Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Head tilt

Synonym(s): ear infection, head tilt, wry neck, torticollis

Contributor(s): David L Williams, Hannah Orr, Sharon Redrobe, Molly Varga, Vetstream Ltd

Introduction

  • Cause: trauma, bacterial infection, CNS parasitism, meningoencephalitis (rarely neoplasia).
  • Signs: range from rabbits with no clinical signs to those with head tilts or circling through to rabbits with uncontrollable rolling.
  • Diagnosis: often diagnosed on clinical signs, although the differential diagnosis of a central brain abscess or E. cuniculiinfection may give very similar signs. Radiography using a bulla view often shows a soft tissue density in this area, confirming otitis media.
  • Treatment: systemic antibiotics such as enrofloxacin may be used although often the purulent material in the inner ear does not allow sufficient drug penetration to yield a sterile result. Surgery such as a bulla osteotomy may be suggested although results of this are not particularly encouraging.
  • Prognosis: depends on cause and severity of symptoms.

Presentation

  • Headshaking.
  • Scratching at ears.
  • Head tilt.
  • Circling.

Acute

  • Inco-ordination.
  • Rolling.

Morbidity

Breed

Cost

Expensive

  • Considerable diagnostic work-up is often required including radiography and E. cuniculiserology.
  • Treatment can be prolonged and is often unsuccessful.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prognosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Keeble E (2006) Common neurological and musculoskeletal problems in rabbits. In Pract 28 (4), 212-218 VetMedResource.
  • Hillyer E V (1994) Pet rabbits. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 24 (1), 25-65 PubMed.
  • Kunstyr I & Naumann S (1985) Head tilt in rabbits caused by pasteurellosis and encephalitozoonosis. Lab Anim 19 (3), 208-213 PubMed.
  • Bjotvedt G & Geib L W (1981) Otitis media associated with Staphylococcus epidermis and Psoroptes cuniculi in a rabbit. Vet Med Small Anim Clin 76 (7), 1015-1016 PubMed.


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