How to care for a rabbit with head tilt

Learn about e-cuniculi, or "EC," which is one of the major causes of head tilt.

Consult your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY if you suspect or see signs of head tilt in your rabbit. EC is one of the causes, but similar symptoms can be caused by ear infections or other illnesses. 

Learn more about EC here:

Signs and Diagnosis of E. Cuniculi in Rabbits (The Small Animal Channel)

If your think your rabbit is showing signs of head tilt, consult a veterinarian immediately.

Head tilt in rabbits has several causes, including:

  • E-cunniculi, or EC. EC is a parasite that attacks a rabbit's central nervous system. Untreated, EC can lead to death, which is why you should always immediately consult a veterinarian if you see signs of head tilt in your rabbit. Permanent head tilt can result from a bout of EC.
  • Ear infections. Untreated ear infections can result in temporary or permanent head tilt.

Symptoms can include:

 

  • Tilted head
  • Dizziness or dizzy behavior, including moving in circles
  • Rapid back-and-forth eye movements that seem involuntary
  • Head swinging from side to side

 

If your rabbit has permanent head tilt, he or she can still live a happy, loving life. At Special Bunny, we've  helped and loved many bunnies with head tilt, and we want to help you and your rabbit continue to enjoy each other for as long as possible.

To help your head tilt rabbit, you'll need:

  • Special housing.
  • Special care in keeping the 'down' eye and ear clean and healthy.
  • Tips and trick to help with seizures and spinning.

Housing a rabbit with head tilt

We believe all pet rabbits should live indoors with the family. This is especially true of special needs rabbits.

Some rabbits with mild head tilt continue to be able to use their litter pans.

You can help your rabbit by creating a 'cut down' litter pan by:

  • cutting the side of the litterpan to make it easier for your rabbit to hop into it
  • creating a 'litter tray' instead of a litter pan using a container with very low edges

If your rabbit can no longer use a litter pan or tray, don't despair!

There are ways to keep your bunny clean and healthy using some very easy to find materials. We've created detailed instructions on creating a wonderful living space for your disabled rabbit.

We also recommend that you read this page on Caring for the Critically Ill House Rabbit.

Note that bunnies with head tilt aren't necessarily critically ill! In many cases, they can go on to live long happy lives even with the head tilt. Also, we strongly recommend adding a layer of faux sheepskin fleece on top of the towels.

Coming soon:

Grooming tips for head tilt rabbits
Managing seizures and spinning.