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Dr. Whitehead
Dr. Whitehead, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 4055
Experience:  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, internship trained, with 5 years of experience in high quality practice treating dogs, cats, and some exotics.
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We have a netherland dwarf rabbit that the local vet thinks

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We have a netherland dwarf rabbit that the local vet thinks has a fracture in its shoulder. It is almost 9 years old. He said he could x-ray it to be sure, but even if he did surgery, we couldn't be sure it would heal properly at that age. He said a tumor possibly could have caused it or just age and it stepped or landed wrong. It has been eating and drinking fine, it just doesn't put much weight on the limb. He said considering the age and uncertainties already mentioned, it might be alright just to not do anything, and not let it run outside the cage. What would you suggest we do?
Hello there! My name isXXXXX and I am sorry to hear about HoneyBunny. I would definitely recommend an x ray to confirm a fracture and if it was caused by a tumor then that would be evident on x ray. Then you could prepare yourself knowing that unfortunately she will not have a lot of time left and just manage her pain and make the time left the best you can. If it appears just to be a fracture from trauma then I would not recommend surgery at this time. A 9 year old rabbit most likely will not do well post surgery. In my experience they never seem to recover completely. I would manage the pain the best you can and keep her cage confined from 6 to 8 weeks as to see how she heals. If she does not move excessively outside the cage there is a decent chance she can heal. For pain management I would recommend meloxicam and buprenex. I would discuss those pain options with your vet. I hope this helps but definitely do the x ray at least for the most information and then you can make the best decision about pain control and exercise restriction at that time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you Dr. Whitehead. Here is some more information. HoneyBunny hurt the area maybe a 4-6 weeks ago originally, we believe. She was out during exercise time, ran behind a 'tunnel' like thing we put up for them to play. She came out the other side limping, holding up her left foot. We thought she may have strained/sprained something. We watched her for a few days, she seemed fine, eating and drinking, just favoring it as she got around in her living quarters. After a couple of weeks she seemed back to normal, so we got her out so she could play/exercise, and she ran around on the carpet, looking normal. Didn't seem to be favoring it. We did this a few times over a 2-3 week period. Then 10-12 days ago, we noticed her favoring the same leg in the cage, and holding it out to the side a little as she sat/laid. We thought perhaps that she had aggravated it again in the cage. She gets excited when we open her cage top to give her food/treats. We thought maybe after dancing on her hind legs, she came down on her front ones, aggravating it. After those 10-12 days, she was still doing it, that's when we took her to the vet.

With that history I definitely think an xray will be beneficial. I'm not convinced since it seems to be off and on pain that its a fracture. Arthritis in rabbits is definitely a possibility and the x ray will rule that in or out also. It also still definitely be a strain or sprain she keeps aggravating if the x rays don't show anything. In that case strict rest and pain meds should do the trick. So definitely x rays will give the must info. I am less suspicious again of a fracture with this history.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The vet, by feeling thought it was a fracture, but couldn't be sure. She is very strong/squirmy, does not like to be held down and we were also concerned if she would do more damage trying to hold her while he was doing things, or get stressed. How are x-rays taken with a rabbit, would someone have to be holding her down?

It can be difficult to diagnose a fracture just by feel but it is possible at times. But I would definitely do the x ray to know what you are up against. The easiest way to x ray a rabbit it to use gas anesthesia. You gas them down for a moment take the x rays with them asleep and then they wake up quickly before they know that anything even happened. Its how I do all my rabbit x rays and procedures if they need to be done. You do not want her to get scared and kick or squirm to hard and hurt herself so this is the quickest and safest way to take the x ray.
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