Uneven gait as a sign of pain

uneven gait An uneven gait when walking or hopping is one of the most obvious signs of pain in a rabbit. Even though their instinct is to hide pain and weakness, when a limb does not function properly, this is one sign they cannot hide.

Generally, a rabbit veterinarian will need to assist you in diagnosing the cause of this type of pain however; you can check the pads of your bunny’s feet for foreign objects first. Make sure there is no hay sliver, thorn, burr, or other object stuck in the pad or fur under the foot. This type of problem, the bunny usually takes care of itself unless it has intruded deeply into the pad.

An uneven gait could also indicate soft tissue or bone problems such as a pulled muscle or tendon or a chipped or fractured bone. Arthritis in the hips, shoulders or back, fused disks in the back bone or pinched nerves can also cause an uneven gait. You can assist your veterinarian in diagnosing this pain by relating all of the activities of your bunny prior to the development of the limp. Make a note of any activity or unusual action or behavior your bunny displayed in the days prior to the limp, because even the smallest change in your bunny’s behavior may help the veterinarian in a diagnosis.

Shadow, one of the rabbits at the rescue, developed arthritis in his back. While watching him play one day, one or the other of his back hips would occasionally sag when he hopped around the play pen. In addition, when he hopped into or out of his hutch, one or the other of his back feet would catch on the edge of the hutch making him stumble. It was not always the same hip that sagged or the same foot that caught on the edge of the hutch. This information helped our veterinarian to determine that the problem was not in the legs but in the lower back. If you know your bunny well, something as slight as a sagging hip or a stumble should be an immediate indication that something is wrong.