What causes splayed legs in rabbits

What causes splayed legs in rabbits you ask… Well, rabbits having splayed leg is a hereditary disorder in the rabbit’s legs. However, injuries caused while walking on extremely slippery flooring can result in your rabbit having splayed leg due to weak connective tissue or weak joints. When rabbits with a splay leg mate, it is likely that their offspring will have this condition.

What causes splayed legs in rabbits
What causes splayed legs in rabbits

Of all the baby and adult rabbit deformities, splay leg rabbits is common. Rabbit’s legs having this deformity can’t take back their limb into the body. As a result, it exposes the rabbit to several health issues. The functional limbs carry their weight. And, it causes wear and tears on weak connective tissue and on their joints.

Sadly, there is no surgical or medical treatment for a splay leg. However, an appropriate lifestyle can help your rabbit live a long, healthy life. So, what is the cause of splayed legs in rabbits? Read on to find out more about it.

What are the symptoms of splay leg in a rabbit?

As said, splay leg is one of the most visible and common deformities that you can find in adult and baby rabbits. The limbs sit at an abnormal angle all the time. And, the angle of deflection could be anywhere between 45 and 90 degrees. Moreover, your rabbit won’t hop freely while having a splay leg.

Many splay leg rabbits find it difficult to move around with a splay leg. In addition, rabbits can’t stand properly depending on the affected limb. The hind legs help rabbits to have a good look at potential threats. Also, they help the rabbits to stand in a begging position. Moreover, splayed front legs don’t cause much harm depending on the severity of the problem.

Your rabbit might hop around when they find it hard to balance. To stand firmly, well-built hind legs are required. Apart from that, the bunny will have no trouble performing daily activities. However, your pet may find it hard to reach a spot placed higher.

How is splayed leg in rabbits treated?

How is splayed leg in rabbits treated
How is splayed leg in rabbits treated?

When splay leg rabbits are born, it will have it for its whole life. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. You can brace splay legs of your rabbit. At least, it allows your pet to hop around and live a good life. Follow the technique below.

  • Take a longer cork and make small pieces of about one inch in length. Attach cotton pads on both sides
  • Gently move your pet’s splayed leg into a relaxed position
  • Place the cork on your rabbit’s ankles. Next, wrap the tape around the cork until their leg is in position. Keep in mind to use soft tape so that it doesn’t pull out your pet’s fur and remain sticky

It will take some time for your rabbit to get used to the restrictive movement. So, have patience as the braced leg hinders normal movement. The longer your pet lives with this condition, the more they will become used to it.

Also, you may seek a rabbit savvy veterinarian. After your pet adjusts to the braces, they can use it for a long. However, change the braces after a few days. That way, your bunny remains clean.

What are symptoms of a splay leg?

Splay leg is easy to detect. It doesn’t take much time to find out that something is not normal with your rabbit. You will notice that your pet doesn’t hop as ordinary rabbits do. Or, you can notice a limb being out of their body.

Rabbits that are suffering from a splay leg get around by wiggling or hopping. However, the extent of a splay leg varies from one rabbit to another. But in most cases, their legs will stick out at an angle of 45 to 90 degrees away from the body.

In rare cases, the legs can fold backward. Moreover, a splay leg can impact one or all four limbs. It can affect the hind or front limbs. In general, it affects either the back or front limbs. In addition, they might have trouble moving around and standing.

Supportive Care

A bunny with a splay leg requires special attention and care. That’s because it is not a temporary situation that you think will go away soon. It is something that you can’t ignore. So, if you have figured what is the cause of a splay leg in rabbits, consider the following.

  • Ensure proper layout of your rabbit’s hutch
  • How to keep them clean
  • How to make them exercise

In addition, there will be special needs for your rabbit compared to the normal ones. Your pet will need a padded enclosure to support its limbs.

Moreover, if the braces have cubes or bars along their side, make sure that your pet’s legs aren’t caught between them.

Can you breed splay leg rabbits?

Can you breed splay leg rabbits
Can you breed splay leg rabbits?

