Head Tilt Average Cost

From 386 quotes ranging from $200 - 800

Average Cost

$400

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What is Head Tilt?

Head tilt can affect all rabbits with no predisposition in the sex, age or breed. It's a noninfectious condition which can appear gradually,  or all of a sudden for a number of different reasons. No matter when or why it appears, the results are the same, your rabbit will walk around with difficulty and with lack of coordination due to his head being sideways.

However, head tilt is not considered a disease at all. It is actually considered a symptom of a condition that can affect your rabbit. The health issue can originate in many areas, such as his  balancing system which includes his central nervous system (CNS), his vestibular apparatus in his inner ear, his visual system, as well as his pads on his feet that tell him he is standing on solid ground. 

Even though head tilt in rabbits is probably one of the most difficult and distressing conditions you may ever have to witness your rabbit go through, there is good news. If your rabbit is diagnosed with head tilt, he can survive and lead a happy and healthy life. In most cases head tilt is treatable. However, the recovery process can be slow and it is dependent on whether or not it was diagnosed and treated early enough, as well as the cause.

Due to the seriousness and progressive nature of head tilt in rabbits, it is highly recommended that you immediately contact your veterinarian if you notice that your rabbit is displaying balance or coordination trouble.

Head tilt in rabbits is also known as wryneck. The medical term for this condition is torticollis. It is a condition when a rabbit's neck twists and causes it's head to tilt to one side. Head tilt can affect male or female rabbits of all ages and breeds.

 

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Symptoms of Head Tilt in Rabbits

Depending on how long the condition has been present, the severity, and the reason why your rabbit is suffering from head tilt, you may observe one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Ataxia
  • Circling
  • Disorientation
  • Head shaking
  • Head tilting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nystagmus
  • Paralysis or weakness in hind end
  • Rolling
  • Scratching at ears

In some cases, clinical signs can be very vague, or even nonexistent. If your rabbit is showing any of the symptoms listed above, you should take him to your veterinarian immediately.

Causes of Head Tilt in Rabbits

While there are many different causes for head tilt in rabbits, the most common causes are an infection such as Encephalitozoon cuniculi (mainly observed in dwarf breed rabbits), Pasteurella multocida (mainly observed in standard breed rabbits), or head trauma. Other causes for head tilt in rabbits can be:

  • Abscess
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral larva migrans
  • Cervical muscle contraction
  • Encephalitozoonosis
  • Inner / middle ear infections
  • Parasitic infection 
  • Poor nutrition
  • Stroke
  • Tumors

Diagnosis of Head Tilt in Rabbits

The first thing your veterinarian will want to do is perform a complete physical examination which will allow her to rule out other conditions that may present similar to head tilt.

Next, your veterinarian will perform a complete blood count and a biochemistry blood panel as well as a neurologic exam. She will then most likely want to perform a E. cuniculi test as well as a microbiology. Skull radiographs, CT scan, MRI, and endoscopy are other diagnostic tools that may be used to verify trauma, injury to the central nervous system, or issues with the inner ear. A history of your pet’s recent health will also be important to know for the diagnosis. Exposure to other rabbits, recent illnesses, present diet, and recent trauma if any, will be necessary to note.

Treatment of Head Tilt in Rabbits

Treating the source of the head tilt will be key to your rabbit’s recovery. Depending on the cause for the illness, the torticollis may become a permanent part of your pet’s life. As long as your rabbit is able to eat, drink, groom, and move around, the balance issue may be present but not a reason for euthanasia. In cases where the rabbit is depressed, has severe anorexia, extreme stress, and is not thriving euthanasia may be the best decision. Your veterinarian may decide on the following options for therapy:

  • Antibiotics for infections (such as in the inner ear)
  • Fluid therapy in the beginning to help your rabbit improve his hydration and appetite
  • Nutritional aid
  • Physical therapy
  • Supportive care in the form of pain medication or anti-inflammatories
  • Surgery

Recovery of Head Tilt in Rabbits

Rabbits can recover from torticollis, though often a residual head tilt or slight balance issue will remain. Pets who have coordination problems may need extra help with feeding, grooming, and daily basic needs as they recover. The prognosis for head tilt varies, but it is known that the recovery is often very slow. This will involve extra care from you as an owner, and possibly continued contact with the veterinarian for weeks to months.

Head Tilt Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Norma
Lion head cross breed
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Rolling
Head Tilt

Hi, my rabbit Norma has been to the 4 vet visits to 3 different vets in the past 7 days. Day 1 I took to the vet and was told it was most likely E.C because of the slight tilt and was prescribed panacur. She was not eating at this point. After getting home I wasn't happy so took her to another vet supposedly a rabbit savvy one they said it could be E.C, brain lesion and prescribed 1ml of Zantac 2-3 times a day along with metacam twice a day and critical care liquid feed. Day 3 came and she started eating veggies and seemed more perkier in herself. Day 4 continued to eat more and started to munch hay again. Day 5 came and she was ok until the night time when she started getting very wobbly and then rolling and in circles. Day 6 decided to take her back to the rabbit savvy vet she had been eating and trying to do things but keeps loosing balance with then turns into a roll, I put her in her carry case and she was rolling a lot she was stressed i got the vet and she didn't look good I think she stressed herself out a lot the vet didn't want to give me anything to help with dizziness as he said there wasn't any licensed and then said the best option was to put to sleep!
I then went to an exotic vet and she went into details more but she gave me an antibiotic called baytril twice a day at 1.1ml. I've been researching so much and going on to bunny forums and people are saying that baytril isn't strong enough and won't work. I'm worried now that still after visiting 3 different vets I still haven't got the right meds for her and it's been hard to get those upto this point.

