CASE DESCRIPTION A 6-year-old 2.08-kg (4.58-lb) neutered male Lionhead-mix pet rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was examined because of sneezing and increased respiratory effort.
CLINICAL FINDINGS On the basis of the rabbit's radiographic findings, a diagnosis of diaphragmatic retroperitoneal perirenal fat and kidney herniation was made. Nine months later, physical examination revealed increased respiratory rate and effort and slightly decreased body weight. Thoracic radiography revealed decreased lung aeration and further craniomedial displacement of the right kidney, compared with the initial evaluation findings, suggesting progressive herniation of the retroperitoneal perirenal fat.
TREATMENT AND OUTCOME During exploratory celiotomy, a tear in the right dorsal tendinous portion of the diaphragm was noted. The right kidney and perirenal fat were found to be displaced into the thorax. Diaphragmatic herniorrhaphy was performed after replacement of the right kidney and the perirenal fat in the retroperitoneal space. The rabbit recovered uneventfully from anesthesia and surgery. Clinical signs did not recur during the following 16 months.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE For rabbits with increased respiratory effort, diaphragmatic retroperitoneal perirenal fat and kidney herniation should be included as a differential diagnosis. As illustrated by the case described in this report, appropriate surgical management can provide a successful outcome for affected pet rabbits.