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Rabbits/My rabbit has developed numerous lumps under the skin

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Question
My 5 year old maleunneutered rabbit has been in good health. However, about 4 weeks ago I noticed about 4 small (pea sized) lumps under the skin around his stomach and side areas. These appear quite firm to the touch. They have not changed in size over this time and do not seem to cause any discomfort. The vet said the best option is to carry out and operation to remove the lumps and analyze these.My vet doesn't seem very knowledgeable about rabbits therefore I just want to check this is the best course of action? Are there significant risks for him undergoing anesthetic? And are such lumps a common issue in rabbits? My vet provided minimal information on what this is more likely to be and said that its very uncommon for rabbits to develop lumps on the body. I do not want to put him through unnecessary treatment if this is not needed. Thank you

Answer
Dear Verity,

If the vet is not very experienced with rabbits, then he might not be very experienced with rabbit anesthesia.  But it is probably a good idea to identify the bumps.  They could be fibromas, but they might also be abscesses (rabbit pus is very solid and firm) or even tumors.

If they are superficial, then ask the vet about using local anesthetic (e.g., Marcaine) and a light sedative (e.g., lorazepam, diazepam) to calm the bunny, and simply excise one of the lesions without general anesthesia, which is far more risky.  You might also want to check the international listings here for a vet more experienced with rabbits:

http://members.shaw.ca/cocoasun/RabbitVetsMain.htm

I hope all will be fine.

Dana

Rabbits

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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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