Traumatic Vertebral Fracture (Paralysis of the Hindquarters, Broken Back)

Etiology: Heavy musculature of the hind legs twists or compresses the lumbar vertebrae, causing spinal cord injury.  This condition has a sudden onset and results from improper restraint of the hindquarters when handling or when rabbits try to run on slick surfaces.

Incidence:  The incidence of traumatic vertebral fracture is low to moderate.

Clinical Signs:  Posterior paralysis or paresis, loss of skin sensation, and loss of motor control of anal sphincter and urinary bladder are typical signs.

Pathology:  The most common site of fracture is the 7th lumbar (L7) vertebral body or its caudal articular processes.

Diagnosis:  The diagnosis is made with clinical signs, neurological examination, and/or radiography.