Seizures in Rabbits

Seizures in Rabbits

Here we can see, “Seizures in Rabbits”

Rabbits, like people and other pets, can suffer seizures, which are episodes of involuntary physical activity accompanied by some sort of mental abnormality. Loss of consciousness is possible in several instances. Seizures can be frightening, especially if you’ve never seen a rabbit or other pet suffer one before. While many rabbits recover completely from seizures, some experience long-term effects. Seizures can be triggered by less serious difficulties (such as injuries or ear infections) or signs of more serious diseases. Seizure medications may be accessible, but their treatment and recovery are mostly determined by the aetiology of the episodes.

What Are Seizures?

Rabbit seizures are a neurological disease that results in uncontrollable movements, strange behaviours, and sometimes loss of consciousness. Both people and animals can have these episodes, which are caused by sudden electrical activity in the brain. This can be caused by a number of things, including underlying disorders.

Convulsions, shaking, and twitching are not necessarily related to seizures, although they are with generalised seizures (also called grand mal, the most easily recognisable type). Less severe seizures may go unreported by owners due to their lack of symptoms. If your rabbit exhibits any unusual behaviours, particularly those involving body movements, you should take him to an exotic veterinarian who can discuss the signs and perform any necessary testing.

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Symptoms of Seizures in Rabbits

Seizures can cause a wide range of symptoms, from minor indicators to prominent behaviours. Your rabbit may exhibit strange behaviours such as rolling, twitching, tilting its head, or being unable to move particular body parts. Grand mal seizures can result in a loss of consciousness as well as involuntary tremors.

Focal seizures are less dangerous than grand mal seizures, but the duration of the seizure should be noted. A prolonged seizure may raise your rabbit’s body temperature and may result in permanent brain damage, whereas a minor, brief seizure will most likely have no lasting repercussions. Experts advise contacting a veterinarian as soon as possible if seizures continue longer than five minutes or occur more than once per day. If your exotic veterinarian is unavailable, your pet should be seen by an emergency veterinarian.

Seizures in rabbits can cause the following symptoms:


  • Involuntary movements
  • Rolling and apparent distress
  • Waving or “paddling” of the legs
  • Unusual tilt of the head
  • Confusion
  • Temporary loss of vision
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vocalization
  • Twitching ears (focal seizures)
  • Loss of function in one leg (focal seizures)
  • Chewing at the air (focal seizures)

Generalized (Grand Mal) Seizures

The most prevalent type of seizure associated with these events is generalised seizures. Pets lose consciousness and have full-body shakes during generalised seizures. Vocalization is also prevalent, albeit it is thought that animals, like humans, are not in pain during these episodes. Grand mal seizures are characterised by involuntary movements such as rolling, waving, or “paddling” the legs, tilting the head, and twitching.

Throughout the episode, your bunny may appear anxious. After the seizure, your rabbit might look confused and lost until it is fully awake and able to walk normally again.

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Focal Seizures

Your rabbit’s leg may lose function during focal seizures. Twitching persists, although it appears to be limited to little ear movements rather than full-body tremors. “Bubblegum chewing” is a type of focal seizure in which the rabbit licks and chomps at the air (similar to chewing bubblegum or eating peanut butter).

Treatment options for both grand mal and focused seizures will be determined by the source of the seizure.

Causes of Seizures

Seizures in rabbits can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of the causes are mild or transient, while others are serious and even fatal. Among them are:

  • Inner ear infections
  • E. cuniculi infections (a protozoan)
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Traumatic injury
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer
  • Rabies
  • Congenital malformation
  • Poisoning from drugs, plants, or chemicals
  • Blood clots

Seizable rabbits could have heart, kidney, or liver problems, as well as brain injury or a neurological disorder. So, it’s important to take your pet to the vet if it starts acting strangely so that any problems can be properly diagnosed before they get worse.

Diagnosing Seizures in Rabbits

Your exotic veterinarian will perform a neurological examination to discover the cause of the seizure. Ear cytology or cultures, MRI or CT scans, radiographs (X-rays), E. cuniculi testing, or blood chemistry screening may be recommended by your veterinarian to rule out some frequent causes of seizures. However, there is no “seizure test” that can pinpoint the exact reason. If the tests are inconclusive or diagnostics are out of your budget, you can try a range of drugs before putting your rabbit on a long-term seizure control medication.


If you are present while your rabbit has a seizure, remain cool and hold your rabbit firmly but gently to prevent it from flailing or falling, which could result in other injuries. After that, check the time; most seizures last less than a minute. If your rabbit’s convulsions last more than a few minutes, take it to the nearest veterinarian for emergency care while you chill it down with a moist towel.

Your rabbit will usually recover from the seizure after less than a minute of convulsions. To comfort your rabbit as it recovers from a seizure, maintain calm and speak calmly. Mark the event on the calendar after your rabbit is quiet and sitting up normally so you can note the frequency of any subsequent seizures.

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If your rabbit experiences a seizure for the first time, make an appointment with your exotic veterinarian. A consultation might be suggested. See your vet as soon as possible if your rabbit starts having seizures more often or if another one happens within 24 hours.

Your veterinarian may use a variety of drugs to treat certain common causes of seizures. If the cause of the episodes cannot be determined, antibiotics, steroids, antiparasitics, anti-inflammatories, and even seizure control drugs may be used. Your exotic veterinarian may prescribe phenobarbital as a seizure control medicine.

Prognosis for Rabbits With Seizures

The prognosis for your rabbit can vary greatly due to the many diverse causes of seizures in rabbits. Some less severe seizures may only occur once or can be controlled in the future with the right treatment. When it comes to inner ear infections or injuries, your veterinarian can usually treat the underlying cause. A veterinarian can assist you in deciding the best treatment option for your unique rabbit after the proper testing and examinations are completed.

How to Prevent Seizures

Seizures can strike at any time and for no apparent reason. As a result, effective medication and care following any previous occurrences are necessary for prevention. Regular exams might aid your veterinarian in identifying potential causes of seizures. Getting your rabbit vaccinated on time will help keep it from getting sick, which can cause neurological problems.

User Questions

Why is my bunny having spasms?

Muscle spasms in rabbits can indicate sickness, so you should be concerned. Call a veterinarian right away if you find your pet rabbit is suffering from muscle spasms. Head tilt and Viral Hemorrhagic Disease of Rabbits, or VHD, are two major diseases in rabbits that are often linked to muscle spasms.

What to do when a rabbit has a seizure?

Seizures in certain rabbits necessitate continual observation. Hospitalization is recommended in these extreme cases to assist with easing attacks and prevent lasting brain damage in the animal. Benzodiazepine medicines, which can reduce seizure activity, are frequently prescribed by veterinarians.

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Why does my rabbit jerk his head?

angry and upset. Angry rabbits twitch, shake their heads, and push or peck at the source of their rage. This is natural activity, and it is frequently followed by banging their back feet.

What is the most common cause of death in rabbits?

Flystrike (10.9 % of pet rabbits), anorexia (4.9 %), collapse (4.9 %), and gut stasis were the most common reasons for death, according to the study (4.3 %). Pet rabbits have an average lifespan of 4.3 years, while some have lived up to 14.4 years.

Do bunnies cry?

Rabbits cry when they are in pain, afraid, or on the verge of dying. When baby rabbits (kits) are hungry, they cry. Although rabbits make crying sounds, they do not shed tears. If your rabbit’s eyes are wet or teary, she could be suffering from a dental problem, allergies, or infection.


I hope you found this helpful guide. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the form below.


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