Medical Management of Multiple Traumatic Vertebral Subluxations and Fractures in a Rabbit (Oryctolagus Cuniculus)

Aliya Wilson McCullough, David Guzman, Dominique Keller, Michelle Ellison, Sophie Petersen, Kurt Sladky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A 2-year-old castrated male Holland lop rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was presented for loss of hind limb motor function after leaping from the owner's arms. Results of a neurologic examination revealed appropriate mentation, normal thoracic limb posture and gait, paralysis in the right pelvic limb, and voluntary movement of the left pelvic limb. Superficial pain perception and withdrawal reflexes were present bilaterally in the hind limbs. Bilateral proprioception was evident in the forelimbs but absent in the hind limbs. Standard radiographs and a myelogram were performed, revealing subluxations at T5-T6, L1-L2, and L3-L4, a comminuted fracture of the T9 vertebral body, fractures of the right articular facets of L3-L4, and spinal cord swelling at T9. The clinical signs continued to decline, resulting in paraplegia with loss of deep pain perception in the left hind limb after the myelogram procedure. The owners of the rabbit were given a guarded-to-poor prognosis for the animal to regain mobility in the hind limbs. The rabbit was hospitalized and medical treatment including pain management, intravenous fluid therapy, nutritional support, and cage rest was initiated. After the initial decline of the clinical signs, the neurologic deficits stabilized during hospitalization. At the time of discharge, partial voluntary movement had been regained in the right hind limb, but there was no movement or pain perception in the left hind limb. This gradually resolved over 3 months of conservative therapy, at which point the rabbit had recovered the voluntary movement in both hind limbs and was able to ambulate by walking and hopping. This case report documents acute spinal cord trauma in a rabbit, as well as recovery of the neurologic deficits after prolonged medical management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-180
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Exotic Pet Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012


  • Medical management
  • Oryctolagus cuniculus
  • Rabbit
  • Recovery
  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Vertebral fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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