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Rabbits Back Leg Amputation


Active Member
Cavy Slave
May 14, 2012

My bunny Bunana is 7 years old and has cancer on his heel. He's had surgery to try to remove it, but since it's squamous cell carcinoma and it wasn't gotten to right away, it came back. The only option now is amputation of his back leg.

Has anyone here had any experience with this? I'm unsure if I should put him through the surgery and recovery. There are a few stories on the internet, but I was wondering if anyone has had or heard a bad experience, and wished they hadn't made their bunny go through it.

He's been through two months of having to wear a collar for his wound to close. I don't want him to go through 2 more months of healing, just to have something bad happen soon after. But at the same time, if he could have a year or two of happiness, that would be great.

Thank you for all your help!
I haven't had this experience but I know animals are a lot more resilient that people give them credit for. I know dogs get around amazingly well with limb or limbs amputation. They just learn to compensate with what they have left.
I am so sorry to hear this! I cannot speak about my personal experience but I visited a rabbit rescue a few times and she had rabbits for had gone through all kinds of things. Surgery, being thrown into dumpsters, cancer, blindness, and more. She even had the sweetest pig who had severe neurological problems. However, they all did extremely well. I was terrified to put my guinea pig through surgery for a cancerous lump and unfortunatly, it did come back However, it was months later and he is still doing wonderful! I recommend looking for a rabbir rescue or talking with a second exotic veterinarian just to see if they can tell you about their experiences. Has your vet done this before? Maybe they would put you in contact with someone who you can talk it over with. My guinea pig acted completely like normal in just a couple days. While going through an amputation would be extrememly difficult, your bunny may just be one tough cookie. Honestly, I think you just have to do some research and go with your heart. You are his momma and you know him best. I wish you the best and will keep your bunny in my prayers.
I don't know how to answer your question. I've done only a little research into bunnies. However, I think Binky Bunny might be able to help you out. They seem like people who know what they're talking about.

BinkyBunny House Rabbit Information and Care

Bunny prayers coming your way! I hope and pray Bunana makes a full recovery. (What a brilliant name! Bunana. Cute!)
Thank you for all your responses and the compliment on his name CritterLuvva :).

I decided to go ahead with the surgery. It was a crazy hard decision, because of his age, but his life has sucked up to this point and he deserves happiness (assuming this works out.) His previous owner (4 years) kept him in a cage for most of the time and I, until now, have had to keep him in my bedroom without enough attention. It's awful this all coincided with him getting the run of the place with two dedicated humans.

He had the surgery yesterday and so far so good with the leg. I did have a scare from him staying passed out from the meds, but he's been back to the vet today (poor baby,) and gotten the all clear, but we're going to continue at half dose. He's on both metacam and buprenorphine.

So far he's willing to eat veggies and moves to get out of wet spots. I'll tell you how he does as time goes on. He's a really good bunny and I hope he copes well with the change.
It's 5 days post surgery and he has swelling that started yesterday where the leg is missing. The doctor said he might have swelling there as his body will try to fill in what's missing (wish it would do this completely.:sorry:) He also said to bring him in if it does happen so we can be sure it's nothing bad. I'm very happy he already has an appointment tomorrow morning to adjust his pain meds.

I'll update if it's anything bad, but other than this new thing, he's doing okay. He's back to eating everything; although, I give a lot of greens to keep his spirits up, and since he's on a med that constipates him, it really works out to keep him regular too.
The swelling turned out to be muscular and totally normal :)

It's been 2 weeks today and he's doing well-ish: the incision is healed, he's eating and pooping great and he does move around, but not very much. It really wears him out to clean, so I think he uses up most of his energy there. I worry he may have snuffles, since he'll breath really hard (audible) after cleaning his back end, but he doesn't have a discharge and after a bit he breathes normallly again.

So far I think he's on track for 2 weeks, but I hope he gets more strength, since it does seem like a chore for him hop and he mostly keeps his hind end down. Also, he twists when he lays, as if trying to not rest on his stump, but he isn't able to lie on his side for some reason. He always lays in doorstop position, but his front feet are kind of sideways. He used to always do superbuns with his legs stretched behind him. I hope he can go back to that eventually.

At least the worst pain is over.
Thanks for keeping us updated. I'm kind of confused why I don't seem to have gotten an update in my e-mail for this thread until today, but grateful to know Bunana seems to be doing well. Did you ever sign up to Binky Bunny?
awh so great that he is getting better! id like to see some pictures of him he sounds adorable! glad the surgery went ok :)
That's great he's doing well! Leg amputee bunnies can live full and happy lives. There are now 3 leg amputees at the bunny rescue I volunteer for and all are happy and healthy little buns. =D
I'm thrilled that your lil' bun is doing okay. I've raised rabbits for most of my early to late teenager years. (Far from that now. Lol!) Though, I've never had an amputee bunny. I believe though, that for him, and what he's gone through so far is in fact quite tiring. It will be a life adjustment for the little guy. If your not seeing any signs of crusting, or other effects of being sick, then I truly believe it's him trying to get used his new life of only having three legs. But by all means, keep an eye on it. Just in case.

I know your sweetie pie will pull through for a full recovery.

Way to go Bunana!! We're all rooting for you! :love:
This is very hard to type. Bunana passed away yesterday morning. :weepy:[SUP]100[/SUP]

We got a necropsy, because it was so unexpected. It was a heart valve failure in one of the four and then threw a clot to his brain or spinal cord, or maybe even his left arm.

