When we first met with little Sootica, her owners had brought her in for a routine vaccination and check-up, they were also very keen to find out if Sootica was a boy or girl. Sootica, as we discovered, is a little female rabbit. During her initial consultation, we discussed ideal housing, a balanced diet, vaccination regimes and most importantly desexing. Her owners were also provided with some take home information about caring for rabbits.
As recommended a few days later Sootica returned to us to be desexed. Rabbits are different from other animals in that they should not fast prior to surgery. It is very important that rabbits keep their gut functioning (ie. eating and digesting) as they can get sick once their gut stops working. Therefore, we asked Sootica's parents to bring her favourite food (fruit, vegetables, grass hay and a few pellets) so that she could eat until the anaesthetic began to work and for after surgery as rabbits can be tempted to snack soon after waking up.
Like other animals, we consider other factors for a rabbit surgery such as heat loss, depth of anaesthesia, pain relief, circulation and blood pressure. While under anaesthesia, we placed Sootica on a heating mat and put baby booties on her ears to minimise heat loss. She was also placed on intravenous fluids to help with her circulation and recovery from the anaesthetic.
The anaesthetic went smoothly, Sootica woke up very well and started moving around her cage and eating shortly after this. To help Sootica to eat soon after surgery we gave her an injection to stimulate her gut to start working again. She was sent home with some food called Oxbow Critical Care which helps the gut to function and is highly palatable. A check up of her the next day confirmed that she was doing well, and was bright and active, eating, drinking and most importantly passing faeces. Sootica is due in shortly to have her stitches removed and we hear that she is also about to have a new companion too!