Vestibular Disease in Rabbits

Vestibular disease in rabbits is also known as disease of the neurological system. It can manifest itself in different ways and can be caused from various conditions.

What is Vestibular Disease?

The neurological system is broken down in to two parts:

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) consists of the nerves and ganglia (a structure containing a number of nerve cell bodies) outside of the brain and spinal cord. Its main function is to connect the Central Nervous System to the limbs and organs. The Peripheral Nerves control voluntary and involuntary actions.

Central Nervous System (CNS) consists of the brain and the spinal cord. It controls most functions of the body and mind. The CNS both receives and sends information to the PNS.

When parts of the neurological system start to develop abnormalities from disease, usual function becomes impaired and will start to affect the rabbit.

Signs of Vestibular Disease

  • Trembling
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness in one side of the body
  • Rapid involuntary eye movement
  • Head tilt
  • Loss of controlled movement i.e. Stumbling/ circling

Causes of Vestibular Disease

Treating Vestibular Disease

  • Treatment of the route cause of the disease/ infection
  • Minimising stress levels by providing a quite and dimly lit environment
  • Confining their living environment to prevent injuries from poor co-ordination
  • Syringe feeding
  • Fluid therapy

In all cases if you notice any of these symptoms it is imperative that you take your rabbit to a rabbit savvy vet immediately. In cases where your rabbit shows signs of ear mites, E. Cuniculi and Pasteurella early treatment can prevent your rabbit developing Vestibular disease.


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