This little cutie is Casper, a 13 month old dwarf rabbit. His owners brought him to see us when they first bought him. Dr Andrea gave him a full check up and vaccination and recommended desexing him once he was old enough. Even though Casper does not live with any other rabbits, she recommended the procedure to help with male hormone-related behavioural problems such as aggression and urine marking, as well as to protect him against certain diseases and cancers. Casper’s owners gave her recommendation some consideration and a few months later, came back with Casper for his desexing operation.
Rabbit surgeries are different from cats and dogs in several important ways. Rabbits should not be fasted prior to surgery as their digestive systems are very different from those of cats, dogs and humans.
Rabbits need a constant supply of fibre to keep their gut moving and in good health. Fasting can be dangerous and can lead to a serious condition called ‘gut stasis’. To prevent this, rabbits should have access to hay and water at all times. Rabbits are also incapable of vomiting and so are not at risk of vomiting under anaesthesia – a major reason why dogs and cats are fasted. Rabbits also receive different drugs from our other patients. Cats and dogs are kept asleep with a gaseous anasthetic agent and wake up when the gas is stopped. Rabbits are given a sedating drug which is later reversed with another drug once the surgery is finished. Also, rabbits has very sensitive skin so instead of closing their wounds with normal suture material, a special skin glue is used. Rabbits are encouraged to eat as soon as they are awake and we often suggest owners to bring in some of their bunny’s normal food to help them to eat right away.
Casper’s surgery went very well and Dr Raj removed both of his testicles without any complications. Nurse Dee monitored his vital signs throughout his anaesthetic and ensured that he was doing well. He was also closely monitored during his recovery to ensure that he was eating and pooping again.
Casper went home the same day and is looking forward to a long and happy life with his new family.