Raillard, M., Detotto, C., Grepper, S. et al. 2019. Anaesthetic and perioperative management of 14 male New Zealand white rabbits for calvarial bone surgery. Animals 9(11), 896.

Calvarial bone surgery on rabbits is frequently performed. This report aims to document a simple and practical anaesthetic and perioperative management for this procedure. Fourteen male New Zealand white rabbits were included in the study. Subcutaneous (SC) dexmedetomidine, ketamine and buprenorphine ± isoflurane vaporized in oxygen administered through a supraglottic airway device (V-gel®) provided clinically suitable anaesthesia. Supplemental oxygen was administered throughout recovery. Monitoring was clinical and instrumental (pulse-oximetry, capnography, invasive blood pressure, temperature, arterial blood gas analysis). Lidocaine was infiltrated at the surgical site and meloxicam was injected subcutaneously as perioperative analgesia. After surgery, pain was assessed five times daily (composite behavioural pain scale and grimace scale). Postoperative analgesia included SC meloxicam once daily for four days and buprenorphine every 8 h for three days (unless both pain scores were at the lowest possible levels). Rescue analgesia (buprenorphine) was administered in case of the score > 3/8 in the composite pain scale, >4/10 on the grimace scale or if determined necessary by the caregivers. Airway management with a V-gel® was possible but resulted in respiratory obstruction during the surgery in two cases. Hypoventilation was observed in all rabbits. All rabbits experienced pain after the procedure. Monitoring, pain assessments and administration of postoperative analgesia were recommended for 48 h.

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