Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Epilepsy in Rabbits

Epilepsy in rabbits (also know as seizures) is similar to what humans can have. This happens once certain neurons in the brain reach 'hyper excitability', leading to involuntary body movement or function in the bunny. You have to be VERY careful with them as these seizures can cause brain damage to your bunny.

It could be an epileptic episode, or non-epileptic and caused by genetic malfunctions or lesions in the brain. Either way, they will have similar symptoms in the ways of which they will act.
Here are some symptoms which are said to be quite common:

Rolling around and signs of distress
Paddling of the hands or limbs
mental confusion
head tilt
loss of muscle tone
pus in the ear
possible fainting (said to be a rare occurrence though)

Can be from their genetic background (having white or blue eyes is more likely to) or from being a certain type of breed. It is said that dwarf rabbits are more prone to this happening as they can have suppressed immune systems, causing them to be more exposed to an infection with encephalitozoon cuniculi which can cause the seizures. Lop eared rabbits are likely to have this as well (but you have to remember that not ALL of them have this) an it is a form of epilepsy.

other causes could be:
metabolic causes - low blood sugar
toxicities - exposure to heavy metals and other chemicals
cardiovascular diseases
A head injury, leading to brain damage
structural causes - brain lesions, bacterial infection or parasitic infection (this could be toxoplasmosis)

Laboratory tests will be taken to see if they have any of the causes mentioned above, like a brain lesion.  They could also be imaged with an MRI scan or CAT scan to see if there is anything connected to the central nervous system causing these issues.

Some bunnies will need constant supervision. This is a very severe case and if it is this bad, they will need to to be hospitalisation to be watched constantly and to help relieve attacks and prevent permanent brain damage from happening.

There is medication which can be prescribed to help slow down the seizure activity. Also antibiotics if there is an abscess contributing to the seizure. If the case is life threatening, steroid medication may be used, yet just under vet supervision. So if you think your bunny is having an epileptic fit, then make sure to take them straight to the vets so they can be treated. Also make a logg of all of the fits they have, how often, at what time and how long for, as it will help the vet to know what to do to help them.

Have a look at these products as they are some nice toys which you bunny may like:

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