Basic Information image


Etiology and Pathophysiology

• Rabbits lack footpads. The skin on their feet is very thin and adherent to underlying connective tissue.

• Hopping involves a digitigrade gait; while at rest, the hind feet are plantargrade, and weight is shared between the hind claws and the metatarsus.

• Noncompliant substrates (hard flooring) and wire floors prevent the hind feet from adopting normal plantargrade stance, causing most of the weight to be sustained by the metatarsus and hock, not by the claws.

• Some abrasive surfaces (e.g., carpet) may produce friction on the skin, thus exacerbating the problem.

• Ensuing abnormal weight bearing and loss of protective hair covering lead to development of pressure sores.

• Ischemia and necrosis of compressed soft tissue can develop and may lead to ulcerative and erosive lesions.

• Parts of the metatarsus most vulnerable include point of hock (calcaneus) and plantar prominence of central tarsal bone. The tip of each toe of any foot and the palmar carpal area can also be affected.

• Occasionally, ulcerative lesions can disrupt the integrity of the medial plantar vein or artery; this can result in significant hemorrhage and anemia.

• Advanced hindfoot cases can cause displacement of the superficial flexor tendon. This can cause permanent alteration of hindfoot conformation whereby toes are not able to flex appropriately, leading to extra weight bearing upon the point of the hock.

• Ulcerative pododermatitis is a vicious cycle whereby pain and disability reduce mobility, thus further exacerbating the condition.

• Moist and unhygienic conditions aggravate the condition, as can any condition that results in urinary and fecal soiling of the feet.

• Secondary infections that occur, primarily by Staphylococcus aureus and Pasteurella multocida, can lead to osteomyelitis and synovitis, predisposing to displacement of the superficial flexor tendon. Suppurative and exudative processes can lead to local hair matting and further contamination and abnormal pressure placement.

• Conditions that lead to lack of mobility (e.g., cramped housing, arthritis, spondylosis) can predispose to development of pododermatitis.

• Overweight, pregnant, and emaciated rabbits are more prone to developing the condition, as are large breed (>5 kg body weight) and Rex breed rabbits.

• Iatrogenic causes ensue if inadvertent removal of plantar or palmar hair occurs, or when hair is removed in preparation for surgery.

• Chronic infection may lead to anemia.

• Pain may result in aggression and gut stasis.

< div class='tao-gold-member'>

Stay updated, free articles. Join our Telegram channel

Jul 28, 2016 | Posted by in EXOTIC, WILD, ZOO | Comments Off on Pododermatitis

Full access? Get Clinical Tree

Get Clinical Tree app for offline access