Surgery can be a stressful time for any animal. You can help reduce the stress on your bunny and ensure a successful recovery by providing your bunny with comfort and proper care before and after surgery.
The stress of being in a veterinary clinic with cats and dogs can be minimized. If your bunny has a hutch mate, bring her along to provide company. This will not only reduce stress for the bunny having surgery, but will also prevent separation anxiety for the hutch mate. If your bunny does not have a hutch mate, bring his favorite toy, blanket, or a piece of clothing with your scent.
If you have had a pet or family member that underwent surgery, you are familiar with the instructions “no food after midnight.” Food is withheld from other creatures to prevent regurgitation when anesthetized. Rabbits cannot regurgitate, and food must be present in a rabbit’s digestive system to prevent GI Stasis as we learned in the article “Rabbits - Digestive system.” Feed your bunny as normal up until surgery time. Make sure he has hay, food, and even treats with him when you drop him off for surgery.
Normally, food and water is introduced slowly after surgery. With a rabbit, food and water must be provided immediately after surgery. Your bunny’s feces will be very small at first. This is because there is no food in the digestive system to process. Your veterinarian should make sure the food, hay and treats you bring are made available immediately after surgery. Every effort must be made to entice your bunny to eat or you will run the risk of GI Stasis.
When you bring your bunny home, monitor his food intake. If he is not eating his regular food, try giving him baby food carrots, apples, or even bananas. If he eats these items, try mixing in some pellet food. Keep your bunny in a stress free area until he is eating normally.