Polly is a 3 year old rabbit – a large 5kg rabbit! She was brought to see the vet in April after her owner spotted she was reluctant to move and stamping her hind feet. She had recently been mounting her companion rabbit and her owner was concerned she may have injured herself.
On examination the vet, Emily, found Polly was reluctant to extend her right hind leg but was able to use both legs and he couldn’t feel any fractures in the bones. She was given pain relief and her owners were advised to monitor her for any abnormal movement. Two days later she was returned for a re-examination; Polly was eating and passing faeces normally (this is always really important to monitor in rabbits) but was still lame on her right hind leg and only moving when she really had to.
Polly was anaesthetised the next day for x-rays of her pelvis and back legs. No problems with her bones were visible but her right stifle (knee) joint was unstable and it was suspected that she had torn her cruciate ligament – a rare injury for rabbits, much more common in dogs and footballers! Jon, one of the vets who has a special interest in orthopaedic surgery then examined her and advised surgery to stabilise the joint.
This surgery involved placement of a synthetic line in the stifle joint to mimic the action of the damaged ligament. This surgery went well and after a period of recuperation, Polly’s leg muscles strengthened and she was no longer lame.
She is about to be reintroduced to her companion rabbit under supervision to ensure no rough play occurs.