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Mesenteric root and cecal torsion in a domestic rabbit (oryctolagus cuniculus)

Gleeson, Molly, Chen, Sue, Fabiani, Michelle, Marino, Amanda, Antinoff, Natalie
Journal of exotic pet medicine 2019 v.28 pp. 76-81
Oryctolagus cuniculus, cecum, colic, digestive system diseases, feces, females, image analysis, laparotomy, necropsy, rabbits, radiography, spaying
A 4.5-year-old female spayed Rex rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was presented as an emergency case for hyporexia, pigmenturia, and abnormal feces. The rabbit had been treated for intermittent hyporexia with outpatient medical management and over the next 2 months demonstrated intermittent signs of gastrointestinal stasis, which were only partially responsive to aggressive medical management. Serial radiographs demonstrated persistent gas within the cecum as well as left-sided, cranial displacement of the cecum. A partial cecal obstruction or volvulus was suspected but could not be confirmed, as advanced imaging and exploratory laparotomy were declined. Two months following its initial presentation, the rabbit developed acute signs of shock and colic, but arrested prior to emergency evaluation. Postmortem radiographs showed marked generalized gas dilation of the small intestines and cecum. Necropsy revealed a 360° mesenteric root torsion with devitalization of much of the small intestines, with an additional 180° rotation of the cecum. This case demonstrates that mesenteric root torsion occurs in rabbits and is an important consideration in rabbits presenting with acute shock or chronic, intractable gastrointestinal signs.