Vets need to be aware of rabbit GDV danger
Vets have been warned to be on the lookout for delayed or misdiagnosed acute surgical abdominal conditions in rabbits, including gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV)
VetCT and Exotic Vet Support have joined forces to issue the warnings, and encourage use of CT for rapid diagnosis to direct early, targeted surgical intervention and improve outcomes.
Gastric dilation is common in rabbits, but incidence of GDV is poorly documented.
Dean Felkler – founder and chief executive of Exotic Vet Support, and senior clinician at Tai Wai Small Animal and Exotic Hospital – said accurate and early diagnosis was important in one case of a seven-year-old rabbit presenting with anorexia and that had not passed faeces for 12 hours.
Dr Felkler said: “A full diagnostic investigation was performed. From the radiographs, it is difficult to appreciate the GDV. However, on the CT scan, reported by VetCT, it was very obvious when compared to the normal stomach orientation.”
Following initial stabilisation, the patient underwent surgery to reorientate the stomach and an incisional gastropexy was performed. The rabbit recovered well following surgery and was passing faeces within 24 hours.
Use of CT
Use of CT has been increasingly recognised as vital for early, accurate diagnosis of pathology in rabbits, including conditions such as GDV, appendicitis and rhinitis.
David Reese, director of VetCT Australia and an exotics specialist, said: “We are able to identify several life-threatening pathologies much more accurately with CT than radiographs. This is vital for early correction of acute surgical abdominal conditions to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.”