Advice about limping rabbit

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birdandzero

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Hi everyone.

On Monday, our 4 year old spayed doe injured her right front foot. We're not sure how it happened, but it occurred while neither of us were home (him working and myself at the library studying). We discovered it in the evening at bunny dinner time.

Our two house rabbits share a 4x4 foot puppy x-pen at night and when we're not home, and occasionally Zero (our escape artist) lets herself out. We keep the top of the x-pen covered with a super thin, cheap micro-fleece blanket secured by clothes pins, leaving our rabbits with open air on all four sides. We did not cover it at all until we adopted Zero, who proved that she dislikes being confined and would simply hop out. Our other rabbit, Bird, is much too lazy for that. Zero has succeeded in freeing herself several times in the past 3 years (mostly due to us not using enough clothes pins to secure the blanket), but there has never been a problem until now. We believe that in attempting to get loose, she may have somehow caught her foot and hurt it.

Upon initial examination on Monday evening, she appeared to have a small amount of dried blood between two of her nails on that foot. She was favoring the paw and limping, but she would brace herself with it when sitting. Upon hopping and sometimes even when sitting up, she does not place weight on it. She folds it up against her body, but it does not look twisted, deformed or loose. I have carefully and gently felt her paw and arm, and could not notice anything unusual.

We contacted our vet the next morning, and they suggested to give it a day or two to see if it improved on its own. After cleaning what looked like dried blood from what I believed to be a small cut between her toenails, it now looks like there is no cut at all. I am becoming worried. She has made small improvements and is using her foot to brace herself a bit more, as well as cleaning herself with it. She still folds her leg up when moving though, and it scares me.

We have not completely limited her mobility, but she is not as active as she usually is (she's normally our super jumper, race around, binky queen). She has not hunched over, ground her teeth or shown any signs of distress other than favoring her foot. She has a healthy appetite, drinks normally, is social with her bonded buddy, stretches out and bunny loafs, grooms herself, and her poops are fine. She has been seeking us out for pets and attention as normal, but her folded front foot seriously concerns me.

I don't have any metacam or other rabbit painkillers at home, and I plan to call our vet back first thing in the morning to schedule an appointment asap.

Because I no longer believe it is a sore foot from a cut, I am wondering if anyone has experience with sprained or (shudder) broken front legs? I have been doing a lot of online research, and keep seeing horror stories of amputation, major surgeries, and such. I know that without x-rays we can't know for sure, but I am quite frankly terrified that this is something more serious than we thought.

Any advice or personal stories about recovering from leg injuries would be much appreciated.
 

I_heart_Fraggles

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Are you sure its not a broken toenail? I had a foster bunny break his toenail at the base. Though the nail was still attached it bled quit a bit. The nail eventually fell off and he was fine. Fraggles has also dislocated a knuckle in her back foot as a youngster. It caused her no ill effects other then the toe now sits at a different angle. Good luck :)
 

birdandzero

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I wish it were just a broken toenail. :(

I originally checked and have since rechecked all of her nails, and they seem fine. The small amount of dried blood was in her hair around the crease between where two of her nails meet. Once cleaned away, it doesn't look like there are any apparent injuries at all. I'm not even positive that it was dried blood, although I can't imagine what else it could have been. It's so hard to tell because of how furry her little feet are.

I am trying not to panic too much yet. Hopefully, it is something like a dislocated knuckle or a light sprain that will heal with pain meds and period of confinement. :pray:

Thank you for your response, and for wishing us luck. There is only one vet in town that we trust with our rabbits, so hopefully she can make room for us tomorrow.
 

ZRabbits

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Hoping it's nothing! Please let us know what happens. Hoping your Vet can get you in today.

K :)
 

birdandzero

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Thanks, you guys. :)

I hardly slept last night worrying about Zero, and I called the moment our vet opened this morning. I'm taking her to the vet in just over an hour.

I wish I had trusted my gut feeling and made her an appointment yesterday or the day before. Even if it was bad news, at least I would know the extent of the damage.

On top of all this, I'm sick and I have been writing my university midterm exams all week. When it rains, it sure pours.

I'll update you about our vet visit tonight when I come back from writing my last exam.

Thanks again for your support.
 

tonyshuman

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It sounds like she could benefit from some Metacam at least, in addition to a few days reduced activity. If she doesn't flinch when you examine the paw or leg, it's probably just a sprain that will heal shortly. We had a member who had a dutch bunny that broke a front leg, and they had a bear of a time while it healed. It had to be in a cast and everything. That forum member spends more time on Facebook, so if you post about it in the facebook group for RO, she might respond.

Here's her thread about it: http://www.rabbitsonline.net/view_topic.php?id=63143&forum_id=16
 

birdandzero

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UPDATE:

I know I should be studying for that midterm, but I am so happy that I just thought I would update here while I'm home.

Zero was an angel at the vet. Our vet was very impressed at how willing she was to let her examine the injured area. Upon extending out her forelegs, she noticed slight swelling and an obvious crick in her right wrist. I could see it too, and it made me feel sick. I wasn't brave enough to make her stick out her front legs to compare them like that, and I'm kicking myself for not noticing the twist.

It was clearly tender, but Zero was perfect. I was so proud of her, she has come so far from the flailing lunatic she was 3 years ago when we adopted her from the SPCA.

X-rays revealed that there was no evidence of fracture! Just a bad sprain, nothing that a week of metacam and up to a few weeks of confinement in the x-pen won't fix.

Zero's resting now after getting a good ear rub, and an extra handful of parsley (her favorite). She took her first ever dose of metacam like a pro too. Bird came along for the ride, and he seemed more perturbed than she did by today's events.

Sorry for gushing, but I am just so relieved!

:biggrin:
 

birdandzero

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tonyshuman wrote:
It sounds like she could benefit from some Metacam at least, in addition to a few days reduced activity. If she doesn't flinch when you examine the paw or leg, it's probably just a sprain that will heal shortly. We had a member who had a dutch bunny that broke a front leg, and they had a bear of a time while it healed. It had to be in a cast and everything. That forum member spends more time on Facebook, so if you post about it in the facebook group for RO, she might respond.

Here's her thread about it: http://www.rabbitsonline.net/view_topic.php?id=63143&forum_id=16
Thank you. :)
You must have been typing this at the same time that I was typing up my update. Good call, that's exactly what our vet has ordered!

I will be definitely be checking out the facebook group for RO. Thank you for your advice.
 

ZRabbits

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Gush away! It's such good news that there was no break.

Don't feel bad about not noticing it. You KNEW there was something wrong and you did what I would have done. Taken her to an expert.

So glad to hear a weeks of pain meds and rest will do the trick.

K :)
 

birdandzero

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Just to give you guys an update:

Several months have passed since Zero badly sprained her wrist, and it has healed beautifully.

She was on metacam for 7 days and was strictly confined to the x-pen for 2 weeks (she hated it and drove us nuts!). At that point, we began giving her a few minutes out at a time and gradually increased the duration of her outings. She wisely took it easy for the first month, sleeping a lot and favoring her leg.

It was approximately 8 weeks before she no longer exhibited any signs of the injury. She's back to racing circles around Bird all day in the living room. We're just happy to have her back to normal. :)
 

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