Our 10+ year old brown dutch rabbit Baxter had front legs that he placed to the side. In the picture below you can see his white feet are placed out from his body at about the shoulder while the other two younger rabbits have their front feet firmly under them.

It developed over about 12 to 18 months, subtle at first, as slight position change when resting, but they would be under him when running/hopping. At the end his legs where splayed out from his body, and nearly useless. Near the end he would sometimes step on a front foot with a back foot.

Baxter (now passed) was a rescue rabbit who spent 6+ years in class room. Symptom on set was around 8 years of age, he has a history of morbid obesity and poor alignment of his back teeth.

What is the name and cause of this?

Baxter and the girls Camping

1 Answer 1


The condition is called Splay Leg:

Splay leg, a developmental musculoskeletal condition, may be seen in young rabbits ranging in age from a few days to a few months or in sedentary senior rabbits. The condition may be related to housing on smooth, slippery flooring that results in the inability to pull the legs in under the body and the subsequent inability to walk effectively. With time the joint conformation changes and the legs stick out from the body, a condition known as splay leg.

Your rabbit may have had less exercise(because of his weight) as of late and that may have prompted this condition or he may be housed in area that has a slick surface. Splay Leg is also seen mostly in the front legs in older rabbits and can be caused by weakening of the muscles because of something genetic or otherwise.

The hind limb anatomy is more commonly affected in juvenile rabbits, and the front limbs more commonly in our senior rabbits.

The article goes on to say that the problem may occur due to inactivity and muscle wasting. Prevention or stopping progression is mostly trying to increase exercise and removing the rabbit from slick environments.

Other things that agree with my Info


veterinarypartner.com- This explains how there are other more unlikely diseases that could have caused the problem.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.