Rabbit Anaesthesia - The Gold Standard

Rabbit Anaesthesia - The Gold Standard

Please take a time to read our fantastic rabbit anaesthesia protocol we are extremely proud of it and believe it is unmatched in London!

Rabbit anaesthesia is recognised as more risk than that of cats and dogs and for this reason people often become very nervous about allowing their rabbit to be neutered. Our general anaesthetic protocol has been developed over years of experience by our vets and with reference to rabbit experts.

It is because of this that we have such an excellent record on rabbit anaesthesia. We ask that you bring your rabbit into us at Hornsey in the morning of the operation for an admit appointment with one of our vets. During this consult we will give your bunny a full clinical exam to ensure that he or she is healthy and answer any of your questions or concerns. Once you leave your rabbit with us we will then make him or her comfortable in our hospital.

For extra safety we do also offer a pre-anaesthetic blood test before surgery to ensure that there are no underlying problems with your rabbit.

We then formulate drug dosages for pre medication exactly according to your rabbit’s weight and size. We make the anaesthetic safer still by using only small amounts of different pre medications. This is to ensure that your rabbit is not getting too much of any one drug.
From the moment the premedication is given there is a nurse monitoring your rabbit.

Once your bunny is drowsy from the pre-medication an intravenous catheter is placed into his or her ear. Having a catheter in a vein means that we can administer fluids, and, should there be any problems during the surgery then we can inject drugs quickly and efficiently.

The ear is then bandaged to make the catheter secure.

Before we induce your rabbit under anaesthesia we give him/her oxygen by a mask. This allows the blood to become more oxygenated. From this point we are closely monitoring the heart and breathing rates.

Once your rabbit is fully anaesthetised it is important to intubate (place a tube down the trachea) him or her so that we can properly administer anaesthetic gases and oxygen via a breathing tube to maintain anaesthesia. Unfortunately rabbits are notoriously difficult to intubate and this can lead to airway trauma. We are one of the 1st practice in London to be using a new design of airway tube that does not need to even touch the trachea. Instead, the tube forms a soft seal around the pharyngeal/laryngeal structures which delivers a clear and safe airway in 5 to 10 seconds whilst avoiding patient trauma. The new tubes are expensive, but we believe are well worth it. They stop gastric reflux during surgery and do not cause coughing and gagging on removal like previously designed tubes.

Your rabbit is monitored throughout the entire surgery by our state of the art equipment. We are constantly aware of heart and respiration rates plus carbon dioxide and oxygen levels. A nurse is regularly recording your rabbit’s output and altering the anaesthetic gas volume appropriately to ensure a consistent and safe anaesthetic.

It is important that a rabbit stays warm under anaesthetic so he or she will be lying on heated air pads, heat mats and have bubble wrap on his/her extremities to minimize heat loss. The temperature is monitored regularly by one of our nurses.

The surgical site is then clipped and cleaned until sterile.

During surgery your rabbit is also given a pain relieving injection and a drug to increase his/her gut movement. Often rabbit’s intestines can become sluggish and so we give a drug to prevent this from happening.

Once the surgery is done your rabbit is given a different drug to reverse the anaesthetic and he/she is given oxygen until fully awake. A nurse continues to record, heart rate, respiration rate and temperate until your rabbit is standing.

Hay is offered to your rabbit as soon as possible and we monitor closely for appetite and defaecation.

You can then take your rabbit home once we are happy that he/she is ok to leave and we offer two free post operative checks, one at 3 days and one at 10 days after surgery. This is to assess gut function and healing of the surgical wound. If you have any concerns about your rabbit’s health in the first 24 hours after surgery then we also offer an extra check to put your mind at rest.

Meet Hop and Scotch, two of Canonbury’s adorable bunny friends!