Some rabbits (kelinci) are born with a condition known as “splay-leg,” in which the front legs, hind legs or all four legs splay out to the side like little seal flippers. Although most experts believe that the condition is congenital (possibly due to genetics resulting in weak connective tissue), it can be exacerbated by environmental conditions, such as being raised on a slippery floor that gives no traction. A 100% cotton, textured bathmat surface for playing and exercising as soon as babies come out of the nest may help reduce the incidence of splay-leg. Splay-leg bunnies can usually move about with a flopping motion, and we do know of completely happy adult “splay-leg” bunnies who can race about the house very quickly. However, because these bunnies tend to develop other health problems, it isn’t a bad idea to try to correct the problem when it is first detected, in very young babies about 3-5 weeks of age. Whatever the cause of the problem (nature or nurture), in some cases it can be corrected if the babies are fitted with simple, home-made leg braces.
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