tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   28 November, 2008
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters & rabbits
*10 a.m - 5 p.m (Mon - Sun, except Sat). Dr Sing Kong Yuen. By Appointment Only.

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Appointment preferred.
Tel: 6254-3326, 9668-6469
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Toa Payoh Vets Clinical Research
Making veterinary surgery alive
to a veterinary student studying in Australia
using real case studies and pictures

Date of educational article:   28 November, 2008
Rabbit Management Post-Surgery -
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS 


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 veterinarian promptly.   

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


Rabbit cage set up by owner. 2 rabbits/cage. Spay and neuter. Toa Payoh Vets
This set up by the owner showed that he cared a lot for his rabbit during boarding and knew what to do in the housing and feeding of his four naughty ones. I had never met such an organised rabbit owner who was also a very busy and successful business man.


Spaying pregnant rabbit. Domitor. Ketamine.Antisedan. Toa Payoh Vets
Prolific breeder, Coffee, after spay. Pregnant rabbits prolonged surgery and is much more risky to do. Double ligate. Do not cut too far down the vagina but remove all uterine tissues to prevent cancer development in the remnants in later years.
Female pregnant rabbit spayed. Bandaged. Self-adhesive. Toa Payoh Vets
Coffee was given plasters to prevent chewing off the skin and muscle stitches. Another sticky "Elastoplast" piece was taped on top of above plasters. Then a blue self-adhesive bandage wrapped round the area.
Female pregnant rabbit spayed. Bandaged. Self-adhesive. Toa Payoh Vets
In deference to the owner's concerns that the blue self-adhesive bandage was uncomfortable to Coffee and the other female, I removed them. Well, it was a mistake as Coffee chewed off all plasters and got onto the skin stitches 2 days after going home.


Day 2 after neuter. Vigorous licking post neuter by male rabbit. Swollen scrotum. Toa Payoh Vets
High Tea had swollen scrotums after neuter. He was warded while the other 3 rabbits went home. However, Bailout, the other male rabbit's scrotum had shrivelled up and could not be seen.
Male rabbit post-neuter complications. Toa Payoh Vets
24 hours after anti-inflammatory and antibiotics, the scrotal swellings had reduced by 40% but High Tea would not eat overnight. He was sent home and ate at home.

tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)Toa Payoh Vets Clinical Research
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