Figure 4: Fracture of ulna and radius in male rat (Naboo).
Case history and photos
Naboo, a 2.5-year-old male rat housed inside his cage sustained a bite to the right forelimb, through the cage bars, by the family’s West Highland Terrier dog.
It was noticed immediately following the bite that Naboo kept the right forelimb twisted closely in towards his body, and that there was a small laceration to the skin.
Compound fracture to the radius and ulna of the right forelimb.
The following treatment options were discussed with a veterinary surgeon.
- Internal fixation (possibly with a hypodermic needle). It was decided that the rat was quite old, and would probably not survive a long general anesthetic.
- Amputation of the limb. We decided against this option as rats need both forelimbs and paws to hold food and eat.
- Bandage the limb to align the bones and provide support.
This last option was decided on and a cast was made from Elastoplast covered with skin glue to harden it. Unfortunately after the cast had been in place for 3 hours the foot began to swell and it was decided that the cast should be removed to prevent damage to the limb. The rat was also very distressed having his leg bandaged.
In referring back to a previous case history on the Rat Guide, (https://ratguide.com/health/figures-health/fractures_figure_2.php) the decision was made to leave the leg un-bandaged and wait for a callous to form.
An initial dose of Metacam was given as pain relief on the day of the accident but it was decided not to continue so that he would rest the leg.
In addition a 7-day course of Baytril (antibiotic) was given due to the break in the skin’s integrity from the fracture.
He was very subdued for the first 4 days following the accident, and the limb remained swollen. After 7 days he began using the paw to hold food when eating and the swelling had gone down. After 2 weeks he was as active as before the accident. The limb is slightly shorter and he keeps it retracted towards his body but he is jumping, climbing and running with no problems.
Photo 1: Towards the top of the x-ray the fracture to the radius and ulna can be viewed in the right forelimb.
Photo 2: shows Naboo during healing as he keeps the forelimb retracted towards his body.
Case history and photos courtesy of Bizzy McClure, RVN