Presentation, treatment and outcome of long-bone fractures in pet rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

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Abstract / Description of output

To describe the incidence, aetiology, characteristics, assessment, management and outcome of long-bone fractures in rabbits presenting to a single institution.

Medical records of pet rabbits diagnosed with long-bone fractures over a twelve-year period were analysed. Patient signalment, fracture aetiology, fracture location, fracture description, time from fracture occurrence to veterinary presentation, fixation method, postoperative complications, clinical outcome and follow-up were recorded.

Twenty-eight pet rabbits that sustained thirty fractures were included in the study (femoral (n=12), tibial (n=6), metacarpal/metatarsal/phalangeal (n=5), radial and ulnar (n=4) and tarsal (n=3). Twenty-one (75%) of the rabbits were less than 2 years of age, including seven (25%) under 6 months of age. Twenty-five fractures had no identifiable cause and five were traumatic. Only one fracture was open. Surgical stabilisation was performed in twenty-two fractures, four were non-surgically managed, two had the affected limb amputated, one underwent digital amputation and one was euthanased. Postoperative complications occurred in nine fractures (major (n=6), minor (n=3)). The frequency of complications or attainment of a functional recovery were not significantly different between the different methods of fixation. Overall, twenty-four rabbits recovered, two were euthanased and four underwent limb amputation.

Fractures in rabbits typically occur in young animals and they usually lack an obvious aetiology. The majority of the rabbits treated achieved a functional recovery, although the postoperative complication rate was high in fractures treated surgically (41%).
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Early online date28 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2019


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