut to help things work better.  Some vets will tell you it won't survive the stomach but my guys always do better and I can tell their output gets better after dosing them with this for a week.  A squirt at night and a squirt in the morning, you can put it right on top of their food pellets in their little food bowl.

If she has not been spayed I'd get her spayed after she rebounds and appears to be getting back to normal.  Apart from extending her life if she has tumors they take energy from the body and also will push against other organs and nerves and things because they are harder masses of tissue that others and can impair function of other things and cause pain.  If your vet is a good rabbit vet that does these surgeries with high rates of success you are set.  If not, start here to look for one:

to find a House Rabbit Society recommended vet near you.

Hope things turn out well.  She's four, she's still nice and young in house rabbit years, if you can get her diet under control and her gut healthy, she'll be able to handle the spay and you'll give her anywhere from 6-8 more years, possibly.