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Fractures overview

6guinea pig

Introduction

  • Fractures can occur in any bone.
  • The most common fracture is of the tibia.
  • Cause: most commonly due to being dropped or from the leg becoming caught in a wire cage floor.
  • Signs: acute lameness/inability to walk, swelling/discoloration of the limb where the fracture is, swelling of the foot distal to the fracture site. If there is a spinal fracture: ataxia, paresis or paralysis. Pelvic fracture: dragging the hindquarters or sitting, incontinence/inability to urinate/defecate.
  • Diagnosis: physical examination, radiography.
  • Treatment: depends on which bone is fractured.
  • Prognosis: good for distal limb bone fractures; good for open fractures/severely damaged tissue, where amputation is performed; guarded to poor for spinal fractures where there is neurologic damage.
Print off the Owner factsheet on Fractures, It's an emergency and Health insurance for your guinea pig to give to your clients. Clinical tip
Question
: What is the ideal treatment for femur fractures in guinea pigs?
Answer: Orthopedic principles apply as with other animals; internal fixation with intramedullary pin +/- cerclage wire.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Fractures can occur in any bone:
    • The most common fracture is of the tibia/fibula.
    • In one study of orthopedic trauma at a veterinary teaching hospital 7.5% of guinea pig fractures were tibia/fibula.
    • 25% were femoral.
    • 12.5% were radius/ulna.
    • 12.5% were lumbar spinal.
    • 12.5% were spinal luxations.
  • Most commonly due to being dropped or from leg becoming caught in a wire cage floor. Other domestic accidents include owner stepping inadvertently onto the guinea pig or owner closing a door and inadvertently crushing the guinea pig or one of its limbs.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Being handled by children.
  • Caging with wire flooring.

Pathophysiology

  • Bone and joint physiology for fractures and healing are the same as in other animals although guinea pigs must have adequate vitamin C for collagen formation and other physiologic functions Vitamin C deficiency.
  • In people vitamin C has had mixed effects when used to prevent fractures.

Timecourse

  • Acute.

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.
  • Macedo A S, Goulart M A, Alievi M M et al (2015) Tibial osteosynthesis in a guinea pig (Cavia porcellus). Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinaria e Zootecnia 67 (1), 89-93 SciELO.
  • Aguiar J, Mogridge G & Hall J (2014) Femoral fracture repair and sciatic and femoral nerve blocks in a guinea pig. J Small Anim Pract 55 (12), 635-639 WileyOnline.
  • Kdolsky R K, Mohr W, Savidis-Dacho H et al (2005) The influence of oral L-arginine on fracture healing: an animal study. Wiwner Klinische Wochenschrift 117 (19-20), 693-701 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Hawkins M G & Bishop C R (2012) Disease Problems of Guinea Pigs. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier. pp 295-310.
  • Zehnder A & Kapatkin A S (2012) Orthopedics in Small Mammals. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier. pp 472-484.
  • Richardson VCG (2000) Diseases of Domestic Guinea Pigs. 2nd edn. Blackwell Science, UK. pp 144.

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