Post-operative care in rabbits – RAW23

We are slowly reaching the end of Rabbit Awareness Week 2023, running from the 26th until the 30th of June. However, today’s theme is very important as we are looking at post-operative care in rabbits.

Katy Mackenzie, our veterinary surgeon at NAWT Watford, has once again shared her knowledge and answered some commonly asked questions. This time, she is talking about how to take care of your rabbit after their operation, what to be careful of, and what diet to consider.

What advice would you give on how to look after a rabbit after the operation?

They need to be kept in a warm, dry environment, so it is a good idea to make sure that the bedding in their cage or house is freshly changed. Ideally, soft bedding should be used so as not to irritate their wound – sawdust can be quite scratchy and should ideally be avoided. It is important to try to reduce stress when they return home, so try not to make any big changes in their environment. In most cases they are alert and strong enough to be reunited with a bonded friend, but some rabbits may still be a little slow and sluggish when they first arrive home, so will need to be kept separate for a short while or monitored closely.

Many rabbits will have some loss of appetite after the anaesthetic. Therefore, their food intake must be closely monitored, and make sure to offer plenty of their favourite fresh food to tempt them. Most require syringe feeding just after the operation.

Your rabbit will also come home with a few days of pain relief, which you will need to give them.  It is important to check the wound at least once daily to ensure it is clean and dry.

What is syringe feeding and is it normal to expect to do this?

Most rabbits require some feeding support, which typically involves syringe feeding a special type of recovery food directly into their mouth. For many rabbits, this is only necessary for a day or two, but some rabbits do need help for much longer.

How will the rabbit’s life be better now they are neutered?

After the rabbit has recovered from the operation, they will be safe from any problems associated with pregnancy and reproductive cancers.  In most cases, they will also find it easier to have a harmonious relationship with their bonded pair due to behavioural benefits.

If you have any unanswered questions, please make sure to get in touch with us via our contact page.

Tomorrow marks the last day of Rabbit Awareness Week 2023, and it is rescue day. Keep your eyes peeled on our socials for a video where you get to meet some of our rabbits that are up for rehoming.