On Nov 27, 2008, after I had just injected a sedative IM into
a Pudding Hamster with a chest haematoma and left eyelid
abscess, the owner of the 4 rabbits phoned me at 4.30 p.m. As
he was a busy entrepreneur, I did not phone him so as not to
interrupt his meetings.
I phoned him yesterday to take High Tea, the male rabbit home.
High Tea's scrotal swelling had reduced by 40% after I gave an
anti-inflammatory and antibiotic injection on Nov 26. But he
was not eating overnight as there was no faecal lumps passed
onto the pee pan.
"High Tea could be home-sick since the other 3 rabbits went
home and was squatting in a corner all the time," I had phoned
the owner. "I don't think so," the owner apologised that he
was in the midst of a meeting and could not take my call. He
brought the rabbit back at night on Nov 26, 2008.
On Nov 27, 2008, he phoned me while I had just sedated this
Pudding Hamster who soon was unable to right himself. He said,
"Doc, High Tea was eating at home. Maybe he missed the other 3
rabbits after all."
"That is good news," I said. "I had deliberately put a small
plastic bowl with rabbit food to test him in the afternoon
after phoning you. High Tea used his paws to flick over the
bowl to spill out the rabbit feed. He pushed the bowl here and
there inside the cage. Then he groomed himself. From this
behaviour, I knew he would be OK."
"There is one problem," the owner said. "Coffee had chewed off
the plasters and a bit of the skin stitches. There is some
bleeding. It should be OK."
"I will phone you later," I said. "I am in the midst of a
hamster anaesthesia." Later, I phoned him and said, "If Coffee
had chewed off the skin stitches, it is not OK. Soon she would
chew the muscle stitches and all the guts would spill out.
"Do you have the blue self-adhesive bandages with you?" I was
cursing myself for taking out the bandages of Coffee and the
other female as the owner felt they made the rabbits
uncomfortable. The rabbits appeared hunched back. Now there
was a problem with Coffee.
The owner promised to go home soon and bandaged Coffee's
stomach using any cloth at home. As he did not phone me for
the next 24 hours, I presumed there was no problem.
By Nov 27, 2008, day 3 after surgery, Coffee and High Tea
presented problems. The other male and female rabbits were OK.
The management of the rabbits after surgery is very important.
No point having a successful anaesthesia and surgery if the
post-operation management by the owner led to dead patients.
Stitch biting, bleeding, swellings and not eating are
the main problems the owner must be aware of after
sterilisation of the pets and must take time to inform the
Although it is the owner's responsibility after the rabbits go
home, it is in the interest of the rabbit that the owner
observes them and knows how to manage them and communicate
with the veterinarian early regarding problems encountered.
The first part of this story is at:
Anaesthesia & spay-neuter surgery of 4
rabbits at Toa Payoh Vets