by Rob Usakowski
Having a bunny break a leg can be traumatic for both you and your bunny. Treating can be very expensive. Heres an artcile describing what we decided to do for our bunny, and her excellent recovery.
Having a bunny break its leg can be a very traumatic experience for both the bunny and for you. We raise holland lops, and the tort color often does well on the show table. We have had several colored rabbits with big wins but wanted to add tort to our herd. We purchased a tort doe over the internet, and had her delivered at a show we were attending. That was the last time we agreed to buy a rabbit without first seeing it. The doe was very skittish. The day after picking up the rabbit, our oldest daughter took the doe from her cage, the doe freaked out and jumped from her arms, unto our carpeted floor.
My daughter called me over and said I think there’s something wrong with the rabbit. Her left hind leg was dangling as if she had no control over it. At first I thought she may have dislocated her hip, but upon feeling that area found no dislocation. My next thought was a broken leg. I felt her leg looking for a break as there was no visible sign of a break. Again I found nothing. I decided to check again for a dislocation, and that’s when I found a break on her femur, near the hip.
I began my search for a veterinarian that could possibly reset the leg. We finally found a vet about an hour away that would be able to do it. The cost would be from $500 – $1500 to set the leg, depending on the x-rays they would need to take, and if surgery would be necessary. The cost was out of the question, and we decided to look for answers elsewhere.
We received many suggestions, including putting the rabbit down, to trying to reset the leg myself. Since neither of seemed to be options that we wanted to take. We decided to treat the bunny ourselves without resetting the leg. This was a difficult choice as this beautiful doe would no longer be showable, but we would be able to use her as pet, or if all went well a brood doe.
The biggest concern in treating a broken leg is mobility. It is important to stabilize the leg as much as possible and keep the bunny from moving the leg. We decided she would have to stay in a carrying cage for the 6-8 weeks it would take for her leg to heal. We considered putting a towel next to her to further reduce her ability to move within the carrying cage, but decided against it for sanitary reasons.
Being immobilized for such a long period of time also gave us other health concerns. We constantly monitored her food, water and hay intake. We also checked to make sure there were ample droppings in the wood shavings.
We were prepared to give her pain medications in the beginning. However, she never showed any visible signs that she was in pain. Of course everyone wanted to hold and comfort her while she spent the 7 Â½ weeks in the carrying cage, but she was simply off limits. Her leg needed to heal and the more she was moved around the longer it would have taken for the leg to heal.
Finally we took her out, and moved her into a regular sized cage after 7 Â½ weeks. Surprisingly, she was in fairly good flesh condition. She was getting around well on the healed leg, despite the fact that the leg didn’t heal completely straight. It turns out slightly away from her body, as though it is twisted.
We have bred her to one of our bucks. She needed a little assistance in lifting for buck during mating, but did real well with it. Soon she’ll be having her first litter. Yes, the broken leg eliminated her chances of being shown. But it didn’t eliminate her value to our rabbitry.
About the Author
Rob Usakowski is the owner of Three Little Ladies Rabbitry, which is run by his wife Cathie and their three daughters. Visit their website at www.threelittleladiesrabbitry.com for additional articles on raising rabbits.