Case of the Month April 2014

Given that April was the month of Easter we thought it was fitting that our case of the month was a rabbit! Rosie is a mature adult doe (female rabbit) who has been rescued by the RSPCA. All re-homing charities neuter their animals as part of a responsible adoption system. This reduces the risk of further unwanted offspring and often has health benefits for the animals in their care. This is particularly important in female rabbits as other than their capacity to breed prolifically un-neutered female rabbits are very likely to develop malignant tumours of their uterus. The incidence of a malignant tumour called an adenocarcinoma has been quoted to be as high as nearly 80% in groups of rabbits over 5 years of age. Rosie was booked for routine neutering at Oak Barn Vets which is carried out under a full general anaesthetic. Although rabbits are the most “at risk” species we treat considering general anaesthesia the advancement of anaesthetic medications and monitoring has reduced this risk considerably. Rosie sailed through her induction and preparation for surgery but when her relaxed abdomen was palpated an abnormal, rounded swelling was felt in the region of her bladder. At surgery this swelling was found to be a tumour within the body of her uterus. Rosie’s neutering surgery went without a hitch and the tumour was removed along with the rest of her uterus and ovaries.  As you can see in the picture there is a V shaped uterus with the ovaries attached to the top of this tube.  At the bottom is the round uterine mass.  In the gallery below you can see further pictures of the mass in gory technicolour!photo 3 Thankfully Rosie recovered quickly and comfortably from her surgery and is now looking for a new home. Had it not been for Rosie being taken on by the RSPCA it is likely that her tumour would have remained and her cancer would have developed further and most likely have been fatal. It is often though that Rabbits are an easy, low maintenance pet to keep, involving little time and expense. In fact Rabbits have their own set of specific requirements in order to keep them healthy and happy. They have sensitive digestive tracts, require exercise and companionship and should be vaccinated annually against infectious diseases.  It is worth noting that many rabbits can live for 8-10 years so taking on a youngster can be a significant commitment. Rabbit Awareness Week is being held on  10th May to increase public awareness to the needs of this often neglected pet so please contact us if you would like any help or advice regarding your own rabbits or if you are thinking about having a rabbit as a pet.  Throughout this week we will be offering free rabbit healthchecks and have information packs available! We see many lovely bunnies looking for homes whilst being cared for by charities like the RSPCA. They are often well handled and have been neutered, vaccinated and health checked by a Vet. It is always worth considering a rescue rabbit first as they desperately need a settled home environment in which to thrive.