Hip dislocation leads to veterinary emergency for pet bunny

Freak accidents happen.

So, the first thing veterinarian Dr. Nickol Finch told Brynn Kaufman, 13, was that she was not responsible for the injury to her 2-year-old Holland lop bunny, Lola.

“She looked right at Brynn and said look, this is not your fault, and she had a one-on-one with her in a way that a mom can’t really reassure,” said Julie Kaufman, Brynn’s mother. “It was just huge.”

Less than 48 hours earlier, Brynn was making her way outside of her home in Wenatchee holding Lola when she heard a loud and unfortunate ‘pop.’

The noise wasn’t just heard by Brynn; her mother heard it too.

“I was standing next to Brynn, and I heard it,” Julie said. “It didn’t sound good.’”

To the family’s surprise, Lola finished her outdoor exploration; but then shortly after, she was guarding the leg, not using it, and her pain was evident.

A trip to recent Washington State University alumna Kelsey Roberts (‘21 DVM) at Cascade Veterinary Clinic in Wenatchee — the only clinic the family could find that was able to see the rabbit that following Sunday morning — confirmed their fears.

Lola had a significant hip dislocation, and she would require surgery to repair it. The Kaufmans were referred to WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Following a meeting with Finch, Brynn had three options for her companion: anesthesia with a complicated open surgery; closed surgery followed by a sling and months of cage rest; or amputation.

Each option carried its own risks.

The longer the 3-pound rabbit was put under anesthesia, the higher the chance she may not wake up, and each option required some amount of anesthesia. To make matters worse, Lola was small for her breed, which increased the risk.

“The open surgery option would require the longest time under anesthesia, and only an estimated 20% of rabbits of Lola’s size are expected to make it,” said Finch. “The sling only had a 25% success rate, and while for less time, Lola would still require anesthesia.”

Ultimately, the Kaufmans elected to have the leg removed.

“Amputation is a difficult decision to make,” Julie said. “You want the animal to do well; you want them to have a good quality life.”

Julie said equally as impressive as Lola’s recovery was WSU’s human approach to veterinary medicine.

“We weren’t just another client, and that all started with Dr. Roberts,” Julie said. “We weren’t rushed, even when they were running behind. We felt lucky to find this place, and lucky that they were who they were. For my child, I couldn’t have asked for better patient care and a better outcome.

And one month after the surgery, Lola is adapting well to life on three legs.

“While she does need some extra help with grooming, Lola has resumed all of her binkies, twisties, flops and speedy zoomies,” Brynn said. “I’m so excited to have my sweet girl back.”