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Rabbits/Urgent! Enucleation post-op on 5 mo Bunny

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Question
Hello Dana,

My 5 month old rex bunny had enucleation surgery today and I have a few concerns.  

She is bonded to a 5 month old lionhead female and the vet had me separate them for the passed week while we tried to treat the infection in her left eye because the lionhead was constantly trying to help her clean the eye.  They are currently housed next to each other with an xpen wall in between.  Will it be necessary to keep them separate when she comes home from surgery.  I thought being with her friend might help the healing process, but worried about attention the other bun might give any sutures?

My other question has to do with the surgery itself.  The vet said the eye was full of puss and that, because there was a lot of bleeding during the surgery there is a chance some of the infection reached her blood and that this has a chance of reaching her brain?  Is this a common concern after an enucleation?  

I'm sure the vet will go over signs of things to be concerned with, but he routinely does this procedure on cats and dogs.  There are no small animal or exotic vets within 300 miles of me.  I did check the recommended site at rabbit.org and call to the offices in our area to be sure before initially seeking treatment.  So, are there any concerns specific to bunnies after enucleation that I should watch out for?  Signs of trouble?  

I'm printing this out to use as a guide for now: http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare/opcare.html

I sincerely appreciate your advice!
Jessy

Answer
Dear Jessica,

Is your bunny on antibiotics?  If not, this is critical to start immediately.  It would be better with culture results from a sample of the pus (at least at the external edges of the abscess), but in the absence of that, and since the vet thinks there is a risk of septicemia, please ask about *immediate* administration of both injectable dual-acting Penicillin G Procaine/Benzathine (NO oral penicillins are safe for rabbits, and this is the only injectable one that's safe.) *and* a fluoroquinolone.

Injected Baytril would get into the system faster to provide therapeutic levels, but must be given in subcutaneous fluid bolus to prevent local tissue necrosis (Baytril is nasty and caustic!).  

Keep the bunnies close by each other so the mate can offer moral support.  You could try putting them together and see how they behave, but take no chances if the mate might mess with the sutures.

Did the vet enucleate the eye to get at the abscess?  Usually, and abscess like this results from a tooth "root" abscess.  If the offending tooth is not removed and the bunny not treated with antibiotics (possibly for a LONG course), you may not have good results.

There is a very large venous sinus behind the eye in a rabbit; very fragile.  If the vet nicked that, it could account for the bleeding.  I hope there was positive pressure, and no contamination of the bloodstream with bacteria.  

Sending healing thoughts...

Dana

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

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:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet 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.

Experience

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.

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

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

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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