Mo, my 1-year-old rabbit got a facial asymmetry


Sophia Chou is funded solely by the generosity of donors.

Every donation, no matter what the size, is appreciated and will aid in the continuing research of medical care and health of rabbits.

Thank you  

Warning: this page may contain pictures that may be distressing for some persons

Mo is very precious to my family. He is very energetic now and eats a lot every day.

Here are some details about Mo's illness:

•         History: When Mo was a little rabbit (about 1month-old, I found he had a rhinitis. At first the nasal is yellow, and then it changed into transparent and colorless. Because he was so young, the vet dared not use antibiotics. Instead, I gave him Echinacea drops for children's use. When spring came and the day got warmer, his nose was ok. In addition, he had no exposures to other rabbits, patient and wild environment, also no trauma.

•         Physical exam: The vet did a physical exam. And Mum and I check his body every day. He is active and happy. No head hilt, no loss of balance, no weakness, no paralysis, no blindness, no altered appetite, no tremors or no seizures. In addition to the clinical sign of facial paralysis (like Horner's Syndrome mentioned in articles: a drooping eyelid, sunken eye and relaxed third eyelid), but not as serious as 3 weeks ago and his pupil is normal.

•         Tests: No CBC, Serum biochemistries and X-rays so far. (They were done 3 months ago and the results were good.) As for other exams mentioned in articles, such as serology for E. cuniculi, blood testing for heavy metals, CT scan and MRI, they are not (yet) available in my city and most veterinary places of China.

Mo got a facial asymmetry about 3 weeks ago, which the vet thought is caused by ear infection. Mo's vet is majors in cat and dog and has little knowledge of rabbit. This situation is not easy for us.

Mo suffering from facial paralysis and a falling ear, which are typical for middle/inner ear infection in rabbits.

Detailed view of Mo's face

•         2012/12/06 Mum found the dropping of Mo's right ear at night but she didn't know it was a sign of Mo's illness. BTW, Mo's nose kept a little runny during this week, especially in cold days.

•         2012/12/07 We observed the appearance of the third eyelid on the right side of Mo's face and his right eye looked like a little abnormal. This eye is runny. He ate and drank a lot but was not as active as usual. Mo's face was like the bunny in the picture:

Kim Chilson

Rabbit suffering from facial paralysis: a front view from the face shows asymmetry of the face. This is caused by the dropping of the lip on the paralyzed side.

•         2012/12/08 The vet confirmed Mo's facial asymmetry and he thought the cause was ear infection. Before he told me this he checked Mo's ears with an otoscope and extracted a bit of secretions for microscopic examination. The result showed "Malassezia++" but there are no other bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Pasteurella sp. So the vet thought infection is located in the outer ear and not very serious. When the nurse washing Mo's ear with Epi-otic, I could see some dark red things like blood crust from right ear but the left ear is clean. Both ear had no smell. The vet also believed that the ear infection was related to Mo's runny nose.

Mo continues to eat well ...

and be naughty.

•         2012/12/09 Mo looked better than yesterday. He played with us happily and ate much hay and some vegetables. It seemed that his dropped ear became a little stronger. His nose was still runny but the right eye was not.

Here is the medication course:

•         2012/12/08: Baytril, 15mg, SC.

•         2012/12/09-2012/12/22: Baytril, 15mg/day, PO. At beginning of the treatment, it seemed that Baytril worked so my vet recommended continued use of this drug for 2 weeks.

•         2012/12/16-2012/12/22: meloxicam, first day 1mg, other days 0.5mg, PO for 7 days.

•         2012/12/23-NOW: Bicillin, 150000 IU once every 48 hours, SC.

His right ear gets better and sometimes can keep upright. But his right face still has the problem and sometimes his nose and right eye is runny. My vet doesn’t know how to deal with rabbit's facial paralysis so he is pessimistic about prognosis.

Mo's treatment ended in January. His ears look normal now. And his face has improved greatly although it still remains a little different. His appetite is not influenced by antibiotic treatment. In a word, he's strong and energetic now!

Last weekend Mo had a CBC exam and the vet checked his ear with an otoscope. He said Mo's ear canal looked normal now. Here are two copies of result of CBC exam. One is for this time and the other is for last year (at that time his ear canal has no inflammation). 

Mo's blood results from september 2012 (click on image to have full results):

Mo's blood results from March 2013 (click on image to have full view):

X-rays were not available because Mo did not cooperate with us. The vet thought it required anesthesia.

September 2013: One year later, Mo has recovered well from his ear infection, his tilted ear and facial paralysis. He will soon have an examination to confirm his good health.