I have heard a lot about head tilt in rabbits. What causes head tilt? What are the treatments and/or prognosis?
As far is I found the possible causes are:
- Middle/inner ear infection (otitis media /interna) - treated with anitbiotics - success not sure
- Stroke (cerebrovascular accidents) - lots of care needed - acupuncture maybe helpful
- Trauma - can be treated with anti-inflammatory - succesful if trauma not severe
- Cancer (neoplasia) - did not find much, but it's cancer
- Cervical muscle contraction - only temporary
- Encephalitozoonosis - parasite - treatment not mentioned
- Cerebral larva migrans - no known cure
- Intoxication - depending on the toxin, vet needs to decide
- an abscess - needs to be removed with surgery
The treatments do depend on the cause (Read more). But
While many cases of head tilt can be successfully treated, others cannot.[...]Regardless of the cause, sometimes a rabbit who survives will be left with a slight head tilt for the rest of his life.
One reason could be the daily drinking from water bottles and so caused habituation to a false head position:
Studies have shown that a rabbit with access to both a water bowl and a water bottle will prefer the bowl. It’s much easier to drink out of, because the water doesn’t come out one drop at a time. Also, a bottle forces the rabbit to tilt the head up in an unnatural position, making it highly uncomfortable. Even though nothing can fall into a bottle and soil the water, it is much more difficult to clean, so bacteria and algae will often develop and soil any fresh water that gets added immediately.
Edit: It is not a chief cause, nor the single cause for head tilt. But I think it could be the most common and one that could be easy avoided.