Rabbit Anaesthesia


Many people are concerned about the risks involved in letting their rabbit have an anaesthetic. Many years ago rabbits suffered much higher mortality rates due a lack of knowledge of their special needs.

We use the latest anaesthetic techniques, equipment, monitoring procedures and medications, and when used in conjunction with a thorough physical examination and pre-anaesthetic testing as needed, the risks are very low.

Pre-anaesthetic testing

Some patients will have signs of underlying disease processes. Blood tests, urine sampling or specialised imaging may be advised to enable us to reduce risk and tailor the anaesthetic specifically to this patient’s problems.


Rabbits must be provided with food right up to their procedure. We provide hay and we ask you to provide their favourite fresh leafy greens for the day.

Anaesthetic procedure

All rabbits are pre-oxygenated for 5 minutes prior to induction. This greatly reduces the stresses involved with induction. Heart rates are measured and the patient and vet have some quiet time together.

Induction will be by intramuscular or intravenous injection and may be staged according to the medications needed for the particular surgery and patient requirements. A breathing tube will be placed in the airway to allow supplementary oxygen and anaesthetic gas.

Specialised monitoring equipment is used. At the end of the procedure some medications may be given to speed recovery. Syringe feeding will be given as soon as the patient is mobile.

Pain relief

Locally acting, centrally acting and long acting pain relief will be given according to surgical requirements and adjusted as necessary. Oral pain relief syrup will be sent home with the patient and it is essential that you give this as directed. If you feel your pet is still in pain then please do not hesitate to contact us. Effective pain relief is essential in preventing post-operative gut stasis in rabbits. Do not use medications prescribed for other pets or humans. The doses and types of medications may be completely different, inadequate at best and some are even toxic when used incorrectly.

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