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Rabbits/fibro-sarcoma diagnosis of the lip


smeagol\'s lip
smeagol's lip  
I guess to make an extremely long story short i'll just start with I received news from our vet tonight that the results from our bunny's biopsy came back as fibro-sarcoma. Our bunny will be three yrs old on Dec. 1, so he's still young. He's had a red spot on his upper left lip for most of the year. It hadn't changed, didn't have any abrasions etc, he had previously seen two other vets who said it was nothing to worry about. We were stationed in Japan until this summer though (where our bunny is from) and the vets he saw previously didn't speak much english, though they seemed like good vets. Anyway, we're back in the U.S. and after a neuter surgery and a biopsy, we're at this diagnosis. His current vet admits he doesn't know a lot about rabbits (even though the SDHRS uses him for a lot of spays and neuters), he's comfortable with the anesthetic portion. He is going to talk to a surgeon and possibly another vet about treatment options, but he's thinking of removing it & isn't sure if radiation therapy would be needed or even advised or possible with a rabbit. In order to remove it the surgeon will have to remove most of the lip. I'm wondering what the best course of action is for my baby. Also, i'm hearing opposite things about whether or not he has a good chance, or it could just end up being a constant removal cycle. I haven't had a chance to look it up yet so I have no idea.

Dear Christina

I am sorry about the delay.  A death in the family has me running to catch up everywhere.

The diagnosis is not a nice one.  Fibrosarcomas can be not only locally invasive, but metastatic (meaning they can spread to distant parts of the body). How they behave depends on the individual.

Removal of the lesion would be effective only if large, clear margins could be obtained, and the location of the tumor will make that difficult.  Have the vets given you any further information on this?  It's going to be a hard decision to make, with no easy answers.

I wish I could be of more help.



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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:

Find a rabbit vet at for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.

RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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