He had had diarrhea Saturday afternoon and then Sunday, which kept getting better then worse again. He was still eating his veggies, which I didn't want to give him very much of because of the diah, so on Sunday when it was still there I gave him Critical Care. Twice. The second time before going to bed must have been the stressful thing that was the last straw. The doctor said it was going to happen sometime, it was just a matter of when.

I soo wish I hadn't done the critical care the last time. I thought it might fix his diah and then he wouldn't have to go to the vet in the morning. When I woke up he was cold but still alive and his left front arm didn't work, then I took him to the vet and he needed to be pts. He only had one week without pain and that horrible collar (at least it was only on at night, and my husband and I slept in shifts over the weekend, since Bunana hated it so much.)

If I had this to do over, I don't know what to do. There was so much hope and happiness. I cried from joy, which I never do, when he was able to sleep in his cardboard box. He wasn't able to do that for a couple of months because of the collar/horrible bandage, which he would chew if not watched. If he'd only not gotten the diah. We are unsure what caused it. There were unfortunately several factors. The one I blame the most was a sour-cream and onion chip that was carelessly dropped. He may have nibbled it. :guilty: So much guilt, but I deserve it.

I didn't want the end to be like it would have been before the amputation, but I guess it had to be that bad of an ending, since this ending was worse. It's so confusing. We both miss him so much! This is horrible. He was such a great bouncing buns! :weepy:


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I am SO sorry to hear this sad news..... I know Bunana knew how much you loved him (that name is so sweet.) A lot of pet owners wouldn't have gone through all you did to save him. He knew you loved him and you both were lucky to have found one another. The other day I saw a dead rabbit on our block that someone ran over. That little guy never had a chance. Bunana had a wonderful life with you. Rest in peace, little sweetie....
I am so sorry for your loss!
He was a beautiful bunny with amazing human parents.
Rest in peace, Bunana. :love:
I am so sorry for your loss. Bunana sounds like such an amazing bunny. At least he has gone on to rainbow bridge now.

Here is the story of rainbow bridge, for those of you that aren't familiar with it.
Poor bunny! I was shocked to see such a sad turn in the story after he seemed to be healing :( I'm sorry for your loss!! Rip Bunana :love:
Thank you all very much for your condolences; they were very nice. :weepy:❤️

I started this thread, so that someone in the future with the same dilemma could get more help deciding what to do. I figured out what really happened Sunday night which caused Bunana's death and how it may have been prevented at least for a while. If he had gotten at least 3 awesome months, the operation would have been worth it.

At 3:30am I heard scratching. Like a normal buns scratches on carpet sometimes. I thought he was just having fun for a second and then it went on a bit, and I was confused, but thought it was still an okay thing and by the time I got in there he will have stopped, which is true, since I didn't fly up immediately :weepy:. It probably went on about 10 seconds.

I've now figured out it was him trying to right himself after falling over. This was incredibly stressful, since he didn't understand why he was suddenly almost on his back, and felt he must get up pronto, so he was working very hard to do that while panicking. This makes sense as the stressful thing that caused his heart valve failure and not the CC. He had only done this a couple of times, since he didn't move around a lot yet. I didn't know the sound, since it was with me, I helped him right away. I should have thought of this and slept in his room.

Anyway, if you are from the future and are doing this, sleep with your bunny until they're good at righting themselves after falling over. Your bunny might not have an issue with their heart, but it's just not worth risking, since this operation is such a big thing to go through. Plus, your bunny will appreciate the help up. :guilty::weepy:


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I know I'm late responding to your post, and I'm sorry. I've been distracted, but I would like to offer my condolences.

I just lost my best four legged friend, my dog Sunny, two weeks ago. I'm still looking around expecting him to help me clean up my messes when I drop a bit of food or charge out the door when I open it. He was my loyal companion and I even have considered getting another dog one of these days. I just dreamed about him the other night. I'd like to do something in memory of him. I'll just have to see what.

Any way, I don't mean to go on about my own pain. I'm just trying to say that I'm sorry for your loss, and would like you to know that you're not alone. Hold on to the good times you spent with Bunana.

Something that helped me after loosing my dog was finally getting my first set of piggies. Two foster girls from a friend's rescue. I have been putting all the love into them I can. Has this made all the pain go away? Of course not.

Piggies are wonderful, but they can not replace my best friend. What they can do is make the pain easier to bare. Maybe if you foster or volunteer somewhere, it'll help you move through the grieving process and perhaps make each day just a little more pleasant and just a little less painful. May God cover you with his comfort and peace during this time. Prayers your way!
I'm sorry about Sunny. :( I lost my 19 yr old kitty two months ago, so I know what you mean.

This end part is so hard, but it's what we sign up for. I wish the end would always go smoothly and at the right time though. Her age and that she died peacefully at home (nice vet), although sad, made it easier to accept. I knew she couldn't live forever. And right now I have a guinea pig who is 7ish with lung cancer, so I'm going to be able to do that, when the time comes.

It's the shock of some that gets me. My 13 year old kitty died of acute pancreatitis and it took me 6 months to get better. It's more like a trauma sometimes. This with Bunana feels similar. Especially the wishing you could go back and do it right.

Bunana was my first animal with stuffed animals, so I've been keeping his 2 favorites with me almost all the time. I feel way too old for that, but it does help. They're both bunnies.

Precia's post of the rainbow bridge video helped. I also looked for others and they're were a few. It was cathartic.
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