Leg amputation

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Jill D

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My dear lop 8 year old has increasing trouble with one back leg which now can't support him so he flops down frequently. Vets think it is arthritis so we are planning to x-ray to confirm and then amputate the leg. I think alternative in near future would be euthanasia. Has anyone had experience of 3 legged rabbit and advice on care ? I'm sure the vets will give as much advice as they can but direct experience would be great.
Thanks from Jill in England
 

Mac189

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Amputation seems like a major step for treating arthritis, especially in an 8-year-old rabbit who will be under increased risk when going under anesthesia. I'm not sure a vet ought to make such a drastic claim before even seeing an X-ray to confirm what the problem with the leg itself is. Amputation is a very viable option for many leg injuries (and certainly could be for your rabbit as well) and quadrupeds tend to do very well missing one leg, providing that the other three are stable and not too arthritic and the rabbit is kept at a leaner, healthy weight to prevent too much strain on the remaining joints. If this is the route you choose to go it could improve his quality of life. Have you tried any analgesics (painkillers) or steroids (not many are rabbit safe and those that are may not be helpful for arthritis, although it's still worth asking) to reduce the symptoms?

I am not a veterinarian, and no advice I give should ever be taken as similar to the weight you should give your vet's advice, however, I would seek a second opinion before undergoing such a drastic, risky procedure to see if there are any safer, less invasive avenues that may yield equally positive results.
 

JBun

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I agree, get a second opinion. Amputation for an old rabbit with a condition that will continue to cause deterioration, seems extreme to me and not beneficial in the long run. In fact I suspect that amputation will just increase the mobility problems that your rabbit has. If it was an injury in a younger rabbit, I could see the point. But arthritis isn't confined to one limb, it affects the whole body.

I had an old arthritic rabbit that gradually lost mobility and use of both hind legs. Really all that can be done in these old rabbits with deteriorating health conditions, is manage the conditions as best you can, to help the rabbit continue to have a decent quality of life by keeping any associated pain under control. The best thing to do is try and manage the effects of the degeneration with medication and possibly physical therapy.

Some options for medication are cartrophen, meloxicam, msm, glucosamine, tumeric. My old arthritic bun was on twice daily meloxicam, and I could tell that it definitely made a difference for her.

 

Jill D

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Many thanks for your thoughts. The provisional plan would be to get x-ray done first to confirm it is arthritis , as they wouldn't operate without this , though I have seen 3 vets at the practice about this and all think it is arthritis. He is on daily painkillers at the moment so hopefully not in pain , though hard to tell as rabbits will mask this. I agree it is drastic and am still weighing up what to do, as the problem leg is not very weight bearing now, and so he flops down a lot, and this will obviously just get worse and probably end up as euthanasia in not too distant if condition worsens. So I'm really not sure as it may put too much strain on remaining leg which could go the same way, and give him poor quality of life..or give him a new more active one....at the moment he is still getting himself out into the garden every day and maybe should be left alone and see how it goes . He is after all 8 years old.. was hoping he'd make double figures though. His rabbit companion would miss him horribly.
His previous companion had rear end collapse on one side and amputation was not an option for him so the vets obviously don't agree lightly to this option.
Thanks agajn
 

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