Dec 30, 2013

Penny's SI Joint Subluxation

Yesterday our bunny Penny started limping and dragging her right foot. We had witnessed no injury or fall, our place has been carefully constructed to be bunny proof so we didn't quite know what was going on.

Penny and Charlie at the vet. I brought them into together because they are a bonded pair and I felt she would be less stressed/calm once she was with him:

Here is how she was walking around at the vet:

There were a couple of possibilities:

  1. Broken Bone/Fracture
  2. Soft tissue injury/muscle strain
  3. Spine injury causing nerve impingement affecting the lower limbs (infection or mechanical in origin)

Penny was drinking, eating well. She had normal bowel movements and was her usual self. She even walked around as if nothing had happened (with the exception of the dragging of the hind feet). 

With this time being the holidays it was VERY difficult to get a hold of any vet. Our usual vet is on vacation and the substitute Vet covering for him doesn't see Exotics (which includes rabbits). We tried another place that was fully booked; and eventually we found an animal hospital that does see rabbits.

Penny's X-rays

This side x-rays show normal spine, normal lung fields and some gas in her bowels but is otherwise normal:

Her x-ray actually demonstrates subluxation of her sacroiliac joint and arthritis of the femoral hip in the hip joint:

A better view here: there's a slight widening of the SI joint space on the right (indicated by R) compared to the left:

So what happened?

The likely cause according to our vet is that our not-yet-neutered male Charlie is likely the one who caused this. According to rabbit literature we had to wait until Charlie was 4-6 months old before neutering and he just turned four months recently. He's been bothering Penny a lot lately but I didn't realize it could cause injury.


Right sacroiliac joint subluxation, right hip osteoarthritis, weight loss (she weighed only 3lbs, last time we weighed her at the vets, she was 3.25 lbs), and some dehydration.

Treatment and Management Plan

  1. Penny has been assigned 4 weeks of cage rest, we are to separate Penny and Charlie during that time
  2. Pain medication: Buprenorphine Solution giving 0.14 cc (ml) by mouth every 12 hours for 10 days
  3. A check up in 7-14 days. 
Part of the workup includes Encephalitazoon Titre, Video Endoscopic Dental Evaluation, and Bloodwork for which we will be getting the results within a few days.

I placed Penny with Thumper to keep her company since she was in the cage alone:

Charlie was looking for Penny, he wasn't as active as he usually was, I'd imagine:

We're going to continue to monitor her and see the vet again for a checkup. Here's to hoping for a speedy recovery for Penny!
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