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Middle ear infections

Dr. Lauren Thielen at Texas Avian & Exotic Hospital wrote the following on middle ear infections in rabbits:

Middle ear infection example. Source: source

Do you notice something different about this rabbit? Look at both sides of his lips, see how one looks bigger than the other? I’ll tell you, the “bigger” lip is the normal one! This is often the first sign an owner will notice with a middle ear infection. What is happening all has to do with the facial nerve that runs along the side of the face and crosses over the middle ear. When pus fills up the middle ear the nerve gets compromised, and stops providing innervation to the face. As a result, you can see the contraction of the upper lip (the one that looks smaller) because the nerves can’t supply the lip muscle normally any longer. A CT scan is used to verify this condition, and a variety of surgical and medical managements can be used to treat the infection. However, typically once this nerve is this damaged it will not go back to normal.

Ear infections are a common condition of lop-eared rabbits due to their anatomy. Many rabbits do not show clinical signs until disease is advanced. This common issue, among many other reasons, is why annual wellness exams are so important!

Lateral ear canal resection


Ear canal ablation

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