Apart from worrying about what is the cause of a splay leg in rabbits, many people wonder whether breeding splayed-legged rabbits are legal. No state has regulations that say breeding rabbits with splay leg is illegal. . Even there are no rules when it comes to selling a rabbit with this deformity.

Because it is a congenital disorder, the ethics relating to the breeding of such rabbits is a matter of debate. Unfortunately, the offspring will have similar issues. There is no question that rabbits with splay legs deserve love. Also, it doesn’t make sense why one should jeopardise the lives of such rabbits.

Bracing a rabbit with a “Splay-leg”

Regardless of what is the cause of splay leg in rabbits, it is sad that there is no specific treatment for splayed legs. However, the condition improves when you use braces on the affected limbs.

Bracing is a successful endeavour that brings great results, especially in young rabbits. Certain young bunnies are born with this deformity or develop it early.

Moreover, you can still play with them with ease. But don’t make them push harder which results in stress. Bracing your rabbit improves their mobility as well. When you make necessary changes to their lifestyle and housing, your pet starts living a normal life. Only you can fill their life with happiness.

Are splayed legs responsible for other health problems in rabbits?

One of the greatest dangers in splayed-legged rabbits is that it hurts their health. Moreover, it can lead to bumblefoot and arthritis. Bumblefoot is a kind of bacterial infection on your rabbit’s feet. It impacts your pet’s hind legs.

When left untreated, bumblefoot causes painful open sores. Anti-bacterial ointment and soap are useful in this condition. And, arthritis occurs when excessive pressure is applied to your pet’s healthy legs. These legs carry the burden while walking.

As a result, the collagen in the joints encounters wear and tear. Supplements that contain chondroitin and glucosamine are good for treating arthritis. You can check pet stores to get one that suits your needs. Adding Myristol pellets to your rabbit’s routine helps a lot.

Moreover, you can massage the affected joints. That way, it will make your pet more comfortable. Also, you may consult your vet if you notice any kind of pain. Only a specialized lifestyle plan can help you out.

Is a splayed leg painful for a rabbit to live with?

Is a splayed leg painful for a rabbit to live with
Is a splayed leg painful for a rabbit to live with?

There is no denying that a rabbit with a splay leg doesn’t have to deal with significant pain always. However, there is no observational evidence. And, no scientific papers are there as of now on this matter. Besides, many rabbit owners have reported that splay-legged rabbits play and run like normal bunnies.

While a splayed leg rabbit isn’t that graceful, they care less about it. Apart from that, bunnies having splayed legs can’t be ignored either. That’s because, if you don’t take care of your rabbit, they may suffer from consequences resulting from their deformity.

Related Question:

What causes floppy rabbit Syndrome?

important to know why your pet may have floppy rabbit syndrome. Despite several kinds of researches, the exact cause of floppy rabbit syndrome is still to be known. However, there are possible causes that may cause this medical condition in rabbits. Here are some factors listed below.

  • Neurological issues, Genetic or humidity based, Spinal cord damage,
  • Ingestion of toxins, Selenium deficiency, Musculoskeletal pain, DehydrationHypotension, Hypothermia, Low potassium levels in the blood, Calcium deficiency

    Is splay leg genetic?

    Yes, the splay leg disorder is genetic and there are no other reasons for this deformity, just poor genetics. Most experts all over the world believe that the condition is because of genetics. And, it results in weakening the connective tissues in rabbits. So, when a rabbit has splayed legs, it cannot move one or all of its limbs.

    There is no question about the involvement of genetic components. However, heredity has a major role to play in transmission. Hence, a rabbit with a splay limb is inherited from its parents. In general, it shows right at birth. Or, you discover them after a few weeks after birth.

    Final thoughts

    Regardless of what is the cause of splayed legs in rabbits, many people try to make their world a beautiful place to live in. However, compromises have to be made including certain environmental factors. That way, your pet can enjoy a great life even with this disability. Slay-legged rabbits need a loving family and home as much as humans want.