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Rabbits/Bladder stone in 10 year old rabbit


My ten year old male rabbit was diagnosed with a bladder stone and sludge, during an X-ray taken for an episode of stasis. The vet flushed out the sludge and gave him Metacam and Baytril. She says the stone must be removed surgically. She said stones are painful for the animal. Fred doesn't seem to be in pain, probably because of the Metacam.

I am concerned because Fred is ten. My question is: Is it riskier to operate to remove the stone, or riskier to leave the stone and hope it doesn't cause problems in the future? How painful is a stone/sludge?

Dear Carrie,

You're between a rock and a hard place here.  (sorry)

A ten year old rabbit can safely undergo surgery if he is otherwise healthy.  But I would recommend a complete wellness check including bloodwork so your vet can determine if there are any detectable problems that could make him a poor surgical risk.

The surgery is not major, and it can make him MUCH more comfortable.  Stones hurt, rabbits are incredibly stoic, and that's not a great combination.

If he were my bun, I would get the wellness check and have the stone removed if the checkup reveals that he's a reasonable surgical risk.  He could live another 5 years or more, and it would be miserable to live that with a painful bladder stone.  :(

Wish I could tell you otherwise.  No surgery is 100% risk-free, so you will have to make this decision based on what the vet tells you and what your heart tells you.

I hope all goes well.



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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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