Bartley, K. A., Johnson, C. H. 2019. Human infant pants for postoperative protection during social housing of New Zealand white rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). JAALAS 58(4), 510-516.
Elizabethan collars (E-collars) are commonly used in various species to safeguard healing wounds. However, E-collars inadvertently restrict the expression of normal species-typical behaviors, including coprophagy, self-grooming, and social housing. To maintain social housing in accordance with recommendations in the 8th edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, we implemented the use of human infant pants instead of E-collars for postsurgical protection. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 154 intact male New Zealand white rabbits (age, 2 to 3 mo) regarding the use of E-collars (group 1; n = 72) compared with human infant pants (group 2; n = 82) for postoperative protection after 308 femoral angioplasty procedures. Maintenance of social pairs throughout the postoperative phase, replacement rate of infant pants, and self-mutilation rates were measured. Our findings indicate that using infant pants for postoperative protection was most successful in maintaining social housing, offers a more cost-effective option to E-collars, and does not increase the rate of self-mutilation in intact male New Zealand white rabbits.