Hi Dr Krempels,
My veterinarian has been very successful in masking rabbits for spays and neuters. She tried to tube one of my rescue rabbits tonight using the new V-Gel Rabbit airway device. After 3 attempts my rabbit died. Is it really better to try to tube them? She successfully has spayed and neutered about 100 rabbits for me by masking and all have survived.
Thank you very much for your input.
Answer Dear Janet,
I'm so sorry about your loss. I've not heard of this happening with a V-Gel, as they are pretty non-invasive.
While it is better to have an intubated patient in case of problems during surgery, many vet still avoid intubating rabbits because they are soooooo very difficult to intubate.
One of the problems with traditional intubation is the risk of overstimulating the vagus nerve, which can cause cardiac arrest. I was under the impression that the V-Gel eliminated this risk, but I could be wrong. It's usually a risk only if an animal struggles while being intubated.
Did your vet determine a cause of death via necropsy? It might not have had anything to do with the V-Gel. Just a thought.
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.
If your rabbits is LETHARGIC
If your rabbit is NOT EATING
If your rabbit is PHYSICALLY INJURED (including broken bones)
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