Spondylosis in rabbits is a painful degenerative condition that affects the spine, by causing non cancerous growths on the spinal column.
- In some cases no symptoms are present.
Neurological problems due to compression of the spinal column include;
- Loss of control over body movements.
- Muscular weakness caused by nerve damage.
Mobility issues caused by the condition itself can present the following symptoms:
- Not walking or hopping well, reluctance to move around etc.
- Urine scalds from an inability to position correctly.
- Messy bottom from uneaten caecotrophs.
- Ear wax build up.
- Decrease in grooming resulting in; tear staining, matted fur and flaky skin.
- Obesity (increased pressure on the joints).
- Genetic predisposition.
- Giant rabbits are prone to spondylosis because of their weight and the pressure this causes on the joints.
- Inactivity linked to small enclosures.
- Low calcium diets.
- Vitamin D deficiency.
Other conditions will be ruled out by your vet, as symptoms for spondylosis can be attributed to other medical conditions.
An x-ray will identify the condition.
Treatment/ Care management
- Pain and non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
- In some cases steroidal medication is used, although this is not common.
- If obesity is the cause a healthy diet and increased activity is essential
- Treating messy bottoms and urine scalds.
- Regular grooming if required.
- If mobility is an issue, keep the living area to one level. Low sided food and water bowls may be needed as well as low sided litter trays.
- Cleaning out ear wax build up. Only when shown how to do this by a rabbit savvy vet.
Regular visits to a rabbit savvy vet will be important to assess progression of the illness as well as treating any associated secondary conditions.