Romain Pizzi BVSc MSc DZooMed FRES MACVSc(surg) MRCVS

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons recognised Specialist

Welcome to the new internet portal dedicated to all things to do with  pet Rabbit Surgery....

Rabbits have a rough deal. As vets, we treat them as pets to the best of our ability, while our next patient may well be a cat (that the owner feeds rabbit flavoured food at home). I have to admit that I had no intentions in my youthful career plans to become involved with what I saw to be a children's pet (although I too had one as a pet as a child). However, with time I have come to appreciate pet rabbits for their strong individual personalities and charisma, and respect the often extremely strong relationships they may form with their owners. It was partly out of initial pity, and part out of frustration with my own and other veterinarians poor knowledge and inadequate treatment of these patients, that the idea for work on specialised surgery of pet rabbits was born.

As of January 2009, a PubMed search on "rabbit surgery" yielded over 36,000 articles, however when the words "pet" and "veterinary" were added, almost unbelievably, the number of articles returned dropped to just 18! Sadly, while a huge volume of research and work has been performed on rabbits for man and other pet animals benifit, there is still very little published on improving pet rabbit surgery.

This short laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) video of an asymptomatic 4 & 1/2 year rabbit with an abdominal mass detected on palpation during a routine health check at vaccination, demonstrates a massive uterine adenocarcinoma (malignant tumour) and its metastasis (spread) to the liver, diaphragm and peritoneum, with associated ascites (free fluid in the abdomen). This case was sadly not amenable to surgical removal. While laparoscopy provided a relatively non-invasive diagnostic and prognostic tool (this rabbit was treated palliatively at home until later deterioration when it was humanely euthanased), it again highlights the clear benifit of early ovariohysterectomy (neutering) of pet female rabbits, which have a very high risk of developing these malignant tumours in later life. For more on keyhole surgery in rabbits visit: www.veterinarylaparoscopy.com

During 2010 we will be adding a host of resources, pictures, videos, and information sheets to dowload for not only pet rabbit owners, but also veterinarians.