My Rabbit May Have Had a Seizure

by Tania

BEW - Blue Eyed White Mini Lop Rabbit

BEW - Blue Eyed White Mini Lop Rabbit

BEW - Blue Eyed White Mini Lop Rabbit
BEW - Blue Eyed White Mini Lop Rabbit
BEW - Blue Eyed White Mini Lop Rabbit
BEW - Blue Eyed White Netherland Dwarf Rabbit

My mini lop rabbit is only 4 years old but she was making weird movements in her cage which I didn't see but heard. By the time I got to her she was laying on her side. When she got up to walk she was walking very wobbly.

Then two days later, I went to feed her as normal and she was laying on her side again, except this time I actually saw her legs twitching. That's when I figured she must be having a seizure and I immediately took her to an emergency veterinarian. But strangely by the time I got there with her she was OK again.

The vets checked her temperature, heart rate and breathing and everything was normal. The emergency vet said that she could have had a seizure but that since she was OK they were not going to doing any testing on her and that I should just take her to her regular veterinarian.

I monitored her for the rest of the day and she was acting like her normal self, no out the ordinary behavior what so ever! She even ate her veggies with no issues.

My questions are, what are the chances that she will get another seizure?

Does anyone know if once they get seizure do they continue to get them?

I only ask this because after such a costly visit at the emergency veterinarian and not getting any results, I wonder if this will continue to happen to her?

I really do love my bunny and do not want anything bad to happen to her. Do you think that I still need to take her to see her regular veterinarian to have her checked out even though she seems fine now?

Please, if anyone has an advice or suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Thank you!!!

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Jun 14, 2016
What's happening to my rabbit?
by: Anonymous

Hi I think my rabbit is having seizures too, but I'm not sure. I managed to capture it on video, which you can watch here:

I'm really worried. This is the 4th time it happened, but the other times weren't as bad. At first I thought he was just having nightmares, because it would just last a few seconds then he'll stay still for a while (looking scared), before going about his usual business. I do plan on taking him to the vet, but I want to know if any of you have experienced this.

Mar 16, 2015
Cause and Effect
by: Kerry

Seizures in rabbits, (also called epilepsy) are uncommon and difficult to spot because they come on so fast and only last a few minutes. A true seizure is quite rare as it can leave a rabbit in a comatose state, with brain damage or sometimes with permanent blindness.

Rabbits can also have seizure-like behaviour which is often related to intense pain, where the rabbit will throw itself on its side and roll their eyeballs around in their sockets. (Much like an epileptic fit in humans). Seizures like these are most common in white, blue eyed rabbits.

Some vets may offer anti-epileptic drugs to reduce symptoms but their effect can decrease over time. Idiazepam or midazolam are most commonly given but sometimes a short-term administration of glucocorticoids (steroids), to reduce swelling and pain is also offered.

A good start on the road of recovery, and even cure would be to look at the cause rather than keep treating the effects.

The most common causes for seizures in rabbits would be the following:

  • Parasitic Infestation – Burrowing mites, Encephalitozoon cuniculi in the brain, accompanied by an inflammatory response of brain cells, Toxoplasmosis, and Baylisascaris procyonis

  • Viral Infections – HSV (Herpes) & VHD

  • Organ Failure - Renal failure, Hypothyroidism

  • CNS or Head Trauma – Central nervous system trauma or head trauma after injury or disease such as Cerebrovascular disorder after head trauma for example, Pasteurella multocida related encephalitis or otitis interna, and Toxoplasmosis

  • Medications - Administration of high dosages of antibiotics, like quinolones (e.g. Baytril), Penicillin, Lidocaine

  • Toxicity Poisoning - Toxic plants, Insecticide, Fertilizer, Lead

  • Systemic Causes – Gastrointestinal stasis (GI Stasis) accompanied by severe pain, Terminal hepatic lipidosis and ketosis, Azotemia (excess of nitrogen in the blood), eventually accompanied by renal failure, Hyper- or hypoglycaemia, Magnesium deficiency, Cardiac disease, Gestation toxemia

  • Mechanical Causes – Arteriosclerosis and mineralization of main blood vessels, Mineralization of the brain blood vessels/arteriosclerosis, Tumor, neoplasia, abscess, or lesion that invades a sensitive part of brain tissue, or the nervous system, Surface irritation, e.g. rubbing fur, trapped material in anal gland, Agonal phenomenon

Like any solution, working out the cause of the problem brings you half way to the desired result. Your desired result here would be to ensure your rabbit does not have another seizure. The other half of the solution is to determine which of the most likely causes from the list above are the reason for your rabbit's seizures and then establish a course of action to resolve and cure the problem(s). A good way to do this would be to look up each disease, cause
or reason and establish a treatment regime. You can do this by using the Just Rabbits diseases chart on this page...

Don't forget I'm not a vet and this is just a guide based on my experience. If your rabbit doesn't get traumatized at the idea of going to the local vets, I would highly recommend a trip just to have a check over of all the things you may be worried about. It will be worth it for your extra piece of mind too. Try to choose a rabbit savvy vet, as rabbits are highly complex creatures and not like most other pets, having a vet that is a rabbit expert really does make all the difference.

I hope I have gone some way to helping. My best wishes and bunny hugs go to you and your dear rabbit. I hope you never have to see her go through that level of pain again.

Best wishes, Kerry

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