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Stabilization of a vertebral fracture by a monolateral external fixator placed percutaneously with fluoroscopy guidance in a rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

José Rosas-NavarroExotics Surgery and Medicine Service, Centre Hospitalier Vétérinaire Advetia, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France

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Carlo PaolettiExotics Surgery and Medicine Service, Centre Hospitalier Vétérinaire Advetia, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France

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Jean-François QuintonExotics Surgery and Medicine Service, Centre Hospitalier Vétérinaire Advetia, Vélizy-Villacoublay, France

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Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION

A 2-year-old intact male Mini Lop rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) exhibited acute paraplegia and was suspected of having a traumatic spinal injury after leaping from the owner’s arms.

CLINICAL FINDINGS

In the physical examination, the patient was conscious and responsive and presented a loss of hind-limb motor function. The results of the neurologic examination indicated a T3-L3 spinal cord lesion. Vertebral column radiography and CT showed a fracture of the dorsal arch in the right caudal part of vertebra L1 and a fracture of the caudal end plate of vertebra L1 without displacement.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME

The vertebral fracture was stabilized by a monolateral external fixator placed percutaneously with fluoroscopy guidance. The rabbit was discharged 48 hours after surgery. Three days later, the rabbit was able to walk with mild paraparesis, and 2 weeks after surgery, the rabbit showed full recovery of neurologic function. The follow-up performed 6 weeks after surgery showed normal gait, good alignment and complete consolidation of the fracture. The external fixator was then removed. The follow-up examination and radiographic findings showed complete recovery at 2 and 6 months after surgery.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The most common cause of traumatic posterior paralysis in rabbits is vertebral fracture. This article describes the possibility and successful outcome of stabilizing a vertebral fracture in a rabbit with an external fixator using a minimally invasive fluoroscopic technique. This technique, described to the authors’ knowledge for the first time in a rabbit, allows a fracture to be stabilized accurately without any incisions while minimizing complications and postoperative pain.

Abstract

CASE DESCRIPTION

A 2-year-old intact male Mini Lop rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) exhibited acute paraplegia and was suspected of having a traumatic spinal injury after leaping from the owner’s arms.

CLINICAL FINDINGS

In the physical examination, the patient was conscious and responsive and presented a loss of hind-limb motor function. The results of the neurologic examination indicated a T3-L3 spinal cord lesion. Vertebral column radiography and CT showed a fracture of the dorsal arch in the right caudal part of vertebra L1 and a fracture of the caudal end plate of vertebra L1 without displacement.

TREATMENT AND OUTCOME

The vertebral fracture was stabilized by a monolateral external fixator placed percutaneously with fluoroscopy guidance. The rabbit was discharged 48 hours after surgery. Three days later, the rabbit was able to walk with mild paraparesis, and 2 weeks after surgery, the rabbit showed full recovery of neurologic function. The follow-up performed 6 weeks after surgery showed normal gait, good alignment and complete consolidation of the fracture. The external fixator was then removed. The follow-up examination and radiographic findings showed complete recovery at 2 and 6 months after surgery.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The most common cause of traumatic posterior paralysis in rabbits is vertebral fracture. This article describes the possibility and successful outcome of stabilizing a vertebral fracture in a rabbit with an external fixator using a minimally invasive fluoroscopic technique. This technique, described to the authors’ knowledge for the first time in a rabbit, allows a fracture to be stabilized accurately without any incisions while minimizing complications and postoperative pain.

Contributor Notes

Corresponding author: Dr. Rosas-Navarro (rosas.navarro@advetia.fr)