he condition medically known as torticollis (Latin for “twisted neck”) and sometimes as “wryneck” makes a rabbit’s neck twist, causing the head to tilt sideways. Sometimes, torticollis is accompanied by nystagmus, a constant, involuntary movement of the eyeballs. The direction and nature of nystagmus can help your vet determine the cause of the torticollis in order to prescribe appropriate treatment. Signs of torticollis may develop gradually or appear quite suddenly, but the result is the same: a bunny is walking around with her head on sideways. In severe cases, the bunny may be so disoriented that he simply cannot walk, and spends much of the time either lying on his side in apparent paralysis, or rolling in a wild attempt to regain footing. Of course, the sight of a bunny in this condition is distressing to the human caregiver. But far too many a bunny suffering a treatable case of torticollis has succumbed to his caregivers’ well-meaning desire to “not let him suffer.


In truth, head tilt is usually not only survivable, but treatable, though recovery may be gradual. Even a rabbit with a head tilt can live a happy, comfortable life as long as there is no pain, and the bunny enjoys eating, drinking, and being loved. I would consider euthanasia only as a last resort, if all attempts to treat the condition have failed, leaving the bunny in misery, unwilling to eat, drink or act normally at all. Remember that a permanently tilted head isnota symptom necessitating euthanasia! Many rabbits with their heads tilted at a jaunty angle are living completely happy lives, running and playing with all the vigor of their straight-headed bunny pals.

Meclizine (brand names: Antivert®, Dramamine® Less Drowsy Formula, Bonine®, Bonamine®, Postafen®, Univert®) is an antihistamine used to prevent and treat motion sickness and vomiting associated with it. Its use in cats, dogs, and other small mammals to treat motion sickness is ‘off label’ or ‘extra label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.

Uses/benefits of Meclizine For Rabbits

Meclizine is used in small animals for the treatment and prevention of vomiting and motion sickness. In rabbits, it is also used to treat head tilt (wry neck, torticollis). The FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) has approved this drug for use in humans, but it is not off icially approved for use in animals. The FDA allows veterinarians to prescribe products containing this drug in diff erent species or for other conditions in certain situations. You and your veterinarian can discuss why this drug is the most appropriate choice.

Features of Meclizine For Rabbits

Meclizine should not be used in pets that are allergic to it. It should be used with caution in pets with prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate), bladder neck obstruction, severe heart failure, angle-closure glaucoma, or pyeloduodenal obstruction (obstruction between the stomach and small intestine). it should be used with caution in pregnant and nursing animals. This medication may also interfere with allergy skin testing. Discontinue this medication 3-7 days prior to skin testing.


  • 0.5-2 mg/kg; IM (Blackwells, 2011)
  • 0.2-2 mg/kg IV, IM (Ramsey, 2011)
  • general anaesthesia: 0.2 mg/kg IV when used with Fentanyl/Fluanisone (q.v.) (Ramsey, 2011)
  • 0.5-2 mg/kg BW IM, IP, IV (Flecknell, 1996)
  • 2 mg/kg BW IN (Robertson and Eberhart, 1994)
  • 4 mg/kg BW IM, IP (Flecknell, 1987)
  • 2 mg/kg BW IV (Flecknell, 1987)

Prices of Meclizine For Rabbits

$7.35 – $13.95

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