Can A Wild Rabbit Survive A Broken Leg?

Rabbits may be on the more sensitive side, but don’t underestimate them! Rabbits are solid and vigorous animals that can endure a broken leg.

A wild rabbit is capable of surviving a broken leg. However, some complications entail injury that could consequently lead to death. Being highly dependent on their legs, a rabbit can have a hard time surviving a broken leg in the wild. Nevertheless, rabbits don’t necessarily have to suffer severe consequences from an injury.

Treating leg injuries can be a hectic process and quite pricey too. Rabbits can heal from these injuries without the involvement of surgeries and complicated treatments. Continue reading this post to under more! 

Wild Rabbits v/s Domesticated Rabbits

Let’s first address the most obvious difference between wild and domesticated rabbits: Wild rabbits do not have healthcare access like the tame ones. Domestic rabbits are given sufficient medical attention by their vets and consequently heal faster. They can live up to the age of about nine years. Wild rabbits generally only survive for a couple of years due to natural or environmental factors. As they are out in the wild, they are at higher risk of being in danger by predators.

There are also everyday situations that both kinds of rabbits tend to face.

Rabbits are playful animals but can be just as nervous and fearful. Whether it is a wild rabbit or a domesticated one, they often find themselves in situations that make them scared. Sometimes, they can excessively panic, causing a sudden injury or a sprain. At times during predatorial encounters, rabbits can injure their spinal columns, succumbing to paralysis or even death.

 Survival Techniques

A rabbit’s legs have three key purposes:

  1. Running
  2. Digging
  3. Self-defense

Rabbits chiefly use their hind legs to carry these activities. So, if even one of them gets injured, it becomes challenging to perform any of these functions.

Running 

Rabbits possess a gait of about 1.5 feet and can run at a speed of 30 miles per hour. This is excellent if they have to quickly escape from a predator as they have got quite the speed! So, a rabbit’s legs are relatively solid and can tolerate injuries to a certain extent.

Digging 

Rabbits have impressive hind limb strength that they use to dig and tunnel through the ground. Naturally, rabbits live in burrows. Burrows is especially a good idea to escape the scorching heat on sunny days.

While wild rabbits may not have human health care around, they live in communities within these burrows. So, if not humans, they have a good enough social circle to tend to them if they need help.

 Self Defense 

Rabbits also use their legs to defend themselves. In a situation where a rabbit is cornered, it must attack. They do this using their claws and throwing a strong kick at their bully. Even harmless creatures experience these powerful thumps because they tend to be painful and often bruise.

Front Leg Fractures v/s Hind Leg Fractures

While fractures of the hind legs are more commonly seen, front leg fractures are not impossible. Fractures in the front leg are not as constraining as rabbits mainly use their hind legs to perform essential daily activities. These activities include jumping, running, digging, or even fighting.

Hind legs are at higher risk of being fractured. This is due to all the strain they must bear and the kind of arrangement of the muscles and bones in the legs.

Weak Bones

Rabbits have thin, brittle bones that are often at high risk of breakage. Bone fractures can also be due to pre-existing health conditions such as osteoporosis or running and predatorial attacks. There is also something called a post-trauma shock that is seen among rabbits. While it can be fatal at times, rabbits can still lead an everyday, healthy life after overcoming a bone fracture.

Risks of Injured Bones

Rabbits have a tougher time dealing with the outcome of their injury than the injury itself. In the case of some trauma to their skeletal system, there could be potential bleeding, shock, or even paralysis.

At a vet’s clinic, a rabbit is given a thorough check-up, including the neurological aspects. In the case of a wild rabbit, it is difficult to detect any internal problems. Therefore, wild rabbits are more susceptible to facing more severe issues from the injury.

Common Injuries

Rabbits are lightweight animals, which enables them to be more energetic, playful, and active.

Here’s a fun fact: A rabbit’s skeleton only contributes 7-8% to its total body weight. This contrasts with animals like cats, whose skeleton makes up 12-13% of their total body weight.

With that being said, rabbits are more susceptible to open (bone pierces through the epithelium, increasing chances of infection) or comminuted (multiple fractures in the bone) fractures. It is easy for a domestic rabbit to recover from these due to the ready availability of antibiotics. However, wild rabbits are mostly left untreated, increasing their risk of contracting infections from open or undressed wounds.

More Complications

Bone Setting

Unfortunately, wild rabbits don’t receive the same health care the way domesticated ones get from vets. This lowers the chances of proper healing of these injuries. In the wild, rabbits will exert their leg by continuing to use it, ultimately making the injury worse. The bone setting could also be off, and the injury will end up healing in the same way, permanently impacting the leg’s movement.

The extent of Leg Use

Depending on the type of injury, rabbits are capable of jumping at a significant height. Rabbits can still use their leg limitedly unless it suffers paralysis or neural damage. Despite the expected pain, a rabbit can still use its injured leg to walk on.

Bone Development

If a wild rabbit injures its leg in its initial days when bone growth is still going on, there is a good chance of development issues. The growth of an injured bone can go differently compared to the ones that grow typically. It can result in these broken bones growing at different angles or in other sizes. This will cause the rabbit a lot of distress during movement and affects its overall physical health.

Fixing a Broken Leg

It is essential to be gentle and aware while taking care of a rabbit’s broken leg. You need to be extra cautious of your bunny’s movements to make sure it doesn’t exert its body. In serious cases, your rabbit may have to undergo complicated surgeries and the associated complex processes. Typically, vets use wires or pins to repair broken bones.

In the healing duration, make sure that the rabbit highly limits its movement and stays as still as it can. It would help if you kept an eye out for any sudden or persistent action, which will only slow down the healing process. Domesticated rabbits have a much easier time staying still with a broken leg as they wouldn’t have to move much for their requirements.