Saturday, February 27, 2016

Top tips for working with rabbit patients

Rabbits can be challenging veterinary patients.

We all know that rabbits aren’t small dogs and cats, but when it comes to veterinary care they really do need special care. Given their popularity as companions, there’s relatively little we learn about them in veterinary school, but the little things can make all the difference. We asked three exotics veterinarians their top tips for working with rabbits.

Dr David Vella – Director, Sydney Exotics and Rabbits Vets (SERV)
  • To examine the oral cavity of rabbit, the use of a hand-held human nasal speculum is far superior to a traditional otoscope. The nasal speculum allows you to move the tongue and cheeks away from the cheek teeth thus facilitating examination
  • Patient warmth provision is essential during general anaesthesia. It is vital to monitor body temperature peri-operatively and actively warm rabbits that are below 37C


Dr Narelle Walter – Founder, Melbourne Rabbit Clinic
  • Analgesia in rabbits is often underutilised. Stress and anxiety (a common presentation in the rabbit) plays a major role in exacebating painful situations and we should always consider pre-emptive analgesia.
  • A towel is an essential rabbit handling tool and should be present in every rabbit consultation.


Dr Michelle Dalli
  • Be confident when talking about husbandry and diet in rabbits, so know the facts. I find in consults that when owners know that you know about these things they have more confidence in you as a vet.
  • Be confident in handling rabbits during the examination as again owners are more confident when you handle them well. Comes with practice!



The above veterinarians are teaching a workshop on rabbit surgery and dentistry next weekend at Charles Sturt University through Vetprac. For more info check out the program here

1 comment:

  1. Nice tips! Wish I could be in Oz (or free) when the rabbit Vetprac workshop is on. I always seem to miss it!

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