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Nervous system and musculoskeletal disorders

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Abstract

Neurological disease, such as head tilt and hindlimb paresis/paralysis, is a common clinical finding in pet rabbits. In order animals, arthritis is a frequent cause of lameness and crouched posture. This chapter covers history taking and clinical examination, diagnostic procedures and the approach to common neurological and musculoskeletal disorders.

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Figures

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15.3 Assessing the panniculus reflex.
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15.4 Postural reaction tests such as the placing response shown here can be useful in rabbits. Results should be interpreted with care, however, as rabbits do not react in the same way as cats and dogs. It should be noted that these reflexes detect neurological dysfunction, but do not provide detailed information for exact lesion localization.
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15.5 Dorsoventral skull radiograph showing severe changes to the tympanic bullae, especially the right (arrowed), associated with chronic bacterial otitis interna.
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15.6 Ventrodorsal radiograph showing hip dysplasia in a young rabbit.
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15.7 Dorsoventral radiograph showing vertebral scoliosis in a rabbit. The owner had not noted any abnormalities.
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15.8 Ventrodorsal radiograph showing severe osteoarthritis of the stifle joints.
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15.9 CT image of the head of a rabbit with bilateral otitis media. There is complete obliteration of the right tympanic bulla by fluid-attenuating material and partial obliteration of the left tympanic bulla.
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15.10 Humoral antibody response in rabbits infected with . Note that considerable individual variation in antibody response has been recorded in rabbits ( ).
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15.12 Head tilt in a rabbit secondary to bacterial otitis interna.
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15.14 Facial nerve paralysis in a rabbit secondary to otitis interna. Note the severely drooped left side of the rabbit’s face.
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15.16 Rabbit with unilateral hindlimb paresis secondary to infection with . This animal showed a delayed placing reflex of the left hindlimb on neurological examination.
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15.17 CT images of the thoracic spine showing transverse sections at T11 (normal) and T12 (showing compression of the spinal cord).
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15.18 Assessment of deep pain reflexes is performed as for dogs and cats. A poor prognosis is associated with the absence of deep pain reflexes. This test is not always reliable, however, because rabbits hide signs of pain.
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15.19 Cage rest is essential when nursing rabbits with spinal trauma.
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15.20 Hydrotherapy can be useful in the rehabilitation of rabbits with stable spinal trauma and is well tolerated by this species.
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15.21 Anaemia of the oral mucous membranes in a rabbit with chronic lead toxicity.
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15.22 Splay leg in a 12-week-old Lionhead rabbit. Note the abduction of both forelimbs.
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15.23 Elderly female rabbit with crouched posture secondary to severe osteoarthritis of the stifle joints.
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15.25 Severe urine scald secondary to infection with .

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