LeFors, J. E., Anderson, L. M., Hanson, M. A. et al. 2022. Assessment of 2 hair removal methods in New Zealand white rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). JAALAS 61(3), 296-303.

Rabbits are frequently used as surgical models in research. However, studies assessing the effects of various hair removal methods on wound healing and surgical site infection (SSI) in rabbits are sparse. Here we evaluated the effects of 2 hair removal methods—clipping with electric clippers and using a commercial depilatory agent—on wound healing and SSI as assessed via wound scoring and histology. Incisions were assigned ASEPSIS scores on days 3 and 7. To assess whether the hair removal methods influenced aseptic preparation, swabs for bacterial culture were obtained just after hair removal on day 0, after aseptic skin preparation on day 0, and on day 1. For histopathologic assessment, full-thickness punch biopsies were obtained on days 0, 1, 3, 7, and 21. Histopathology revealed significant differences between the 2 methods, with the depilatory method having consistently higher scores (that is, more abnormalities). We conclude that for a surgical preparation regimen, clipping is safer, more efficacious, and less traumatic to tissues in rabbits.

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