Luigi’s Head Tilt

IMG_4559[1]This week has been a long and trying one for our little Luigi the Lemon.  Early Monday morning, we noticed the little man having trouble keeping his balance.  He was bobbing back and forth, and overcompensating for lack of coordination.  Despite his condition, he was still his feisty during his regular morning feeding, and showed no indication of pain or injury in his extremities.  There was no visible sign of a wound.

We brought him in to Exotic Animal Care Center first thing, and started in with x-rays and blood work.  There was no sign of infection or damage to his ears that could cause balance issues.  His heart looked a little more plump than it should, and he had a lot of gas.  We were concerned about if he is beginning to lose bone density, as well as the possibility of an e-cuniculi infection.

We brought him home with a whole series of meds including GI treatment (Critical Care, Simethicone, Reglan, Petromalt), painkiller, antibiotic, and Cerenia to treat dizziness.

As the day progressed, his condition worsened.  He began to develop a very noticeable head tilt, and could not stand up on his own.  He developed nystagmus, where his eyes scanned rapidly, as if he was spinning, and trying to account for it.  His head would rock back and forth in time with his eyes.  His temperature was dropping, and he was downright miserable.  Our poor little lemon was slipping fast.

Luigi is very special to us, and we were not ready to give up!  We prepared all manner of safe, padded environments for him, supplied warmth to keep him at a good body temperature, and gave him all the cuddles he could handle.

Slowly and surely, his spinning eyes slowed down and became less prominent.  His head tilt became more noticeable, but his balance improved.  He began exploring his padded areas and learning to compensate for his new condition.  He would sample some hay and parsley leaves, and approach us showing interest for cuddles and attention.  His house-mates, Galbani and Miss Mustard, have “graciously” learned to share a safe floor space, allowing Luigi new space to encourage exercise and working on his balance.

This morning is Day 6 of of his condition.  The occasional stumble and roll, but Luigi is nearly back to his normal self.  He loves cuddles, and will fall asleep on you for hours.  But the one thing he loves even more than cuddles is to let you know he’s done in the meanest way possible!  Out of the blue, he will start scuffing and digging at your chest, demanding you put him down.  He’s a real zero-to-sixty kinda guy.  He may end up living with a permanent head tilt, but that means he’ll just have a permanent “Baroo?” look on his face!  He will simply learn to adapt to his new situation.

Luigi is just one of our sanctuary rabbits at Zooh Corner Rabbit Rescue.  He came to us in a horrible state of disrepair, and earned his “Lemon” status early.  He has truly lived up to his nickname, and we love him all the more for it.  Your support ensures neglected, abandoned, or abused rabbits get a wonderful and loving home in our sanctuary.

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