Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Ataxia

Synonym(s): Incoordination

Contributor(s): Sarah Pellett, Livia Benato

Introduction

  • Incoordination of the limbs, head and/or body due to sensory dysfunction.
  • Cause: there are three clinical types, sensory (proprioception), vestibular and cerebellar. Causes are multifactoral and can include, neurologic conditions, musculoskeletal disease, traumatic conditions, parasitic encephalitozoonosis due to Encephalotozoon cuniculi, metabolic conditions and miscellaneous conditions such as respiratory, cardiac compromise, toxicity and hereditary abnormalities.
  • Signs: incoordination of limbs and sometimes the head and body. Heat tilt can be seen if the vestibular system is affected. Secondary signs such as urine scald and perineal alopecia may be seen in rabbits with spinal disease due to inability to maintain a normal stance during urination.
  • Diagnosis: hematology, biochemistry and urinalysis to rule out metabolic causes. Serology testing for E. culiculi. PCR testing for E. cuniculi is available at some laboratories to assess whether there is active shedding. Radiography, otoscopic examination +/- endoscopy.
  • Treatment: treat underlying causes.
  • Prognosis: depends on underlying cause.
Print off the Owner factsheet on Incoordination - ataxia to give to your clients.

Presenting problems

Acute presentation

  • Sudden onset head tilt and incoordination.

Sex predisposition

  • Can affect rabbits of any gender.

Breed predisposition

  • Can affect rabbits of any breed.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Sequelae

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Meredith A L & Richardson J (2015) Neurological diseases of rabbits and rodents. J Exotic Pet Med 24 (1), 21-33 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Varga M (2014) Neurological and locomotor disorders. In: Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. 2nd edn. Butterworth Heinemann Elsevier, Edinburgh. pp 367-389.
  • Oglesbee B (2011) Ataxia. In: Blackwells Five Minute Veterinary Consult. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester. pp 363-364.


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