ISSN 2398-2985      

Joint/limb luxation/subluxation

4ferrets

Introduction

Uncommon injury of exotic animals largely caused by trauma during handling. Luxation involves complete loss of contact between articulating surfaces. Subluxation involves partial separation of the joint, where one surface of the bone is still in contact with the joint. Joint luxation is poorly described in ferrets.
  • Cause: trauma during handling, falling or dropping from a height, trapping of feet or limbs in wire cages.
  • Signs: lameness (acute or chronic), joint effusion and swelling (this might be difficult to appreciate in small patients, pain and/or vocalization upon palpation or upon mobility, refusing to weight bear and move, lethargy, inappetence.
  • Diagnosis: clinical signs, clinical exam, palpation findings (joint instability), diagnostic imaging (radiography, computed tomography).
  • Treatment: reduction of subluxation or luxation (closed or open). External coaptation, analgesia and rest may be suitable in some cases of subluxation or luxation. In some cases of luxation, amputation or internal/external fixation (with or without external bandage) may be required.
  • Prognosis: guarded to good.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Traumatic.
  • Secondary to concurrent disease, eg metabolic bone disease.
  • Idiopathic.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Inappropriate husbandry leading to injury, eg wire floor cages, slippery floors.
  • Conformation, eg underlying osteoarthritis.
  • Underlying disease, eg metabolic bone disease.

Specific

  • Traumatic event.

Pathophysiology

  • Traumatic (most common).

Timecourse

  • Acute: majority of cases.
  • Chronic: outdoor animals monitored less closely.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Ritzman T K (2002) Ferret orthopedics. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 5 (1), 129-155 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Zehnder A & Kapatkin A S (2012) Orthopedics in Small Mammals. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents. 3rd edn. Ed: Quesenberry K & Carpenter J. Saunders, USA. pp 480-481.

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