Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Musculoskeletal: neck and back pain

Contributor(s): Lesa Thompson, Anna Meredith

Introduction

  • Cause: various, eg trauma, infection, inflammation and neoplasia.
  • Signs: reduced or altered movement, reduced appetite, altered defecation, lack of cecotrophy, vocalization when touched or picked up.
  • Diagnosis: clinical examination, eg radiography (plain/contrast), CT, MRI.
  • Treament: analgesia, supportive care, surgery (some cases).
  • Prognosis: depends on etiology and response to treatment.

Presenting signs

  • Reduced appetite or anorexia.
  • Altered head carriage or body position at rest.
  • Altered gait or reduced movement.
  • Discomfort when touched or picked up - may be difficult to discern in rabbits as they may not vocalize unless in severe distress.
  • Neurological signs may also be seen if CNS/spinal cord pathology is present.

Note that severe spinal cord injury such as after spinal fracture may result in absence of deep pain reflexes.

Acute presentation

  • Owner may have witnessed traumatic accident prior to acute onset altered locomotion or head movement.

Age predisposition

  • Depends on etiology.
  • Spinal defects such as kyphosis are congenital and therefore present from birth.
  • Degenerative disk changes occur between 3-9 months of age (and remain thereafter).
  • Disk calcification is seen in older individuals.
  • Spondylosis is a degenerative condition of the spine and is seen more frequently in aged animals.

Sex predisposition

  • One study on spinal deformities found sex predilection towards females.

Cost considerations

  • Investigation and treatment may be expensive.
  • It is wise to discuss the suspected prognosis with owners prior to embarking on treatment.

Special risks, eg anesthetic

  • Care with anesthetics before ruling out CNS disease.

Pathogenesis

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Sequelae

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Bottegaro N B, Kos J, Pirkic B et al (2013) Reduction of epidural fibrosis after laminectomy in rabbits by omental free graft. Vet Medicina 58 (1), 25-31 VetMedResource.
  • Lukáová N, Pavel J & Gálik J (2013) Spinal cord injury: The Rabbit Model. Animal Models of Spinal Cord Repair, Neuromethods 76, 149-158.
  • Wilson McCullough A W, Sanchez-Migallon Guzman D, Keller D et al (2012) Medical management of multiple traumatic vertebral subluxations and fractures in a rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). J Exotic Pet Med 21 (2), 172-180 ResearchGate.
  • Sciubba D M, Burdette E C, Cheng J J et al (2010) Percutaneous computed tomography fluoroscopyguided conformal ultrasonic ablation of vertebral tumors in a rabbit tumor model. Laboratory investigation. J Neurosurg Spine 13 (6), 733-779 PubMed.

Other sources of information


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