After we got home from the vets after having a lye down for 15 minutes she was up again trying to cause mischief just getting interrupted by her loss of balance and rolls. I'm unsure if I should help her when she's rolling or do I leave her to sort herself out unless she really needs help?

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
461 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. I'm sorry that you are having so many problems with Norma. It sounds like she might be improving on the Baytril, and that is a very broad spectrum antibiotic. Without seeing her, I can't really add to the opinions of the veterinarians that you have seen - if she doesn't continue to improve, it would be best to follow up with your most recent veterinarian, as they seem to be knowledgeable in the care of Norma. I hope that she improves.

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Bowie
Dutch
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Weakness

Hi,
My Rabbit this morning seems weak, and she seem to turn the head on her left side, it's not a head tilt like i have seen on other rabbit. The position is like she's going to scratch her back with her head. She's eating but she does not have a lot of energy. I gave her some metacam this morning and the weather is not going to be good at all the next days, don't know when i will be able to travel see a vet..

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
461 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, without examining Bowie, I cannot diagnose anything or recommend treatment. It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. I hope that she does well.

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Henry
Rex
8 Months
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Balance
Head Tilt

My rabbit Henry has recently gotten head tilt and the vet i took him to did not fully give me a reason as to why he’s doing it. They ruled out earmites or an infection and gave me medicine to treat hookworms which i syringe feed him once a day. They also recommend i syringe feed him critical care food and he takes it. However, he will take and eat treats from hand on his own and eat his hay on his own. I don’t fully understand what’s wrong with him because he still rolls and loses his balance.

Michele King
Dr. Michele King, DVM
461 Recommendations
Thank you for contacting us today about Henry. Two common causes for that type of behavior in rabbits are Pasteurella infections in their ears, or E. canaliculi, a protozoal parasite that affects rabbits. If your veterinarian hasn't treated for those conditions, it may be worth asking them about it. They may have considered them and treated for them, without knowing more about the prescribed medications, I don't have any way of knowing. I hope that he recovers quickly.

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Daisy
dwarf mix
2 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking
Eye Discharge
Eye Shaking

my rabbit lives outside and she got out of her cage and was in the woods for a majority of the day and I got her back and the next morning she was sitting in one spot and her head twitching and her eyes darting. when she moves it's in a circle. she eats but I don't know if I should wait for her to stop or take her to a vet.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1953 Recommendations
The most common cause for rabbits having a head tilt and walking in circles is vestibular disease which affects the balance; other causes may be head trauma, poisoning or ear infection. I would suggest going into your Veterinarian for an examination to determine the underlying cause and to ensure that there isn’t anything serious. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Peter rabbit
Californian
Less then a year
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Twitching eye
Head Tilt

Medication Used

none

My rabbit has head tilt but is still hopping around eating and drinking. We do not have a vet near by at all. His eye is twitching and head is tilted to the left side. He seems to be happy tho. His poop and pee seems normal. I read that they should be able to eat their poop and mine can not.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1953 Recommendations

There are many different causes of head tilt in rabbits including: vestibular disorders, poisoning, ear infections, parasites (protozoa, roundworms or mites) or nutritional deficiency. It is important that Peter Rabbit eats his cecotropes (soft faeces) as the first pass of digesta through the body results in little nutrition given to the rabbit; after fermentation in the cecum, the faeces are expelled and consumed allowing the nutrition to be absorbed. Whilst I understand that you don’t have a Veterinarian near by, a check to rule out infections and parasites would be helpful. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Angel
English Lop
9 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Really scared

A cat shook my rabbits head and from that time she has got a head tilt
Please help and also she is unable to walk properly her back right leg has got some problem. Please help it's an emergency

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1953 Recommendations

There are various causes of head tilt in rabbits including infections, parasites and cancer; in this case the head tilt and back leg problem would be caused by the cat shaking the rabbits head. Rabbits have sensitive backs and paralysis and other problems may occur if they are mishandled. Angel needs to be examined by a Veterinarian (which I am unable to do) to assess the level of injury and to determine treatment if applicable. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

I noticed my rabbit Williams head tilting slightly to left a couple days ago. Over the last day it has become very noticeable and more than just a slight tilt. Williams head is very tilted to the left now, h can still hop around but seems harder for him due to his tilt. I haven't noticed his appetite or drinking habits to be different.

I'm not a vet, but I have a bunny with head-tilt and what keeps her happy and in a good condition (as good as it can get), is making sure she gets her vet-prescribed medicine every day, and making sure she gets enough hay, food, water, and exercise. Thnx!

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