Before any rabbit surgery, it is important to fast the pet. This means not allowing anything in the mouth for a period of time before and after the procedure.
While many rabbits experience no problems when fasted pre-surgery, some rabbits become nauseated or very sick when not allowed food beforehand. The cause of this reaction may be due to the stress of surgery, rather than an empty stomach. The point is that when in doubt, fast them pre-surgically. This is best done with clear fluids only (water or Pedialyte) orally for 12 hours before surgery if possible. Alternatively, you can feed a very low-calorie diet one day prior to and morning of surgery.
Can Rabbits Eat Before Surgery? The best advice is when in doubt, to follow your veterinarian’s instructions on fasting for surgery.
1. Why do rabbits need to fast before surgery?
The purpose of fasting a rabbit before surgery is twofold: to reduce the risk of stomach upset during and after surgery, and to minimize the risk of inhaling food or fluid into the lungs during anesthesia.
2. What are some signs that rabbits get when they are nauseated?
Signs of nausea in rabbits include lethargy, restlessness, hunched posture, and lack of appetite.
3. How long should a bunny fast before surgery?
Ideally, we like to see our rabbits fasted (no food or water) for 12 hours before surgery if possible. This is best done with clear fluids only (water or Pedialyte) orally for 12 hours before surgery if possible. Alternatively, you can feed a very low-calorie diet one day prior to and morning of surgery.
4. When should rabbits resume eating after surgery?
Rabbits should not be allowed food or water immediately after surgery. They have just undergone anesthesia which suppresses their normal reflexes of swallowing and coughing up food particles or fluids. Flushing the stomach with fluid during this time will only carry the risk of aspirating the rabbit. The best advice is when in doubt, to follow your veterinarian’s instructions on fasting for surgery.
Most rabbits can resume eating 24 hours after surgery. However, if your rabbit is recovering from a more complicated or lengthy surgery, your veterinarian may advise delaying food and water intake for 36-48 hours.
5. Can I give my rabbit water during the fasting period?
No, you should not give your rabbit water during the fasting period. Only clear fluids such as water or Pedialyte should be given.
6. What should I do if my rabbit vomits after surgery?
If your rabbit vomits after surgery, contact your veterinarian immediately. Vomiting is a sign that the rabbit is not recovering properly and may need additional treatment.