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Old 02-16-2013, 11:20 PM   #1
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Default Broken Leg

Back in October I posted about an aggressive bun that we had dumped on us.

After that post, he got even more aggressive, attacking me for no reason and causing quite bad injuries.

He needs neutering, which I think is the majority of his problem but due to finances, we have so far been unable to do it so have looked after him as best we can without actually having too much to do with him.

Today, while cleaning his cage, we let him out to have the run of the whole garden for the first time. When it came to time to get him back in, I was amazed that I was able to approach him and pick him up ?! However, when I went to put him in the cage, I noticed his leg just dangling at a funny angle - it didn't take a genius to work out it was broken.

After a quick google I found a few different options including just leaving it to heal itself. I wasn't 100% happy with taking that route so I rang the emergency vets who went through the options which was basically an op costing in the region of 600 (plus 125 out of hours fee) or euthanasia at the cost of 36.

As much as I didn't want to go with option B, I simply can not afford option A - to recap, this was a rabbit that was dumped on me which I didn't want or choose to take in!

I couldn't, in good concience, just have him put to sleep without having him checked by a vet to make sure it was definitely a break. We took him over - paying the 125 OOH fee *sob* so teh vet could see him.

He agreed that it was definitely a break and that it is the lower leg (below the knee) but that the positioning of it was quite complex - it is high up, below the knee.

He gave the following options:

A - surgery to pin the leg - at least 600. This would be complex and problematic due to the location of the break. As it is high up it means that there isn't much space above the break to attach the pin so the bone could shatter, etc.

B - Splint/cast it: not advised on a lower leg break as it is not guaranteed to work and the rabbit is likely to chew it off!

C - Amputation - at least 400. While cheaper and easier than the surgery, it can lead to problems if the rabbit fails to adapt to having 3 legs.

D - Leave it to heal itself - risky with low success rate, but relatively cheap as only meds needed are a course of pain relief.

E - euthanisia - cheap option, saves us from aggressive bun.

After a long chat with the vet about all the options and the pros/cons of each, we decided to go with D. He said that only one bone has broken - the lower leg has 2 bones - and that the break is still aligned, so basically there is a good chance it will knit back together cleanly, and the intact bone will act as a splint for the broken one.

We simply couldn't afford A or C, the vet was against B, and despite the fact he is a psycho, I couldn't bring myself to do E as I live in hope that neutering will help him.

So, now we have mad-bun dosed up on metacam, currently in the pet carrier. He has happily taken the metacam (hidden in grapes), and we will try him shortly with his proper food.

Has anyone done anything similar - letting a break heal without surgery - and if so, what kind of issues/success did you encounter?

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Old 02-17-2013, 12:04 AM   #2
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I had a break and the vet actually recommended that we just keep him contained. Maybe it was a less severe break but from the little I've read it seems that confinement is the normal course of action and surgery is reserved for bad breaks/ones with complications. We just kept ours in his cage (he couldn't jump on anything) for two weeks and he came out good as new! I can't comment on the type of break or anything but from experience it can definitely work. Just keep a close eye on him.

Knock on wood, if he did need further action, I'd look into local no-kill rabbit shelters or rescues to see if they could help or recommend a discount vet before putting him down - it would be sad for such a fixable problem. And tripod bunnies can do fine!

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Old 02-17-2013, 05:29 AM   #3
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If & when the leg heals, I'd see about a rescue/shelter that would provide a discount on neutering. As it is, he isn't having a happy life, even before the broken bone.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:32 PM   #4
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I dealt with a break where it was best to just let it heal by keeping my bunny confined to a smaller space. I had contacted a vet, and he said to just let it heal, and it did! There's almost no more limp to it, and my rabbit can run and jump and binky all she wants!
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:53 PM   #5
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Our rabbit broke her ankle, dislocating all her toes in the process. We did the same thing - confined her to small carrier for 1-2 weeks, and on a course of Metacam. Then we moved her to a small cage where she could move around more and we also made sure that most of the floor was solid except for one area where she could poop/pee. Because it was a joint, it took about 6 weeks to fully heal, but it worked!
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:52 PM   #6
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I had the same experience. My favorite little bunny shattered her leg and it was going to cost way more then we could afford for amputation and I was going to the hospital for surgery and would be laid up fro several months--our only option was to have her put down. Still makes me weepy to this day, but, I didn't have any other viable option.

Sometimes I feel like I'm running a fertilizer factory.
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