Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Floppy rabbit syndrome

Contributor(s): Molly Varga, Anna Meredith, Richard Saunders

Introduction

  • Cause: there are a number of causes for the general condition described as Floppy rabbit syndrome (FRS).
  • Signs: sudden onset generalized flaccid paralysis.
  • Diagnosis: history and clinical signs.
  • Treatment: depends on cause.
  • Prognosis: good to variable according to actual cause.
  • FRS describes the symptomatic appearance of a rabbit with varying degrees of sudden onset generalized weakness, flaccidity, paresis or paralysis.
  • It is a condition with many possible causes, and idiopathic FRS should most correctly be considered a diagnosis of exclusion after all other defined cases are eliminated.
  • Full recovery can take place, usually within 3 days, regardless of treatment, although supportive therapy, particularly fluid   Fluid therapy  and nutritional support   Hospitalization / nursing care  is essential to avoid complications.
  • It has been reported in the UK, US and Europe.
Print off the Owner factsheet on Floppy rabbit syndrome to give to your clients.Presenting signs
  • Acute onset paralysis or paresis - typically found in flaccid state first thing in the morning.

Acute presentation

  • Typically there are no symptoms displayed prior to the presenting appearance above.

Predisposition

  • There appears to be no age, breed, sex or neutering status predisposition in the true idiopathic form, although younger rabbits are more likely to suffer from splay leg, with which FRS can be confused.
  • There appears to be no geographical distribution within the UK, where most cases have been reported.
  • No particular diet appears to predispose to this condition, although plant toxins may be implicated.

Cost considerations

  • Treatment costs are usually inexpensive, rabbits may be managed as inpatients or outpatients depending on the severity of their clinical signs, ability to eat and drink, and concurrent disorders, and usually consist of symptomatic care only.
  • Diagnostic costs can be considerable, potentially including radiography and more advanced imaging techniques, as well as hematology, biochemistry, electrolytes, serology and blood lead analysis. It may also be necessary to exclude other conditions and treat the rabbit appropriately.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Prognosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Capello V (2006) Small Mammal Orthopedics. In: Proc BSAVA Congress. pp 209-211.
  • Saunders & Rees Davis R (2005) Notes on Rabbit Internal Medicine. Blackwell. pp 103.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2002) Chapter 12: Neurological and Locomotor Disorders. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. pp 307-323.
  • Boydell P (2000) Nervous System and Disorders. In: Manual of Rabbit Medicine and Surgery. Ed: Flecknell P A. BSAVA Publications, Quedgeley. pp 57-61.
  • Gentz E J & Carpenter J W (1997) Rabbits: Neurologic and Musculoskeletal Disease. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents - Clinical Medicine and Surgery. Eds: Hillyer E V & Quesenberry K E. Saunders, Philadelphia. pp 220-226.


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