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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Early online date28 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2019

Abstract

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

Methods:
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.

Results:
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.

Impact:
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%).

ID: 116829623