Broken bones

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Putting a rabbit on cage rest

Consult with your rabbit's veterinarian to understand the parameters (e.g., how long, what size...) around cage rest. Failure to adhere to a cage rest regimen may worsen your rabbit's current injury and/or cause new injuries. In general, it is safer to maintain cage rest for a longer amount of time.

In the case of bone fractures or sprains, cage rest is generally recommended for at least two weeks to ensure excessive movement does not exacerbate the injury. Although cage rest requires confinement and reduces daily exercise, it is imperative to minimize recovery-related complications. Adhering to recommended cage rest will optimize and quicken recovery time so that your rabbit can return to their larger space sooner and pain-/risk-free.

A rabbit with a complete fracture on the 3rd digit.
A complete fracture that has formed healthy calluses after several weeks of cage rest and no splints or surgeries.
Complication on the 2nd digit due to changes in weight distribution/movement from a previous complete fracture.
Complication on the 5th digit due to intense movement on a previously fractured paw.
Example enclosure used for cage rest with fleece-covered memory foam flooring and a low-sided entrance litter box.

Factors to consider in creating a cage rest space:

  • Size: The enclosure should still be large enough to house all the necessities, including a water bowl, litter box, and some maneuvering space for your rabbit.
  • Flooring: Movement should be as easy as possible, so it is crucial to provide soft and stable traction in the enclosure. A towel or fleece on top of a slippery surface will still slide and potentially lead to injury.
  • Litterbox: Depending on the nature of your rabbit's injury, you may opt for a lower-lip litterbox so jumping is minimal or you may forgo a litterbox for the duration of cage rest. While there may be concerns about litterbox adherence, the priority is a smooth recovery, so easy access to hay is more important for the foreseeable future.
  • Engagement: There should be no jumping platforms or items in the enclosure that will encourage intense exercise, especially digging if your rabbit's injury involves either front paws. You may need to provide low-intensity engagement activities (ex. hay toppers, scatter-feeding pellets...) that can keep your rabbit entertained without requiring excessive physical exertion.

Experiences

The following are some stories about rabbits with broken bones.

Below are some discussions about rabbits with broken bones.

Further reading

See also